Monday, December 7, 2015

Designer Craft Connection - Handmade Holiday Decor Ideas

It is truly beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Each year I tell myself there is no need to add anything new to the large collection of holiday decorations I already have.  Then inspiration strikes or I see something I would like to try and find a reason to create new decorations.  This year I have a couple of new additions.  I will also share some that have been around for a number of years and are family favorites.

The newest are the holly painted white burlap runner and the square glass candle holder with holly & berry embellishments.  NOTE: I also use handmade gifts from friends (the snowman) and a simple chalkboard to add more holiday flair.

My holiday decorations always begin with lights.  I have changed over to all clear lights.  The bulbs can vary but the remain clear.  They are wrapped on garlands that are hung over doorways  and windows or for stairway railings.

Handmade wooden reindeer, vintage glass ornaments in a vintage sleigh.

Handmade stacked benches hold a basket of vintage cookie cutters and other holiday-related items.

An old slate board gets a special holiday message and simple, tiny brush trees add a holiday touch.
I use elements that I already have as part of my decor and just add or change them up to show-off a holiday theme.
A tiny mitten banner made from handmade paper hangs on a vintage coat rack in the front hall.
A fabric and paper JOY banner on the guest room door.

One of my favorite decorations to use around the house anytime are banners and during the Christmas holiday season they are definitely utilized.  I have made several different kind through the years.  Many are used at home and many have been given away.
Assorted jars, epsom salt, ribbons, embellishments, and tealights
Here are candle jars made from an assortment of glass jars.  They can be used anywhere, alone or clustered together for a warm festive glow.  I instructed a group of ladies from our community on how to create them and each one was so unique.

I could go on and on with photos of handmade decorations that I made or received from others, but I end with one that was made several years ago from a small doll house kit.

Normally I begin the process of decorating the house the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately that was not the case this year.  I'm still putting things in place here and there around the house.  I hope that the few visuals I shared here will give you some inspiration to create your own versions of handmade decorations of you own.  Make something for yourself or someone else - Enjoy the Holidays!!!  Please check out the Designer Craft Connection Blog and Facebook page for more ideas from several others - DCC Link - Facebook Page Link

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fabric Elements™ Travel Tags

When it comes to traveling and baggage, why not add something special.  Here I created two tie-on tags to make my luggage stand out and easier to locate.

For the tags, I used two of the techniques found in the "Techniques for Mixed Media" booklet that is available with this line of Fabric Elements™by Fabric Editions.

One used the patchwork technique with several of the fabrics and the other was using the fabric fusion process.  With both techniques, paints were added and muslin fabric was applied to the backside to create the tags.  Some machine stitching was also added to each, along with a fabric tie.  NOTE: Refer to the photo below for marking and cutting the opening for the tag information. Finishing the tags can be done with sewing or glueing. To add protection to the name and address, insert a piece of clear plastic to the inside opening.

There is a challenge going on for anyone to enter.  Details can be found on the  Fabric Editions Blog. A very nice prize awaits the winner!

For more information about Fabric Elements™ from Fabric Editions here are links to the Blog, Facebook Page, Pinterest Boards, Rebekah Meier's Facebook Page, a link to my Fabric Elements™pouch project, another Fabric Elements™ project

Fabric Elements™ can be found at JoAnn Fabrics stores.

Projects made using Fabric Elements™ Kits

Thanks again to Rebekah for the opportunity to create and have fun with this wonderful new line!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Big Ideas With Little B Products

The products from Little B are completely new to me.  The package I received from the company contained a number of interesting products.  Many of the items were specific for Autumn so the little project I created used several of the Washi Tapes.  I look forward to using the other items in future projects.

I made a special little container for a couple of sweet little "Trick or Treater's".  To create them I used my Sizzix Big Shot along with Eileen Hull's Train Case die.  I covered the scoreboard with the tapes. The tape was put on the board carefully to cut the top pieces of the case with the zig-zag designed tape.  Others were put in place for the bottom pieces.  Cut two of each for the train case.  Layer decorative paper and a thin sheet of black Makin's Clay with double-sided adhesive.  NOTE: Pieces can be cut individually from paper and clay and then glued together if desired.   Die-cut two hinges and the handle from the prepared sheet.  The front latch is cut from another piece of textured Makin's Clay.

Assemble the train case using double-sided adhesive tape or any glue that would work best with the materials used for the train case.

Glue decorative cording of your choice around the edges of the case top and bottom (refer to photo).

Pierce holes to insert paper brads for the hinges and latch.  Glue the handle in place on the lid of the case.  Embellish as desired to finish the look.


Little B Washi tapes
Big Shot
Eileen Hull Train Case die
Scoreboard or Mat Board
Small amounts of Makin's Clay
Small amounts of decorative paper
Double-sided adhesive sheet/tape
Paper Brads
Jute Cording
Decorative Ribbon
Decorative Button

Check out all the other participating blogs for other ideas showing how to use the products from Little B.  Follow the Designer Craft Connection blue button to move from blog to blog or the Designer Craft Connection Group Blog page to see all posts..

Enter to win a "giveaway" from Little B.  Here is the selection of products from Little B that you can win:

To win, go to the Little B Facebook page and "LIKE" the page and leave comments for the designers. Enter giveaway HERE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy BOO Day

October has arrived! Just as at Christmas time, I enjoy creating handmade decorations for this time of the year.  This year I decided to try a different look with a mixed media collage canvas.

12" square canvas
Fabric Elements™ Fat Quarters: Green Dot, Orange Dot, Artistic Lines, Spirals
Fabric Elements™Tissue
Fabric Elements™ Wool Felt
Fabric Elements™Batting
TCW Stencils by Rebekah Meier: Assorted Designs
Earth Safe Finishes Gel Medium
DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics: Various Colors
Cosmetic Sponges
Metallic Threads
Sewing Machine
Decorative Paper (backing)
Fabric Glue
Wood Easel (optional)

For this project, I used various mixed media products.  The majority of products are from a new line called Fabric Element™ by Rebekah Meier.  To create the pumpkin, leaf, stem, sunflower and fence I used various fabrics from the line.  The pumpkin, leaf, and flowers were made by layering the fabric, batting and muslin in three layers.  I sketched the shapes of the pumpkin and leaf onto the fabric.  Using a sewing machine I used a zig-zag stitch for the outline of the two shapes.  I used a free-motion stitching techniques for the veins of the leaf and for the sunflower shapes.  The leaf and pumpkin are trimmed with pinking shears; the sunflowers are cut with scissors, close to the stitching.  All of the fabric pieces were painted with fluid acrylics that were diluted with water and brushed on to your desired look.  The sunflowers have buttons sewn to the centers with metallic thread.

To create the stem of the pumpkin, roll a strip of wool felt, layered with a strip of muslin into a tube.  Wrap the tube with two colors of metallic threads and tie the ends.  Wash the tube with thinned brown paint.  Set the tube aside to dry.

A strip of the "artistic lines" fabric was torn with the lines resembling a fence.  The piece can be tea-dyed or stained with a fluid paint wash.  This strip is added to the canvas using gel medium and after all the stenciling is completed.

The canvas is given a light blue acrylic paint wash.  Strips of aqua tissue are torn for the sky.  The green tissue is used at the bottom of the canvas for grass.  A piece of decorative tissue is torn into a circle shape for the sun.  All the tissue is applied using gel medium.

When the gel medium is dry, begin stenciling.  Stencil the tree design with brown paint.  A leaf design used vertically was stenciled with various colors to resemble bushes.  Circular designs were stenciled over the circular tissue in yellow and golds.  Flower stem designs are stenciled near the bottom right of the canvas.  Flower head shapes were first stenciled onto the spiral fabric using several colors of thinned paint before the free-form stitching is done.  To finish the canvas, stencil the word "Happy" with white paint near the top.  White glitter paper was used to die-cut the word "BOO".

The finished pumpkin shape is glued to the canvas with fabric glue.  NOTE: A small amount of stuffing is placed under the pumpkin to give it shape and dimension.  The stem is glued to the top of the pumpkin, tucking the lower edge under the pumpkin.  Shape the leaf by folding and gluing slightly near the stem of the leaf.  Glue the leaf in place, tuck the stem under the top of the pumpkin.

Cut two lengths of green wire.  Wrap the wire around a smooth pencil to form tendrils.  Remove the wire from the pencil and pull the ends out to shape the tendrils.  Glue them into place, hiding the ends under the leaf.  Glue the sunflowers onto the canvas above the stenciled flower stems.  Glue the word BOO near the bottom left corner of the canvas.

To finish off the canvas, glue a decorative sheet of 12" square paper onto the back. Trim the edge of the canvas with ribbon.  Use an easel for display or add a hanger to the back of the canvas if desired.

Many of the techniques for working with Fabric Elements™ can be found in the booklet that is also available.  It is called "Techniques for Mixed Media" and shows 12 different techniques for creating interesting mixed media projects that are all interchangeable.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fabulous and Fun - Fabric Elements by Rebekah Meier

Always up for a "challenge", what could be better than to participate in one to show off this wonderful new line of "Fabric Elements" by Rebekah Meier.  Being asked to be a part of this challenge was awesome!  You can take up this challenge from Fabric Editions too!

This new product line is the perfect start or addition to anyone who loves to work with fabrics, who sews and loves anything  mixed media.  This line is just a small smidgen of the creativity from this fabulous, creative woman.

After receiving a package of elements from Fabric Editions, the process began.  What to make with this array of items?  With my love of sewing and quilting in mind, I chose to combine that and more into the project I created.

After studying the booklet "Techniques for Mixed Media" that is available with this line, the inspiration began.  

I started with the fat quarter fabrics and using all six of the designs from my supplies.  Basically for the base of the box pouch, I followed the direction from the booklet titled "patchwork".  This step calls for using EZ Steam™II, Fabric Elements ™Wool felt and various sized pieces of Fabric Elements™Dot fabric and Paintable fabric.

From there I continued with another technique from the booklet called mono-printing, stencilling and stamping on fabric.  For the stencilling, I used the stencil from the package and white acrylic paint.  To add some stamp images, use any bold stamps along with gold metallic paint.

The next step was to add paint to the entire surface of the fabric.  Here I referred to the technique called painting on fabric, along with the technique above, only with my own twist.  My color choices were all close to primary colors, knowing they would mix when brushed over each other.  For this process, I diluted my paints with water to make a transparent, thin paint.

With the white portions of the fabric looking too stark, I made a wash with gold metallic paint and brushed it over the majority of the piece.  It gave it a "tea stained" appearance without tea staining the fabric, plus it gave it a soft shimmer.

Once the stencilling, stamping and painting were complete, I ironed the pieces to wool felt pieces cut to the size needed to make the box pouch.  Use several decorative stitched from your sewing machine to stitch were the fabric pieces come together.

Before completing the formation of the box pouch, I stencilled one of the designs onto the pieces of Osnaburg fabric with white acrylic paint.

For some extra added touches, I dropped some splashes of diluted paint to the white zipper and brushed it with other colors as well.  Using just bits of trim from the line,  I created a flower embellishment.  This piece has a base flower made following the technique, "embellishments with wool felt", then snippets from the lace trims that are colored with diluted paints and finished off with a button center.  Finally,  a rolled bead was formed, also following instructions from the booklet, and then tied onto the zipper pull with ribbon.

I have made several of these box pouches recently from two different, purchased fat quarters per pouch and love the pattern I found online. It was easy to combine this pattern along with the materials I received to create the unique, one of a kind fabric that makes this one special.

On a personal note - I have totally enjoyed working with this line.  It is great for the beginner to the expert creative soul.  It has a nice combination of materials that can all be intermixed.  The substrates can be used as a base for any style mixed media designs.  Congratulations to Rebekah and Fabric Editions for bringing this to all who enjoy some creativity in their lives!  Bring us more, please!

If you have not seen the awesome ideas by the previous designers please take the time to visit the other participating blogs for more amazing inspiration.  You will find all the links here:

Rebekah Meier (9-1-15)
Cheryl Boglioli (9-3-15)
May Flaum (9-8-15)
Tammy Tutterow (9-10-15)
Julie Fei-Fan Blazer (9-15-15)
Madeline Arendt - that's me (9-17-15)
Fabric Editions (9-22-15)
Rebekah Meier (9-24-15)

Take up the challenge yourself and get to a JoAnn Fabrics store or online to find Fabric Elements™.

For detailed instructions, here is the link to a YouTube video of the tutorial to make a basic box pouch - Box Pouch Link

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Deflecto Challenge with Designer Craft Connection

So what becomes of a Stackable 4-drawer cube (#350301CR), a black border 5" x 7" acrylic craft frame (#69675CR) and an Interior Image® sign holder nameplate (#89105) when given a challenge to transform them?

These three items, plus one other Deflecto product, became an entire set of accessories for a granddaughter's desk.

Beginning with the Stackable cube, I used Ann Butler's Iridescent Emerald Paint, by Earth Safe Finishes, and sponged the paint onto the cube on all sides.  Once the paint was completely dry I ran two coordinating rows of washi tape along the edges of the four corners.  The cube was finished off by gluing mini white rick-rack around the front and back edges.

Next comes the black border 5 x 7 frame.  Using a Deflecto craft magnet sheet, cut it to fit just inside the black border of the frame.  Use a thick tacky glue to hold in place.  Place a heavy book over the sheet and allow to dry completely.  Using one of the coordinating tapes, run it along the center of each of the four outer black area of the frame.  Glue mini white rick-rack down the center of the tape. The corners are embellished with little felt, die-cut flowers and leaves.  More tiny flowers of another color are made and glued onto small, round magnets.

The biggest challenge was what to make with the sign holder name plate.  Why not make it into a special name plate for a special little girl!  The metal edges of the holder were painted with the same iridescent paint as the cube.  Glue a strip of mini white rick-rack down the center of the two metal edges..  Cut a piece of decorative paper to fit the holder.  Use die-cut letters from felt for a name; glue to the center of background paper.  Cut several flowers and leaves from felt.  Arrange them as desired to cover the black plastic part of the name holder.  NOTE: I created a stand for the name holder from a thick piece of cardboard and attached it to the holder.

An extra desk accessory was added to the set by using the Deflecto Black Pencil Cup with Border Frames (#35004)  Using the same washi tapes from the other items, alternate the tapes all around the holder.  Use the wider tape around d the inner frames.  Finish off with mini white rick-rack as shown in the photo.  All the pieces were made to coordinate with the "new" refashioned desk for one of my own granddaughters.

NOTE: All of these items can be found on Amazon and some other online retailers.

Please hop through the blog posts to check out all of the various ideas created by other designers.  Leave a comment on one or all the blogs, "LIKE" the Deflecto Facebook page and enter to win a Deflecto Giveaway on the Designer Craft Connection Blog by using the Rafflecopter widget there.

Deflecto Giveaway

Monday, August 24, 2015

...So Just like that, Summer fell into Fall...

    I smell Autumn dancing in the breeze. The sweet chill of pumpkin and crisp sunburnt leaves.

Only one week left to the month of August.  Many schools are back in session.  The final holiday of the summer season is quickly approaching.  The sun is setting a bit earlier and the nights are getting cooler.  Autumn is coming  - like it or not!  This has always been my favorite season and it will never change.  There are personal things that have taken place during this season that should maybe affect me, but I won't let that happen.

It's been some time since I last wrote a blog post just because I wanted to say something and this will be one!

Some favorite things to enjoy about the time is my fondness for baking.  Yesterday it began with a new recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread.  Made with zucchini from my son's garden, this recipe will be a "keeper" for sure.

Having decided to not deal with plants this summer, for some reason when I see pots of mums I can't refuse them.

It won't be long before we could be seeing some signs of autumn that I enjoy the most, which is the changing of colors.  Watching the leaves change from greens to an array of vibrant colors is truly amazing.  While playing around with some of Makin's Clay colors that I had on hand, I created some lovely leaves of my own before nature could get in on the act.  I made several leaves.  I decided to use two of the leaves for a redo of a used candle container.  The others look good just used alone as a decoration on a table, but could be used in a variety of different ways.

So as the seasons change and so do I, I will leave you with some autumn thoughts -  "Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale."  - Lauren DeStefano