Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pencil Vase

As we get ready for the first day of school I can't help but think of the line from "You've Got Mail": "If I knew your address I would send you bouquets of sharpened pencils." wonder Meg Ryan fell for Tom Hanks with a line like that. :)Ok, enough sappiness.

School starts the day after Labor Day in Michigan, so this week the teachers are back in their classes getting things ready for the adoring little faces who will fill the halls next week. I was elected Secretary of our PTO this year which will bring it's own set of challenges as I add it to the list of things that fill my day. But I am excited by the idea of helping my sons school as much as I can. We decided to treat the teachers to lunch today...nothing too fancy, just some sandwiches, salads, a little dessert and some drinks. I made a fruit salad, which the kids were very happy to help with (though I had to check that they did get all of the stems off the grapes! ha!). I also made these vases to decorate the tables. I found the idea here.

The teachers loved it and we plan to raffle it off to them. For the lunch we just filled them with some silk flowers, but they will look so cute with any kind of flowers.

Here's a video I posted at YouTube about it:



Sunday, August 28, 2011

I made a tent!

I mentioned yesterday that I was searching thrift stores for sheets (and ended up finding lots of other goodies!). I wanted to share what I needed those sheets for. I found this great A-Frame tent on the blog by cakies and have been itching to try it out.

It's so simple to make, and perfect for little kids to dream away an afternoon. I'm proud to say that I built this myself (with my hubby holding the moulding down while I drilled) yesterday and today it went off to the home of a little girl who was celebrating her 3rd birthday. I was happy to see her crawling into her new tent as we were leaving the party. :)

If you are looking for a fun, easy project you should give this a try! I have another to daughter was enjoying this one too much not to give her one of her own. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vintage finds!!!

One thing I know...the Thrift Store gods were smiling down on me this weekend. I have a project I'm working on as a birthday gift which called for a twin bedsheet. A perfect time to head to the thrift! I stopped by one on my way home from work luck on a sheet, but I did find a 2 quart casserole dish (with lid) by GlasBake. It came out in 1917 as a competitor to Pyrex. The dish I have has a mark identifying it as coming out sometime between 1961 and 1983. It's just plain white with the original clear glass lid. I only paid $4.75 for it after a 25% discount, since Friday is "Ladies Day". :)

Today I continued the hunt for sheets. There is a little thrift in my town, so off I went. Again, no sheets, but I did find something I went a little gaga over: a whole rack full of vintage laces & trims! The laces were alright but nothing screamed "Buy me!" (yet!) but the trims...oh my, the trims. Take a look at what I came home with:

I loved that they were on their original spools. The labels are fantastic and hopefully I can salvage them to use as ephemera on other projects.

Then I found this:

Wow. I didn't buy it with the trims. At $50.00 I thought "No way, hubby won't go for it". But I couldn't get it out of my head...I had to have it. So after trying to describe it to him we went back. I bought it and we loaded it into the car. Small it may be, but light it is not. I have the perfect spot for it bit it needs some work...maybe a lot of work. But it was too good to pass up and I can't wait to fix it up for the house.

Then off to yet another thrift. I was finding a sheet come hell or high water! Thankfully I finally did find one that will work. But I also found this:

$9.99? Score! It was coming home with me! It's in great shape, just dusty. The color isn't my favorite but there isn't anything wrong with it. If I really don't like it, I could just paint it with a white enamel. I think it would be great as a little cart for parties and lots of other things. But yet again, I found something I drooled over. A beautiful chair. It was upholstered in a pristine burnt orage velvet (so soft, but not an ideal color). The back was rounded and had lovely caning on either side of the upholstered back. I loved it. But it was also $50, and there was no way hubby was going to go for that. So it's still at the store...sigh.

So there we are. I can't wait to work with the trims and put some elbow grease into the cabinet. Once it's done I'll post pictures, but it may be a while. I've never tried to fix up something like this so I need to figure out the best way to go about it. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Day at the Zoo!

I had yesterday off so we decided to take a family trip to the zoo. We are within driving distance of two, the Detroit Zoo and the Toledo Zoo. So off to Ohio we went! The kids were soooo excited since we don't have the chance to make that trip too often. It was also the first time we made a daylong trip like this sans stroller so I was curious to see how Lil A would hold up.
We got there and saw that we were just in time to see the reptiles being fed so off we went to the other side of the park to the Reptile House. The kids should have worn blinders for that part because there were so many cool things they wanted to stop & see along the way. We did make one stop, to see the baby elephant, Lucas. How could we resist?

Then we finally made it to the Reptile House. I stayed with Lil A since she's too young to hold any of the critters besides the hissing cockroach (which she wasn't interested in). So while Big D and hubby got to hold various critters, she and I checked out the snake cases. One was in the process of being fed a tasty mouse. The crowd was too packed there to see much so we went down a few cases and found snake in the process of still swallowing it's mouse. She was fascinated by that!

Then we just explored...check out the pictures below!

After a snack, quickly followed by an ice cream cone we decided the kids had had enough. The joys of membership is that you don't have to try to fit everything into one visit, which is nearly impossible with little kids. I would have liked to check out the polar bears, but once the whining starts, polar bears arent as enjoyable anyway. :) Next time, perhaps! Plus I did get some very cute pictures of the kids. :)

One last picture to I was about to get the kids ready for bed I found Jewel on one of the chairs in a pose remarkably similar to both the tiger and the cheetahs...channeling her inner wild cat I suppose? :)

Have a great day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Flower Pens!

What do you do when you wake up at 7:30 (on your day off!) realizing you left the hot glue gun plugged in all night? Well, once you've determined that you haven't burned the house down, you realize since it's hot anyway, you might as well do some more crafting! :) Or is that just me....?
We're (the PTO) preparing some goodie bags for the teachers at my son's school. I think I mentioned that I'm the designated crafty one in the group so I was given the task of making some flower pens. I stopped at the Dollar Store yesterday and found the rest of the supplies I needed, so this morning I sat down to work. Here is how I did it:
You will need:

Have you tried these out before? What was the occasion? Did you make yours differently?
Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Playing with my camera...

I'm slowly trying to learn more about my Canon digital camera...venturing into the world of F-stop and aperture can feel a little overwhelming. But I don't use the automatic settings much anyway, so I need to know how to set my camera properly for the manual ones. I get decent pictures most of the time, but I know they can be better. Here are a few from the last 24 hours of Lil A and the usually patient kitties. :)
Any recommendations where I can find good tutorials/tips?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Embroidered Pillow

I meant to post this a while ago, but things just got away from me...big surprise. :) I did share this over at my YouTube channel, so feel free to check it out there also! Check out what I made!

I made this pillow as a little Mothers Day gift for myself - isn't it cute? If I would have had more time I would have made them for the kids grandmothers also, but as it is I only had time to make one. I love it!

I found the idea via Rubyellen over at Cakies - one of my favorite crafty blogs! I love her use of vintage materials and how she repurposes things for her home. I have found lots of great ideas there, which is good because my little house is sorely in need of revamping on a shoestring budget.

Anyway, I couldn't find the actual post when I saw the picture so I kept the overall idea in mind and went to the local St. Vincent de Paul on my home from work one day. It's a small shop but I find some really great things there. I'm still kicking myself for not grabbing the wicker chairs I saw there a few years ago...sigh. Anyway...I knew I wanted to make my pillow out of linen, so I dug through ladies jackets and came up with a solid lined and a patterned linen. Score! I think they cost me around $7 for both. I got home, measured a pillow form my mom had given me that had been sitting in the basement waiting for a purpose and went to work. I cut the pieces from the back of the jackets and sewed them together, leaving an opening at the bottom. The opening was actually too small and I really had to work to get the pillow in later (rookie mistake!).

I inked up the kids handprints onto copy paper and cut them out. I pinned them to the pillow (something that was actually more hassle than it needed to be) and used black embroidery floss to outline the prints. This went very fast actually...I only used a simple running stitch and didn't get too worked up if the stitches weren't perfectly spaced (though I was careful...I admit I couldn't abandon my perfectionist tendencies completely). I then added the heart in red, and the year at the bottom, stuffed the pillow case and sewed up the bottom. And done!

The pillow pops up in various rooms courtesy of my children, who love to move pillows all over the house depending on where the latest fort or cuddle party is. :)

I wish I had done this years ago, when they were smaller...even at 4 and 6 yrs old their hands were big enough to fill the square. I wonder if I could find various handprints of theirs from over the years and create a collage of these on linen in simple black a growth chart of handprints. Hmmm...

Friend card

I made this Friendship card thanks to the inspiration from a Splitcoast Stampers sketch challenge. When I'm in a bit of a creative funk this is my go-to place to find inspiration!

I got this sweet little girl from The Greeting Farm after eyeing in for a while. "Snuggle" reminds me of my daughter and her favorite stuffed animal, a little pink bunny she has had since she was an infant. So naturally when I sat down to color her, the bunny had to be pink! I really need to add to my Copic stock...I only have a couple of pinks so there really isn't much to see in terms of blending. Ah well. Add it to the wish list! :) The sentiment is also from The Greeting Farm, and everything is stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black ink. The set has some very cute sentiments...I can't wait to use the "I like you more than puppies" stamp in a future project!

The card stock is from Stampin Up, and the bit of patterned paper is from my overstuffed envelope of scraps. :) I think the paper is from 2006, probably bought at Joanns.

I punched the edge of the sentiment piece with a scallop punch from Stampin' Up (I really have to thank them for my obsession with punches!) and for a little added twinkle, used some tiny rhinestones along the edge.

I tried to keep this card pretty low dimensional so it could still be mailed. Pretty simple, but a soft color scheme that would be great to send to a friend for any reason (or no reason at all!)


Weekend Project!

Happy Monday everyone!
Things were pretty busy at home this weekend. We have finally had a break in the weather which means we aren't walking out into a sauna every day. Sleeping has been great - with temps in the 50's overnight we can keep the windows open and still be able to snuggle under the covers. My favorite kind of weather!
On Saturday I started a project thats been on the wishlist since we moved into the house. Our house was built in the 20's and there are many things I love about it. There are also many things I hate about the house, one of which being that we have never had a "small project". It always leads into a much bigger project than we have the time (or funds) for. And now I am to the point that there are "this homeowner" projects and "next homeowner" projects. Why should I take away all the fun of home ownership from subsequent owners? That would hardly be fair to them! lol
So the main house was built in the 20's but we have an addition that was added probably in the 60's. It's a nice large room, where we spend most of our time, especially for entertaining. It's also paneled. Ugh. I hate paneling! I planned to paint it early on, but that was hindered by the fact that the roof leaked, causing damage to a corner of the ceiling, which is also paneled. So if we were to fix it, it would mean taking out all of the ceiling tiles (we would never find replacements) and trim and replacing it. At that point we would also need to take out the ceiling lighting and replace that, and who knows what shape that would be in. So it sat.
Then, a couple years ago, my hubby had a poker game. He has them periodically, just a few of his friends over to hang out and play a friendly game of cards. Well, someone apparently got a bit upset over a hand and then punched one of the sliding doors for the large closet in the hall. And put a hole in it. Don't get me started...
Hubby tried to fix it by flipping the doors so we wouldn't be looking at a hole in the door (smart, since his usually easy-going wife was seeing red everytime she walked past it. Well, the track was damaged in the process and the doors don't slide on the track very well now. So now I just see red when I can't get the door open. We were going to replace the doors, but knowing that I wanted them to be white we waited again. He didn't see an issue with white doors in a brown room, but thankfully he generally defers to me for color/decorating (smart man again). But we can't put it off any more. The doors are nearly impossible to move and realizing that we can't drywall the room we are just going to paint the walls and deal with the ceiling at a later time. It really can't look worse than it does and I'm so tired of having such a dark room.
Here is what we started with:
I cleaned and primed the walls with a Latex primer (I found out after that it's recommended to use Oil-based primer for paneling, oops). Once it dried I checked for "bleed-through", which is common for paneling, and the reason to use Oil-based primer. Thankfully, there was no sign of it. I then pulled out some leftover paint I used recently to paint the 2nd floor hall. It was a Behr paint called Swiss Coffee, and is just barely off white. There was just enough for one coat, so I tried to be as even as I could. I think it will need a 2nd coat eventually, but I'm going to wait until we make the final plunge and paint the main room.
Here is the final result:

All in all I like the outcome, though it takes a little getting used to. But it already feels a little brighter. Now we can move on to replacing the sliding doors on the left wall. I want to replace the tiny light fixture also...perhaps with a vintage schoolhouse light. I'd love one like this eventually. :) I did spend a little time at my craft table Sunday morning, but didn't have time to complete anything. Most of yesterday was spent cleaning the house and then had a wonderful visit from a friend who lives in Chicago. I have a few projects to complete for back-to-school so I need to get cracking. I am part of the PTo at my son's school (as if I weren't busy enough! lol) and we have a few things planned to welcome back the teachers. Being the resident crafty lady I have some gift cards to make as well as some other little goodies. Watch for them soon! :)

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Birthday card

I found a tutorial on YouTube by SplitcoastStampers on the Embedded Embossing technique. I was intrigued so I gave it a try. All in all it's a fun technique, but for the work involved I think I would rather stick to stamping my images and then covering the entire image in clear embossing powder. I felt there was really no difference in the effect and found that I lost some of the crispness of the stamped image. Once I stamped over the clear and used black powder, I found that the image started to spread as the black powder melted. I noticed it in both the flowers and especially in the sentiment.
Here's the card:

I started with white cardstock and used Distress inks (Wild Honey, Dried Marigold, Barn Door) to create a sunset/sunrise effect. I put two layers of clear embossing powder on the card and once cooled stamped the flower (Stampin' Up) and sentiment (Ali Edwards/Technique Tuesday) with VersaMark. I used black detail embossing powder and heated it. At this point I lost the fine lines of the flower stems and sentiment. I have to admit its really cool to watch the black sink into the clear.

I wanted to machine stitch around the image with black thread so off I ran to my sewing machine. Lesson learned: my sewing machine does NOT like embossing. Instead of sewing it gummed up in the embossing and nearly ended up sawing through the bottom 1/4" of the card. Ooops! So I had to hide it. Ribbon would be too wide, so I dug through my collection of fibers and found this one. I wanted it to be secure along the length of the card but also discovered that Tombo Mono glue didn't really want to stick the fiber and embossed surface together so I ran my tape runner in spots on the fiber and finally had some success. For a little extra something I used my Tim Holtz Mini Attacher and stapled the ends of the fiber.
Once all of that was done, I used some Basic Grey paper on the front of my card and popped the embossed image up with dimensionals. Whew! Crafting is an adventure!
I think if I try this again I will stamp everything first and switch to UTEE for more depth. Simpler technique, but I think I would like the effect more.
On a side note, I have a strong desire to try some embroidery. I used to cross stitch as a kid, but I don't even know where my floss has ended up now, years later. I want to try something like the pillow I made from my kids handprints (I have a video up on YouTube), perhaps using my kids drawings as the pattern. I saw something like this in the current issue of Create With Me by Stampinton (I totally LOVE this publication!). I'll have to dig through their sketchbooks for something. :) I've been looking through YT videos (naturally) and Google for ideas. We'll see.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Congratulations card

I finally had a chance to sit at my craft table for a bit and work on a card. Things have just been so busy lately that I haven't had a moment to catch my breath. It felt great to be creative again...I have been sorely missing that. I stalk YouTube regularly, keep some cardmaking/scrapbook magazine handy all the time but just haven't had the time or the energy to sit down and create something myself. It's also been so hot, and not having central air in the house means that it has been too hot to sit in the front room for long periods of time. But that is neither here nor there at the moment - I finally made a card! :)

My plans for this card is a wedding I'll be attending in September. I bought this stamp from Rubbernecker a while ago and love the elegance of the couple. I colored it a bit with Copics, just in the hair and face. I left the dress white (it is a wedding after all) but did brush some Perfect Pearl on it. Unfortunately it doesn't show up at all in the photos, but in person its so pretty and shimmery. The cardstock is from Stampin' Up and the patterned paper is from DCWV (Lemon Flower matstack). I used a flower that I got from a flower swap last year...I've been hoarding the flowers from the swap, but this fit so perfectly that I had to use it. The frame is from Nestibilities. For the sentiment I used a bit of patterned paper from the matstack and layered a light yellow cardstock on top. I flagged the ends and stamped "Congratulations" with VersaMark before heat embossing with black powder and adhering with dimensionals. The stamp is from Hero Arts.

Inside the card I wanted something lighter than the dark gray cardstock so I pulled a piece of vellum out of my scrap stash and layered it inside. I thought white might be too stark. To hide the adhesive I cut some strips from another piece from the Lemon Flower stack and fussy cut the edges to bring out the design. It was then attached to the top and bottom of the card.
All in all I was pleased with the result. I would have liked to do something with the mat behind the couple but couldn't think of anything that was subtle enough so I left it plain beyond embossing the edges.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Spiderman Day!

I recently did an online search for random holidays...the kind of holidays that don't usually make it on a regular calendar, but something that would be fun to celebrate with the kids. It turns out that August 1 is Spiderman Day! I can't really find out why it falls on 8/1, but Big D is a fan of Spidey and this would be a good chance to do something silly and fun for him. Lil A would join in the fun too...she will usually happily tag along with anything that Big does.
We don't have a lot of Spiderman stuff so this was a chance to come up with something crafty to do with the kids. We decided that this was the perfect opportunity to decorate some sugar cookies. Following Alton Browns recipe on Food Network, I make the dough and popped it into the fridge to chill. Big and I went to Michaels and picked up some new art supplies for them as well as blue & red yarn. I thought perhaps we could make some kind of web in the house. Unfortunately the layout of our house is challenging for these projects, so we may have to delay that project. But the cookies were a huge hit! After baking, I tinted some leftover white frosting blue and red. I let Big & Lil spread the frosting on the cookies with their child-size knives (part of kids sized silverware sets my grandmother sent to me from Germany). I put the red frosting in a sandwich bag, snipped off a tiny corner and piped the red in a rough web design on top. I am no cake decorator, but we got the effect we wanted, and they tasted great of course! The kids had a blast!

Now I need to find some other fun random holidays! :) What random holidays do you like to celebrate?