Sunday, February 22, 2009

I heart Mondays

Here's a simple little project for you, made of hearts. It's a great embellishment for cards. All you need is a heart-shaped punch and two shades of paper. If you don't have punch, you can trace a pattern on cardboard. I use my heart-shaped cookie cutters for crafts more than cookies!

Punch four hearts in one color and four in a second color. Attach the first color at the points with the edges overlapping slightly. Repeat with the second color. Glue the two circles together so the curved edges are slightly out of alignment. To finish, use a mini punch to make a four-heart center, and top with a rhinestone. Voila.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Priceless Artwork

A good friend of mine once said (when we were moms of young children) "there's priceless artwork, and then there's price-less artwork." In other words, don't feel guilty if some of your child's nursery school drawings end up in the blue bin.

Here's a piece I consider priceless. I found it stuck between some papers that were in a box that had been moved at least twice without being sorted out. It's got to be 12 years old.

This is a kitchen-table creation, or maybe a doctor's-waiting-room or back-seat-of-the-car time killer. I love it because it reminds me of my little girl who is a star, who is full of love, and has never stopped drawing. Now her pictures are a little moodier, use a lot more black and red, and contain symbolism that's often lost on us adults. However, it's still priceless.

Friday, February 20, 2009

So, what do you think?

I have a love/hate relationship with magazine subscriptions. Sometimes, I crave reading material, and I love cracking open a new issue and seeing what's going on. I keep back issues and read them again. I sort them by month instead of year, and have been known to consult with seven or eight seasonal issues when planning a special party or event. In busy periods of my life, though, I hate the guilt I get from hearing "read me, please read me" every time I walk by. I don't like the clutter of a stack of unread magazines. I don't like the stress of knowing that there are more than "10 ways to simplify my cleaning routine" and I'm too busy to read them, let alone put them in practice!

I finally freed myself by letting all my subscriptions expire. The hardest to let go was Martha, because I've been a fan for so long. And I was quite worried I couldn't live my best life (or even aspire to it) without my monthly pep talk from Oprah. But I did it... I let them go. And all of a sudden, I had time on my hands and nothing to read. When the band-trip fundraising form came home from school I was an easy sale ..."oh, all right. It's for a good cause, after all." I carefully made my choices, looking for good content and refreshing ideas. Home Companion, Cottage Living, Domino, O at Home ... and one by one I got the thanks-but-no-thanks notes. They've all gone under. The irony is that one consolation prize is a subscription to MSL. I guess it's a good thing, after all.

That's my personal story. Professionally, I wouldn't be where I am today were it not for hobby publications -- both magazines and books. That's why I found Jennifer Perkin's recent post so interesting. Do you think the blog-o-sphere is undoing the print world? Do you read blogs or other online content more or less than print magazines? What about when you want to do a craft project? Do you do a quick online search, or flip through back issues? What about books? I'd love to hear your opinions.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I heart Mondays (and Tuesdays)

Here's the post I intended for yesterday. This beautiful necklace and earring set were a gift from my CHA friend Gail Ritchey. I just love them. And, I'm even more excited that Gail has a polymer clay book project underway -- look for the release next year.
My photo doesn't show Gail's excellent color blending. My all-time favorite shade of blue is swirled with veins of true silver, making the simple ear wires a perfect accent. Thanks, Gail :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

I heart Mondays

This week I need an extra day! Friday's post took enough out of me, and I swore that even though there were lots of hearts in that project, I wouldn't cop out and use it for Monday. I have something in mind, but no time for photography today. So, stay tuned and I'll post as soon as I can.

PS this means an extra day for the glue give-away. Just tell me what you're "stuck on" and you'll be entered.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Big A** Busy

A while back I wrote a mini review of the Big Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano. Well, this is what our copy of his book looks like, after Meredith flagged all the projects she'd like to make! This week we've been working on the Urban Corsage project, and thanks to Mark, I can post the directions for you. We made a few modifications, based on Meredith's taste (wristband -yes, flower - no) and materials we had on hand.

First, we started with a collection of printed fabric, flannel, and vintage buttons.

Next, we cut the fabric and the flannel to Mark's dimensions, and cut accent hearts out of the flannel.
I sewed the hearts on first, and then backed the fabric band with the flannel. I played around with the decorative stitches on my new sewing machine.

Then it was time to choose our embellishments. We veered from the directions a little. I knew I wanted to do a Velcro closure, so it would be easy for Meredith to put on/take off with one hand. But, I loved the look of the buttons on Mark's version. So, I used the buttons for my embellishment. You can also add ribbon, crystals, beads ... whatever you'd like.

The last step is to glue on the Velcro. For a project like this, it's important to use a strong glue with a flexible bond, like E-6000. You should always select your glue based on the requirements of your application. Since this was a wearable item, I knew I wanted a flexible bond. I can go on and on about glue ...
Here are my final samples:

Here's Meredith, good to go!

Click here to see Mark's Urban Corsage -- I really love his fabric, and honestly, I would have gone for the flowers, too.
Here are the directions for the Urban Corsage from The Big Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano:
2 pieces of 11″ x 3″ fabric (with edges that fray are the best)
Faux flowers & leaves
Amazing E-6000 Craft Adhesive
Different colors of thread
Sewing machine with zigzag stitch capabilities

1. Place your fabric pieces on top of each other and zigzag stitch them all around, about 1/2 inch in from all four sides. One piece of fabric is the outside and the other is the inside. Kind of like a fat watchband with a button closure instead of a buckle.
2. Arrange your leaves and zig zag stitch them onto the cuff.
3. Take your faux flower apart and zig zag stitch it to the center.
4. Cut out hearts, stars, random shapes and zig zag stitch them around your flower.
5. Stitch three buttons to one side of your flower (for different wrist sizes)
6. Wrap the cuff around your wrist to figure out where the button holes should go and mark the placement. If your sewing machine has a button hole setting, stitch one in. If it doesn’t you can cut a slit and stitch the edges of the cut.
7. Using E-6000, add rhinestones to the center of the flower and the cuff.

Accessorize with your favorite jeans and t-shirt and show it off!
If you make one, send me a photo! And don't forget my glue give away -- you have until Monday to enter.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I Heart Mondays & a Giveaway

Today, some Valentines for you. These are my favorites, and I bring them out every year. If you do nothing else this week, get out the crayons, construction paper, and glitter and make a Valentine for someone you love.

The pink Valentine with the bow and the red and white Valentine are from my friend Susan. She made the pink one in 1996. It folds together and is latched with a small heart that shows on the back.

The red valentine isn't signed, but I distinctly remember her making this during our monthly craft night. I thought she was crazy at the time, but I'm thrilled to have one for myself! It's a fine example of Scherenschnitte, a traditional German paper cutting craft.

The others are examples of cards I made to send to friends and family. I learned how to make most of them in a paper cutting and folding class taught by Barbara Griffeth Galley.

When my kids were little, I always felt a little overwhelmed around Christmas time, so when I thought I hadn't done a good job of personal Christmas cards, I tried to make up for it around Valentines Day. This large red Valentine cleverly folds into a self-mailer, requiring the recipient to finish the task by folding it back into the Valentine.

And now for the giveaway. Thanks to the fine folks at Eclectic Products, I have some glue for you. All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what you're "stuck on." I'll draw a random number next Monday, and you'll get some terrific craft glue to work with.

Here's my list ('cause I can't keep it to just one...)

1. I'm stuck on my husband of nearly 19 years, and our dear, dear daughters.

2. I'm stuck on 2% plain Greek yogurt.

3. I'm stuck on the color blue.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Think Spring, part 2

Did I mention that my mom’s been cleaning out a lot lately? She came across this photo,
which was the inspiration for this drawing. Here are my take-aways from looking at this 40-year-old snapshot:
1. No wonder swinging was (and is) my favorite playground activity.
2. “Glee” and “delight” are two emotions often associated with children (especially when swinging) but much too rarely with older teens and adults.
3. How cool is it that my parents set up a real swing in the laundry room!
4. Blue Keds are the best.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I heart Mondays

A few years ago I was editing Knit & Crochet Combined at work, and of course I had to have a knitting project going on at home, too. I made a small blanket. I tend to get impatient with directions, though, so the next project I did I wanted to make up on my own. I "designed" a purse that I knit and then felted. For the embellishment, I wanted to practice increasing and decreasing, so I decided to knit this heart. When it was done, I felted it too and sewed it onto the purse. What I didn't realize is that the beauty of felted material is that it can be cut without unraveling. If you want to make something similar, just knit a square, felt it, and then cut out the heart shape for your embellishment.