Friday, December 20, 2013

Blog Hop - Stamps and Inks by Ann Butler

How lucky I am to have been asked by Ann Butler, once again, to be a part of this blog hop using her stamps by Kelly Crafts and her inks from Clearsnap.  This is the first of two "hops" showcasing these products.  (I'm keeping the other new set under wraps till the next blog hop in January.)

My idea was to use this wonderful EZ-De's Flourish 2" Alphabet stamp set for personalizing gifts.  Here I made a sweet pillowcase for one of my granddaughters.  (I will be making another for her little sister too.)  I love the size and the style of the letters.  They are so versatile and can see them used over and over in any variety of projects.

I also used another set of Ann's stamps from her line of "faux quilting" stamps in this project to show how easy they can be used to make an fun and interesting design.  By changing ink colors you can create your own personalized look. This project uses both of the color of Colorbox Crafter Inks by Ann Butler.  I decided to add a few more embellishments to make the pillowcase a bit more decorative.  I went to another of my favorite tools - Sizzix Big Shot and Dies.  I fused fabric to a iron-on interfacing and then die-cut some flower shapes and some flourishes.  Completed the flowers with small, smooth buttons and some fabric ties as pillow closures.

This alphabet set is easy to use and line up.  I can see using it to personalize any wearable or other object with a name or monogram.

Here is another easy project I was able to make this afternoon.  This little banner will be a nice addition to my many handmade Christmas decorations and would make a sweet gift.  For this project I used a double-sided fusible batting, that I sandwiched between two pieces of fabric.  Then rectangles 4" x 6" were cut from the fabric.  The bottom of each was cut into a "V".  Using regular card stock, I cut 3" x 3" squares and stamped with ink the letters.  The edges of the paper were trimmed with pinking shears and "dashes" were made around the square to look like "faux stitching".  The letter squares are glued onto the fabric rectangles, then finally embellished with die-cut holly leaves and red shiny berries.  They attached to a simple red cord with tiny wooden clothespins.

I love banners and I can see using these Alphabet stamps in many different banners.

Now you can simply start or continue to hop through the blogs and find some wonderful ideas for these wonderful new stamps.

Here is the list to follow:
Theresa Cifali

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Just A Thought Or Two...: Holiday Decorations - Designer Craft Connection December

Just A Thought Or Two...: Holiday Decorations - Designer Craft Connection December

Holiday Decorations - Designer Craft Connection December

When Thanksgiving falls the very last Thursday of November I am not very "thankful".  Yes, I am one of those people who pulls out the Christmas stuff the day after Thanksgiving.  This year not only did Thanksgiving the last week of November, but I decided to host dinner for 21 family members here.  With the help of many, it was a wonderful day!

On Friday the house began the transformation.  Today is the final day of decorating because I decided to scale back a little and there are several things that will remain packed away this year.  Even with that the house looks pretty festive.
Candle Jars on Mantle

The mantle usually takes on a different look each year, but most of the time in includes candles.  This year is no different.  NOTE: the candle jars are in place but some batting and snow needs to be added.

Back in November I was asked, by our women's group if I would like to share an idea for a holiday decoration with the community.  So I created a variety of samples to display and now those samples became part of my own holiday decorations this year.

Everyone was asked to bring a pint size mason jar, along with a tea light candle.  I supplied the rest.  With some ribbons, raffia, snips of greens, tiny pinecones, berries, bells, snowflakes and felt cut-cuts, each jar becomes unique. The snow is a mix of epsom salt and a small amount of artificial snow with some sparkle.  A snowflake shaped candle rug was made with two different die-cut snowflake shapes that were glued together for a added touch.  Each and everyone was unique and festive.  It was a delightful craft for all.

Here is the display of all the samples I made:
Display of candles at home

Display of candles at clubhouse
NOTE: The runner is another project that the quilting group made last year.  Super simple!

Here is a cute, no water version of a snow globe:

Just a couple of the creations by the group:

The three very, very helpful friends that helped:

Love those Mason Jars!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Designer Craft Connection Challenge - The Robin's Nest & SmoothFoam

Accept a challenge and just go for it!  The product received from The Robin's Nest are new to me.  How would I combine the holiday papers and Dew Drops with SmoothFoam and create an ornament?  The end result is here:

I used a simple square of SmoothFoam cut the same size of the 6" x 6" paper stock.  One paper design is glued to the front and another to the back. A length of coordinating ribbon was glued around the outer edge of the foam square.  Attach a hanging loop from a short length of ribbon and attach to the top center, add a bow to finish the look. A small photo mat was glued to the front to hold a photo. Use any variety of the Dew Drops to add some embellishments to the surface.  NOTE: a similar smaller ornament could be made by trimming the Smoothfoam and papers smaller (4" or 3" squares are good sizes).

Here are four other versions of ornaments made from the papers and Dew Drops.

This three-dimensional hanging uses a 6 x 6  paper sheet of Black & White Glittered Pine Tree for the background.  The base of this hanger is recycled packaging from a Sizzix die, that was painted.  The verse "tis the season" is die-cut from one of the coordinating papers I received.  A white felt piece is die-cut using an "over the edge" die.
Assorted Dew Drops embellish the surface.

This snowflake ornament was die-cut using the Winter Glittered Snowflake designed paper. For backing the die-cut snowflake, I cut a circle from white glittered card stock and Winter Glittered Deer paper.  A length of white organza ribbon forms a hanger. The snowflake is embellished with a variety of the Dew Drops.

This ornament is die-cut from another coordinating paper to create a pointsetta.  Stiffened green fabric is die-cut to make holly leaves.  Small gold Dew Drops make the center of the pointsetta.

This 3-D die-cut ornament is made using two patterns of paper. When the ornament is formed, Diamond Dew Drops in Ruby Red and Jade are glued into the triangle area of each  of the eight discs.

The are several designers participating in this blog hop whose creations you should see.  Please go to The Robin's Nest blog to find links to all the other projects.  You are invited to enter to win a prize that will include SmoothFoam and Robin's Nest products.  NOTE: You must comment and become a follower on each blog, in order to be eligible to win.

Please hop through the links or use the Designer Craft Connection button at the right to move to the blogs and check out the projects and get some inspiration to create some fun stuff for the holidays.

(NOTE: I will be updating this post with new photos and another project.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Designer Craft Connection Challenge - Sticky Sticks

Another product challenge came my way with "Sticky Sticks™".  My first thoughts were to begin by cutting them up or changing their shape in some form.  Instead I had settled on two ideas and this is the one I chose.
   (NOTE: Please excuse the one photo shot, having camera issue and had to use photo from iPad.)

The sticks were used to form the sides to make a basket.  The base of the basket is made from a piece of thin corragated board.  It was then covered on both sides; the inside with fabric and the outside with a decorative paper.  The Sticky Sticks™ line each side of the box.  Yarn was then wrapped around the sticks to form the sides of the basket.  Once the wrapping was completed, two sticks were sandwiched together, by applying some added glue to the area with no adhesive.  Then were glued into the inside, along the top of the basket for added support on each of the four sides.  This same step was repeated and placed inside near the bottom for added support.

I chose to paint the sticks with an acrylic paint to add more color, but the sticks could remain in their natural state. I bit of flat trim was glued around the top and lower edge of the wrapped yarn. A die-cut burlap flower and some felt leaves were added for a little extra embellishment.

The basket could hold rolled up napkins on a table or counter or be used to hold a short vase with flowers as a centerpiece or any other items desired.

Next up with remaining left over Sticky Sticks™ a wreath.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Autumn Celebrations - Designer Craft Connection October Edition

Each season brings with it some special moments.  Autumn has several. Like the other times of the year, I enjoy adding decorations to highlight the celebrations of the season.  Around the house are simple holiday related items.  There are several pumpkins, fall flower sprays, autumnal naturals and other collected pieces like witches and scarecrows.

Some handmade items that I have made for my home can be seen in these photos.  This cute and easy banner made just for Halloween was made using purchased foam shapes of pumpkins and ghosts, by punching a small hole near the top of each.  Thread a length of ribbon through the hole and tie each shape onto a long length of cording.

Another banner is made in a similiar way using purchased foam leaves.  Again they are clustered together and tied on cording with raffia.  This one can remain up for the entire Fall season.

One more banner that celebrates the season of Autumn is made from scraps of burlap, die-cut shapes, acorn embellishments and torn strips of seasonal fabrics.

Each of these banners along with a few natural items can be just enough to bring a little something extra to your home for the season.

Now hop on through the other blogs for more inspiration.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thoughts on the Summer

WOW where did the time go? I guess you could say I took a little vacation from this blog for way too long.  So here I sit trying to do a little "catching up".  With "Autumn in the air" today I thought I would look back and write a bit about the past several weeks since my last post.

Since the middle of July there have been birthday celebrations, the traditional week "up north" with the family, deadlines for some designs, sad times, big family moments, catching up with dear friends and several artful experiences.

My youngest grandchild turned 3 and she is such a sensitive, fun-loving, daring, sweet little girl.  She will keep everyone on there toes!
Zoe turns 3

We continued with our usual family tradition of a week at Camp Nawakwa.  It was a bit easier this year then last to deal with not having our "keeper of the flame" there.  Though I sensed Mike there in many ways, many times.  We celebrated three more family birthdays during the week, Andrew, Alison and Andrea.
Kevin & Joe talk fishing
Breakfast with the group
Canoe Trip
The eternal fire
The week after returning we lost a member of the family and we came together to remember and morn the loss of "Nutty Aunt Sue".

I began to wonder where have the years gone with my oldest grandchild, Joseph, beginning High School and Tess, starting Kindergarten.  Through the years I have spent so much time with the four grandkids but both Joseph (Amy's) and Tess (Kevin's) I had the opportunity to spend much more time with. BUT, I love them all deeply and dearly!  A Gramma could not be prouder!
With Joseph on Graduation Night
Tess's First Day
I was happy to have some "deadlines" to meet with some design work.  It can be crazy, but I have enjoyed having to deal with moments like this again.  Here's two designs that were just published.
Crafts n Things Weekly Digital Issue

Crafts n' Things Winter Issue 2013

Finally found time for visits with some dear friends. It was great Sally F., Donna and Karan.

Now about those "artful experiences" -
While up north I was invited by a very dear family friend to share in a very interesting day.  We went to the home and studio of artist Jeanine Semon. She is known for her healing art.  She stirred us through two different processes.  After each, she gave us an interpretation of what she saw our work to show and feel.  It was a fasinating insight into myself that turned out to be a very emotional experience for this point of my life.
Jeanine in her studio/home in Lac du Flambeau

After returning home, I presented a card making workshop one evening for 30 women in our community.  It was a wonderful experience to share with the ladies.  This is the second opportunity I have had to share some creative time with community participants and hope there will be more. (We were so busy and having so much fun, I forgot to take photos.)

I treated myself to a day at a "CREATE"retreat in nearby Lisle.  It is sponsored by "Cloth Paper Scissors".  I took two workshops and enjoyed them both.  The first was with designer Rebekah Meier, who I am very lucky to call a dear, dear friend.  It was a wonderful time spent enjoying her process of creating along with several other lovely women.  The evening brought me a chance to try something a little new with a class by Kristin Robinson. We created jewelry pieces with solder and blow torch and also learn to use the interesting medium "Ice Resin" and "Iced Enamels" with the help of Jen Cushman.    Again, time well spent and the desire to learn more.  The next day I returned to the site for a "Artist Faire Sale".  Many wonderful vendors where there selling fun and interesting materials for anyone with a creative soul.  I was so very happy to reconnect and talk with Kim Schiedermayer and Greg Gummer, two of Arnold Grummer's children, who I met several years ago while working for them at a industry trade show.  An amazing, wonderful family that left it's mark on me.
To be completed with embellishments
Kim & myself
So in three days I leave for another opportunity to share some creativity.  Looking forward to the coming week in the Northwoods once again.  I am excited and happy to be participating in the first Camp Nawakwa Women's Week-end Retreat.  I will be offering a workshop where we will create a reusable journal cover.  It is my hope to make this a fun an non-stressful experienceand allow each person some easy way to express themselves through crafting.  I'm also looking forward to taking in the beauty of this area at this time of the year.  It's beautiful in summer and winter for different reasons, but with Autumn being my very favorite season, no matter where I am, I look forward to spectacular sights.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Designer Craft Connection Product Challenge - Rowlux Illusion Film

Another opportunity was presented, when designer Marisa Pawlko offered the the group the chance to work with Rowlux® Illusion Film.  It is an interesting material that looks like it could rightly have many creative applications.  I received a very nice selection of sheets of lovely colors and cool patterns.

Here are my contributions to ideas using Rowlux® Illusion Film.  I immediately went to my Sizzix dies and cutting system to see how the sheets would cut.  The frame was made using a Scoreboard die and cut from a yellow gold sheet of film.  I also cut a corresponding frame from a yellow piece of card stock to back the front opening and to hold a photo.  Embellishments for the frame were also die cut using other colors and patterns of the film. I was able to fold and shape the film pieces. The frame was held together using a thin strip of redline double-sided tape.  The same tape was used to hold the "rick-rack" strips to the front by placing small pieces only on the ends.  I found that I could take short clips of Therm O Web Zips™ Clear Adhesive Lines and roll them to form a tight circle to connect the layers of the die-cut shapes of film together.

Back of pendant to attach a cord 
Another piece was made once again using dies and cutting flower layers and leaves to form a pendant to fashion into a necklace.  Again I was able to fold and shape the flower layers to make them dimensional.

This is an interesting material to work with.  I will be experimenting more with the remaining sheets, various adhesives, techniques of cutting and layering and manipulating the film pieces.

This blog hop has over 20 participants and I'm truly looking forward to seeing all the varied ideas from each designer.  There is a giveaway where you can enter to win a 6 pack of Rowlux® Illusion Film of your choice. Go to: BLOG.MODERNSURREALIST.COM - click on "Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.  So let's all get hopping!

To see colors check out this link: Rowlux Design Center
Use this link at Amazon to purchase: Amazon

Here is information about Rowlux Illusion Film:
This revolutionary material has been utilized in award winning point of purchase displays, packaging, signage, artwork, footwear, lighting, interior design, retail display fixtures and beyond. Our new frontier is the craft industry! There's absolutely nothing like it on the market, and I personally believe without a doubt that Rowlux® Illusion Film is THE future of crafts! 
Rowlux® Illusion Film is made in the USA and comes in a diverse range of spectacular eye-catching colors and patterns.  These durable, translucent, 12" x 12" polycarbonate sheets add instant pizzazz to craft projects, seasonal accents, party decorations, scrapbooks, greeting cards, jewelry, furniture, frames, gifts, favors, accessories, art and DIY home decor projects. Easily cut with scissors, Rowlux® is also the perfect material for scoring, folding, embossing and die cutting. The creative possibilities are endless. This innovative and inspiring new craft material manipulates light to create dazzling visual effects. The illusion of depth and motion is the result of thousands of tiny parabolic lenses that are molded into the surface of both sides of the material. These lenses create a pattern of light reflection and refraction resulting in stunningly brilliant optical effects. 
To instantly add "POP" and "WOW" to your projects, just add Rowlux®!
For special promotions, giveaways and to keep up to date on the exciting Rowlux® Illusion Film craft revolution, be sure to:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Designer Craft Connection July - Celebrations

Celebrations are a time when you can joyously gather with family and friends to mark an event or occasion. Births, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, retirements and holidays are such moments.

This week we celebrate as a country, from "sea to shining sea our country's Independence Day.  So with that in mind I will give a shout out in this months post for the "red, white & blue"!

I'm taking a little twist on this and not posting a handmade project but homemade food goodies. Later this week I will be attending the annual 4th of July party at my youngest son's house.  To help out I will be making two recipes that have become summer favorites for such celebrations.  (NOTE: since I cannot really made these too far in advance I will be sharing the recipes and adding photos to this post either Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.)  My plan is to incorporate some handmade touches for decorations and presentation of the two recipes.  

Both  of these recipes are tried and approved by many, so with a few days to go before  the 4th, you may want to make one for your celebration.  

Mock Crab Spread
(How this recipe got its name I'm not really sure. It has absolutely NO crabmeat in it.  I think it's because of the texture that it got the name. Though it can be made for any occasion, for some reason it just tastes great in the summer.)

8 ounce block Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons of finely diced green pepper
2 tablespoons of thinly sliced green onion
2 tablespoons of finely chopped green olives
1 tablespoon of finely snipped chives
1 Roma tomato, seeded and chopped into
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
Several dashes of Tabasco or Cholula sauce

Grate the cheese with a coarse grater. Add the next five ingredients and mix. Add in the mayo and dashes of sauce and blend well.  Chill well so flavors can combine.  Serve with crackers of choice.
(NOTE: We prefer Town House crackers with this spread. Also this recipe can be doubled. It will not hurt if you add more of any of the ingredients.  More or less mayo can be used if desired.)

The next recipe is another "oldie" and I'm sure many have seen or had this one.  My faded, stained recipe card just states - 

"Chocolate Cake"
Step #1-Bring to a boil, 2 sticks of margarine, 1 cup of water and 4 tablespoons of cocoa.
             Set aside to cool. 
Step #2-Mix in a large bowl, 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of sifted flour, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of baking soda,
             1/2 cup of sour cream.  Set aside.

When the ingredients from step#1 are cool, add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Grease a cookie sheet with sides (Use a jelly roll pan, approximately 15" x 10")
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Bring to a boil, 1 stick of margarine, 6 tablespoons of milk, 4 tablespoons of cocoa.  Remove from heat and add a teaspoon of vanilla and 1 box of confectioners sugar (sifted).  Blend well.  Ice cake while hot.  (NOTE: Sometimes the frosting can run over the edge so place on a large sheet of parchment paper. This is a great sheet cake for outdoor parties or picnics.  Never a crumb left with this one!)
My decorated sheet cake for the 4th

No matter how or where you may be celebrating the "4th" add some handmade or homemade goodness to the day and enjoy the holiday.  After the fireworks on Thursday, I'll be watching the "Capitol Fourth" that I already have set to record and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" before calling it a day.

Here are a few photos of decorations I have made for the house to celebrate summer and the summer holidays:
Torn fabric scraps, tied onto a wire wreath form.

A simple flag banner made from purchased flags, glued onto a string.

Simple banner made from papers and ribbon.

Just FYI: There will be another blog hop coming on July 15th with several designers participating.
Projects will feature an interesting product - Rowlux Illusion Film.  It really is an interesting product and can't wait to see what develops in the way of ideas with this one!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Designer Craft Connection Manufacturer Challenge - EtchAll

Another opportunity presented its self, when Julie McGuffee announced a new challenge.  This time I would call myself a "true novice".  The product we were to use is one that I had been aware of and interested in, but never took or had the chance to try.

I started out small and made some mistakes.  That's how we learn, right?  I would have to say, I'm really liking this and can see using this product in the future.  For the few small projects I experimented with, it gave me the urge to want to learn and try more complicated and creative ways to use "etchall®".  Practice makes perfect! I'm a far cry from perfect.

First I used a jar that was purchased for the purpose of making my own "sprouting" container.  I had to also refashion the lid to hold screening for rinsing and draining.  I die-cut letters from the vinyl that we received to spell out "SPROUTS".  Applied the cutouts to the jar in a random pattern and followed the instructions for etchall®.

I moved on to some blue glassware.  Again I die-cut two different shaped stars from the vinyl.  Each glass had four stars applied to them.  Here I worked on a large glass and smaller glass in steps, by applying two stars to each glass, following the etching process and then repeating once again to add two more star patterns.  I now think I would do this process differently.  (NOTE: because I wanted to experiment on various pieces and I had limited vinyl for stencils, and zero knowledge of what else I could use, I did this application in steps.  I think it would have been better to do all four stars at once.)
I also found because of the shape of the glasses, it is important to mask off any portion of the piece so if the creme does drip it does not etch in unwanted areas.  So now with stars etched on these blue glasses, I am making a "red, white and blue" serving tray to hold the star etched glasses for summer gatherings.

The next simple project was to add a bit of decoration to plain glass float frames.  I was given a gift for my birthday, hand made by a friend.  He is a carpenter by trade, but has become interested in making unique wooden pieces of all shapes and sizes.  The frame holder was made from a vertical slice of wood with a groove to hold the float frames.  I took a rectangle of the vinyl and cut the four sides with decorative scissors, then applied the etchall® to form a border on each piece of glass.

Each piece of glass that is around the house I am looking at for potential etching possibilities.  I was ready to throw a Yankee Candle jar into recycling and had an "Ah-Hah" moment.  It is the next piece that will get some etching, along with a few others.

Now that I have been able to do a little experimenting I will be looking for other pieces to etch.  I have several old windows that have been waiting to be repurposed - I'm considering some different options now.  There are small side windows around the front door that have been begging for something and maybe some mirrors - etching is what they need.  BUT, I need a little, no, lots more practice!

Thanks to Julie for organizing this and to Barbara Bosler, from B & B Etching Products for being so generous in supplying each of us with product and this opportunity.  I hope to become more then a novice with practice.

NOTE:  I apologize for my photos, another area of being a novice, plus having serious issues with my camera.  May have to look into a new one very soon. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Designer Craft Connection June Entry - Happiness is....

This month's blog theme, "happiness is...", could be completed in so many different ways.  Today, for me, it would have to be - "happiness is sharing time with friends".

This morning our small group of quilters gathered here for brunch and chatting.  It was a delightful gathering, filled with yummy food and the sharing of ideas.

There was "show and tell" as always.  We bring and share finished projects and even works in progress.  Two of the quilters are taking a class at an area store, working on a very ambitious project that will take a year to complete.  Some of our group decided to work on making a "friendship quilt".  We discussed our plan and how we will each make a certain number of quilt blocks and share them.  They will become a "friendship quilt", with each of us finishing our individual quilts in any way we desire later on this year.  (A good project for our midwestern winters.)

Each of my quilting friends were given a flower brooch that I made this past week-end. I found fabric among my scraps for both the flower and leaves. Then I used the  large size, Clover Kanzashi Flower Maker and some buttons from my stash to create a small gift for each.

The flowers became part of my simple table setting for brunch.  Each became part of a napkin ring.  I used a wired jute  ribbon and wrapped it around each napkin, then pinned the flower over the ribbon.
The flatware was included with the napkin at each setting.

The table runner is another project that we all made last year in a variety of fabrics.  Another easy project to make for yourself or to share as a gift.  This one is perfect for summer with watermelon slices.

So I could also say that happiness is sharing a little creativity with friends too!