Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

As we end the year, I want to wish all my crafting and designing friends a year of joyful creativity in 2012!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Card Stockings

Hello Crafters!

I love kids' crafts and every month I have a group over at my house putting together something fun.  Since this group ranges in ages from about four to thirteen, I try to have a fairly simple craft that the younger ones can make and the older kids can adapt.  They always amaze me with their creativity and they take a little inspiration and run with it!

This craft is a simple one.  I am always looking for a way to use the beautiful cards that we get for Christmas, and this is another way to recycle your cards.

This craft uses the front of a card cut in a simple stocking shape.  You can draw your own keeping it about the size of a card or you can use a cookie cutter.  Cut a back for the stocking using another card, cardstock or construction paper.  Glue them together, punch a hole for hanging and add some yarn or thread to the hole.  They are super quick and very easy. 

To add more decorations, use the borders and message inside the cards.  Add sequins, stickers, stuffing or any leftover trims.  Vary the shape by using any large cookie cutter.  We made puffy star-shaped ornaments also and stuffed them with a bit of polyester stuffing.
Here are a few that I made (they are addictive!).  You can fill them with a few candies, a gift card or small gifts.  Of course, this craft is great for crafters of all ages!

Here is the front and back of one.

Happy Crafting, Everyone!
I hope crafting brings you joy!
All the best of this Holy Season,
Merry Christmas!

PS.  This craft is featured on FaveCrafts December blog hop!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sock Monkey Blog Hop

Hi Crafters!

This month we're monkey-ing around on the Designer Crafts Blog Connection!  When Creativity Knocks is our sponsor and kindly donated their fun video, Sock Monkeys Go BanAnas, that teaches how to make your very own sock monkey.  Ana and Megan Araujo are a great team and you'll be chuckling as you watch the video and learn new tips and tricks to construct a monkey and dress it in cute outfits.  I haven't made a soft sculpture animal since my kids were little, so I appreciated the tips. 

I decided to embroider the eyes instead of using buttons since this monkey will be going home with my almost two-year old granddaughter.  I made her a very simple dress (two squares gathered on ribbon) that ties at the shoulders and constructed a bow of the same fabric.  Later, I hope to make that cute little sweater that is found on the video.

Here she is:
I'm quite fond of her already and I'm having a hard time letting her go.  I hope my granddaughter will let me visit!
Our other sponsors for this hop are Fox River who donated the socks we used,

Judikins who donated a very cute Sock Money Rubber Stamp that some of us used,

and Rit who donated dye for us to use.

Thanks to all our sponsors, but especially

who is also sponsoring a contest on their website where you'll find instructions on how to enter their giveaway.
Happy Crafting and Happy Holidays!
All the best,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner

Hi Crafters!

Wait until you see my new crafty toy!  It's the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, and it's so much fun!  I have only begun to explore the possibilities of this new gadget, but, so far, I am very impressed.  It's a very versatile product and I am looking forward to using it to create lots of different kinds of craft projects.

One of the things that it can do is scan in your old photos for preservation, sharing with other members of the family, or for use in projects.  Even if you don't want to remove them from old albums or you can't because they have been glued to the page or the photo is too fragile, the Flip-Pal can scan them.  It has a removable lid that makes it easy to scan the photos in place in the album.

The photo that I'm using today is a picture of my grandmother as a young woman.  I'm just enchanted with the sweetness of her leaning her chin on her glove.  It's a photo that I've wanted to memorialize in some way, and this is the perfect oppurtunity.

The process is very simple.  First, I scanned the photo and uploaded it to my computer.

Then, I printed it out.  I am using a watch body from Stanislaus Imports to hold the photo.

This watch was a very shiny silver, so I antiqued it with some Rub 'n Buff(R).  The color is Autumn Gold, and it gave the silver a pinkish, coppery sheen. 

Next, I used the back of the watch body to cut a circle around the head in the photo and sized it to fit in the back.  To protect the photo from glue discoloration, I wrapped the photo circle front and back in packing tape.  Then, I trimmed it to fit.

I glued the photo in the back and glued the back to the front using jewelry glue.  I attached a large lobster clasp, chain and some dangles that pick up the color of the watch.
Here's the finished project:
Here's the watch with the lid open:

This will be the first of many projects in which I will use the Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner .  I can't wait to take it on Thanksgiving vacation with me so I can pick up a few more photos at my Mom's house.  It will be so easy to scan them into the Flip-Pal.

Note:  I received the Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner in return for making a project and blogging about the project and all opinions are my own. 

**************************BREAKING CRAFTY NEWS*****************************

Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner presents the “Scan & Share” Blog Hop Challenge!

Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner has partnered with the Designer Crafts Connection Blog Hop to offer the “Scan & Share” Blog Hop Challenge!

Designers created projects with the Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner and now you have a chance to join in and share your creative ideas.

To follow the “Scan & Share” Blog Hop and see our ideas and projects, click on The Designers Craft Connection Blog Hop blue button. To submit your “Scan & Share” ideas, click here.

The blog hop follower and participating “Scan & Share” Blog Hop designer who creates the most creative and productive ideas using a Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner will each win a Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner.

Or, if you've already decided that you want to own your own Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner, order through their website and use this coupon code for 10% off:  SSBH2011.

Happy crafting!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Coffee Filter Turkey

Hi Crafters!
It's the first Monday of the month again and time for our Designer Crafts Connection!  How did that happen?  October went by in a flash!  Let's hope that November and December are a little slower!

Since it's November, my thoughts turn to turkey...and pumpkin pie and sweet pototoes and stuffing.  But, back to that turkey.  This Coffee Filter Turkey is the perfect craft for the little ones to make up for the table decorations.  It's quick and adaptable.  My kids' craft group tested it out and I modified the design, so I will show you a couple of ways to do it.

Gather your materials:  Coffee filters (the natural brown type), two Styrofoam(TM) balls in 1" and 3" sizes, watercolor paints and a brush, a cup of water, glue, a bit of yellow or orange felt for the beak, red yarn or felt for the wattle, a toothpick and two wiggle eyes.
Paint the edges of four of the filters.  I chose yellow, orange, red and brown, but, of course, you can work with any colors you like.  Turkeys actually have lots of interesting colors in their feathers.
For the tail, fold two of the painted filters in half and slide one inside the other, like this:

Cut another painted filter in half.  Fold each half in quarters and fold the tips down along the line of the ruffles of the filter.  These will be the wings.

Wrap the last painted filter around the small Styrofoam ball.  This will be the head.

Wrap the last coffee filter around the 3" Styrofoam(TM) ball and glue the edges down like this:

This will be the body of the turkey.  The open area will be glued against the tail.  Before you glue it to the tail, press the ball down on the table to give it a flat spot so that it will stand up.  Now, glue the body to the tail.  Press the head ruffles to one side and push half a toothpick into the bottom of the head.  Add glue to the toothpick and press it into the body.  Glue the flat part of the wings to the body behind the head ruffles.

Next cut the beak and wattle and glue the face onto the head.  This is how mine looks:
Of course, you can adapt this pattern to your ideas.  Add more paint, trim or move the wings, add a little sign for a name tag or add some feet!
Here's one more variation that I made before I decided to use the Styrofoam balls.  In this one, I used polyester stuffing.  It is a little more difficult to handle.  We ended up getting out the masking tape for the kids.  It was so springy!  But, other than that, it's a good alternative.  You could also use balls of recycled paper for the body and head. 
Happy crafting!

PS  I'm blogging more than usual this month, so stop in again next Tuesday on the 15th and see my new gadget - the Flip-Pal(TM).  And, of course, continue clicking though to see what other fun ideas on on the Designer Crafts Connection ring.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gifts and Goodies

Hi Holiday Shoppers!
For those of you in the Sonoma County, California, area, come visit me at the Gifts and Goodies holiday bazaar.  I'll have some of my handmade jewelry for sale at great prices.  Here are just a few of the baubles that I'll have available.  Deck yourself out for the holidays or get started on your gift shopping!

There will be lots of goodies from a variety of vendors like Avon, Pampered Chef and Scentsy as well as handmade items.  And, there will be a raffle with prizes from each of the vendors.

We'll be at University of Sports in Rohnert Park at 555 Rohnert Park Expressway from 10 to 4 on Saturday, November 12.
See you there!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Feather Mask

Hi Everyone!
It's time for our first Monday of the month blog hop, and this month the theme is Halloween.  As a kid, I loved dressing up for Halloween, so I decided to make a mask this month. 

I started with a fabric-covered mask, some feathers and sequins.  You'll also need some tacky glue and fabric paint.
I removed the elastic cord from the mask and painted the mask.

Then, I started to glue the feathers onto the mask starting in the center.  I glued longer ones in the center and shorter ones along the sides. 

Along the way, I decided to make a change.  This happens frequently when I design!  I thought the paint color wasn't bright and sparkly enough, so I painted over the first color.  Much better!  Then, I glued on some sequins and added some cord for ties.

Now, I'm ready for the ball.  And, I've got lots of feathers left for earrings!

Take a look around the Designer Craft Connection Blog Hop this month; there's a lot going on!  Several designers are participating in a Westcott(R) challenge and creating crafts with Velcro(R) and Duck Brand(R) tape.  There's a giveaway from Westcott(R), so be sure to keep your eyes open for that!
Happy Crafting,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baby Buggy

Hi everyone!
Today is the first Monday of the month, and it's time for the Designer Crafts Blog Connection.  Our theme this month is "Party!", so you'll find crafts and designs for baby showers, birthdays and other kinds of celebrations.  Just click on the Designer Crafts button to travel from blog to blog and load up with design inspiration!

Next week, I'm helping with the craft at a baby shower.  We're going to be stamping designs on burp cloths.  So, I thought I'd design a motif that I could use for that.  This little Baby Buggy pattern is very easy to make and is very versatile.  Everything you like in a pattern, right!

First:  Draw a circle on a piece of paper to use for your pattern.  Your circle size will depend on where you want to put the Baby Buggy.  Will it be on a shirt, a burp cloth, a card, a banner, the tablecloth or a gift bag? 

                                                   Here's my circle.  It's about 4" in diameter.

Now, fold the circle in half and cut it along the fold line.  Do the same for one of the halves of the circle.  It should look like this.

                                 You'll use the half and one quarter for your Baby Buggy pattern. 

                                   Then, I used the pattern to cut pieces of compressed sponge.

You can cut circles of sponge or use any round object to stamp the wheels.  I found a spool in my sewing supplies that had just the look I wanted, so I used that for my wheels.  For the handle, I cut a small piece of sponge freehand.

Here it is stamped on fabric.

But, as I said, it's a very versatile pattern, so I thought I'd try it with paper.  I was going to use a dainty print from my scrapbooking paper, but I happened on my stash of recycled papers and decided to go with a more natural look.  So, I cut the same pattern pieces from cardboard hot drink sleeves.  Then, I cut circles for the wheels from a different sleeve.  I glued them to a piece of parchment paper and added buttons with thread ties.  I think I'll glue the parchment to a brown paper bag and add a raffia tie. 

I can't wait to try a few more ideas with this pattern.  I've got some scraps of adhesive-backed print fabric that would make an easy iron-on applique for a diaper bag.  I'll add some lace and buttons for the wheels.  Or, maybe I'll make a gift card with a smaller buggy.  What would you make?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Hope you enjoy the pattern,
Happy Crafting,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A new start

Hi Crafters!
September is a wonderful month.  To me, it's a new beginning month, perhaps even more so than January.  (I was a nerdy child who looked forward to school every year!)  And, being in between projects, I need a new start for my craft room/office.  In fact, I need to find my craft room!  Walking into it makes me want to turn around and walk right out.  And, I certainly don't want to invite anyone into it! 

I've been working on a book for the last three months (more about that when I can share!), so there are the remains of designs and boxes of craft materials littering the floor.  But, more than the mess, there's a lack of unity in the space.  It needs some color or theme to tie it all together. 

So, I'm looking for ideas.  What have you done with your craft room/studio that you like?  How have you organized your space?  What tips do you have?

One thing I have decided (besides that I need to toss, recycle and donate a lot of stuff) is to paint a very, large dark brown cabinet.  First of all it needs a coat of white, then I'll decide on a color.  That ought to help the light in the room, too.  This cabinet sits right in front of my table, so I think I'll add some kind of inspiration board so that I can pin up ideas and designs.  So, that's what I'm doing this weekend--appropriate for Labor Day!  Then, I can get back to crafting in my clean and organized room!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fall Issue of Stringing Magazine

Hi Crafters!

I love the colors of fall.  Although, according to the color gurus, I am a "winter", I love to work in autumn's warm, golden colors.  Some of my favorite necklaces and earrings are combinations of reddish oranges, golden browns and buttery yellows. 

Here's one in shades of gold that I called "Amber Opulence".  I really enjoyed working with the colors in this one.  I usually don't name my pieces so extravagantly when I send them out for possible publication, but this one turned out so rich and lush-looking that I decided to go for it.  Another thing that I like to do in my designing is combine textures and this necklace combines fire-polished AB glass beads, pearls and ribbed metal beads along with two different kinds of chain for a lot of interest and contrast. 

The editors at Stringing put this necklace in their "technique focus" on forming wrapped loops.  That could be because you have to make 82 of them for this necklace! 

I hope you'll consider giving this necklace a try.  It would work well in different colors of glass beads and pearls, and you could change the metal color as well.  Use it as a jumping off point to create your own unique creation!  And, if you don't like this necklace, this fall's Stringing issue has 69 other designs for you to try!

Happy beading!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Creative in the Kitchen

Hi crafters! 
This month I'm putting down the pliers and the glue gun to feature something creative from my kitchen. 

We love pasta in our family, and this recipe has become our summer staple.  It features fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden, garlic (lots of garlic!), olives and a couple of jars of marinated artichoke hearts.  It's super simple and delicious.  You can vary it by adding some chicken, sprinkling on your favorite cheese or tossing in some grilled veggies.  The only cooking is boiling the spaghetti, all the rest is just chopping.  If you don't like the strong taste of raw garlic and herbs, saute' them for a few minutes in olive oil.  So, here it is -our fresh Summer Spaghetti- Pasta Estate'!  Enjoy!
For those of you who want more of a recipe:
1 pound of thin spaghetti, boiled al dente'
Olive oil
Can of olives, drained and sliced
Chopped fresh tomatoes, 2-3
Fresh basil, chopped
Garlic, chopped, as much as you like!
2 small jars of marinated artichoke hearts

Chop all fresh ingredients and place in a large bowl.  Add olives and artichoke hearts.  Add olive oil for extra sauce.  You can also add some of the pasta water for more sauce.  Add the drained pasta and mix the ingredients.

Happy summer!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fascinator Headband

Hi Crafters! 
Welcome to another round in the Designer Crafts Connection blog hop!  Today some of us are showcasing designs using a new product:  Tulip's Beads in a Bottle.  This product was easy to use and I'm sure you'll find a lot of great ideas as you travel from blog to blog.  (Just click on that blue button!)

Here is what I created using this new paint.  It's a Fascinator Headband.  You might create it to wear for a wedding, a prom or any other dressy occasion.
Here's the top view.
And, here's the view from the side so that you can see the headband.

I used the Gemstone Pearl paint for this project.  I applied the paint to tulle, the flower petals and lengths of ribbons.  I wrapped a canvas-covered headband in green tulle, then hot-glued the pearl-painted tulle, ribbons, the leaf and the large fabric peony to the headband.  Inside the peony, I glued another pearl-painted piece of green tulle. 

You can find more information about this new product and sign up for a chance to win this great giveaway here.

Happy Summer Crafting!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another 4th of July craft

Hi Crafters!
Looking for a craft with patriotic flare that the kids can make?  Here's a red, white and blue ring toss game.
You can find it in the August 200l issue of Crafts 'n things.  It might be just the thing to keep the kids occupied while they are waiting for the fireworks to start!

Happy Summer Crafting!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Denim Wall Pocket

Hi Crafters!
Welcome to another round in the Craft Designer Blog Connection.  This month we are showcasing patriotic designs.  My Denim Wall Pocket is a great design for the Fourth of July or any patriotic celebration.  It's easy to make and uses recyclable materials. 

First, cut a pocket from an old pair of denim jeans.  Leave about 1/2-inch all around the pocket.  With a sharp pair of scissors poke and cut holes in the pocket if it doesn't have them.  Use the point of the scissors to ravel the holes and the edges around the pocket.

Next, cut an 18-inch or longer piece of steel wire.  I bought mine at the hardware store.  It comes with an oily coating that you'll want to clean off with sandpaper and a damp paper towel before you work with it.  After you clean it, make a few curls and wraps in it.  Dab on some white acrylic paint.  Poke a hole in each corner of the pocket and insert the wire ends.  Curl the ends up with pliers to hold it in place.

Stamp a few stars on the pocket in white paint.  I used a sponge star.  Tie a piece of a handkerchief on the wire and add a raffia bow.

Easy, right!  Of course, you can add more embellishing if you like.  I think some spatter painting across the pocket would look nice.  And, you can fill it with just about any decoration.  I'm going to put a handful of daisies and a small flag in mine.

Happy crafting!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Silver Leaves Necklace

Hi Crafters!

Today is the posting day for the Designer Crafts Blog Connection, so I hope you'll travel around the blog-o-sphere and view all the new blog posts(no spacesuit needed!). There will be new ideas for Mother's Day, Father's Day and other celebrations. With over 60 designers participating, I'm sure you'll find something you'll want to try!

This month I'm sharing a necklace that I designed using paper bags. I've found that paper bags are very versatile, and lately, I've been making jewelry with them. Here's one that you can find in the pages of the June issue of Crafts 'n things.

The instructions are found on pages 76 and 77 of the June issue. Yes, you'll have to buy the magazine, but it is a treasure trove of great ideas in all sorts of craft areas. And, I hope to post more paper bag ideas with instructions in the future.

Continue the blog hop by clicking on the blue Designer Crafts button along the side of my blog.

Happy crafting!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Picket Fence Votive

Hi Crafters!

I've always loved cottage gardens with picket fences. This votive holder is reminiscent of that look with its bead flowers and the wire vining around the wood pickets. It's a craft that you and the kids can do together. Make it to decorate your Easter table or as a gift for Mother's Day.

Here are the materials you'll need: Picket fence, craft wire, acrylic beads and a votive candle holder.
You'll also need wire cutters, pliers, paint and a paintbrush.

Cut the picket fence where it meets when wrapped around the votive.

Press the wire ends against the pickets with the pliers.

Paint the fence in your favorite spring color.

Cut a piece of wire about 8" long and leaving a tail, wrap it around a picket on one end of the fence and then the other end to hold the fence in a circle. Add beads to the ends of the wire and curl the ends of the wire. Craft wire is easy to curl using a pencil or a dowel, or you can use round nose pliers. Cut another piece of wire and make another wrap in the same way to secure the ends together.

Continue the process varying the lengths of the wire and placement on the fence until it's covered as much as you like. Slide it over the votive.

Here's a set in green. You can also use this design as a napkin ring. Or, you could put it around a small vase or flower pot.

I'm sure you can think of a few variations of your own. Have fun adding your own touches and being creative!

Happy crafting!