Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas and a Recycled Wreath

Here's our Christmas tree this year.  We opted for our standard Douglas Fir that we've been getting every year since we've been married.  This was the first year that we put on ornaments that we had made as kids or actually a large collection of ornaments in general.  In the past, we've "decorated" with dried leaves, pine cones, and acorns for a "from the woods" look.  (And of course on the stair railing base is one of those great magazine trees.)

We also made a number of ornaments this year.  A number being made from leftover pistachio shells saved from our all our old biscotti baking.

 When we were going through our ornament collections, we realized we each had made an angel ornament with our photos on during the same year (1992).  So obviously, they needed to go on the tree together.
Here's my latest project in my quest to find ways to use left over milk caps from work.  A holiday wreath! (You can find other projects here and here.)
I used a wooden craft ring (12 inches) that I painted a green color.  One thing I realized after I completed the wreath was that I should've strung a ribbon or wire through two of the holes so it could be easily hung.  However, it still hangs perfectly well on a hook.  

Each cap I hot glued down to the ring form and then to create a "bow" I layered a few caps in the lower corner.  For added interest, I then attached various buttons to each cap center.  

And the finished wreath hanging.....

Friday, December 17, 2010

How to....make free (or practically free) sparkly ornaments

We've been trying to find ways to use our ever growing collection of milk caps from work, so it was only fitting to try our hand at making ornaments for our tree (Dougie Wonderfir).  Kinsey came up with this sparkling design.

For this project, you'll need: glitter (we used Martha Stewart's glitter which is superfine and was super on sale at the time), a hot glue gun, Mod Podge, milk caps, and string.

Here's the simple how-to.  Cut a small amount of string to hang the ornament with and hot glue to the inner edge of one of the milk caps.  Take another milk cap and hot glue the two together around the inner rim.  Next, brush on glue quite liberally.  Then, pour the glitter all over where you just spread glue.  (Note: only glue/glitter one side at a time or you'll end up smearing the glitter.  So try to be patient and wait for the back side to try before attempting.)  

And this is what you'll get!

Easy, sparkly, and inexpensive (free if you have glitter on hand!)  They sure beat those standard glass balls.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

I've been pretty busy getting ready for my art show. I've also been busy making ornaments for our tree. I hope to have some ornament how-tos in the next couple of days, but in the meantime, here's a sneak peek at two of my new pieces!

I love, love, love the stitches and colors in this one! Any guesses on where it is?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving and a Weekend Sale!

I love thanksgiving.  I love the meal (minus the turkey) and just the nice relaxing feel of the day.  The past two years, Kinsey and I did the meal ourselves (read about our past meals here-including my first (and last since we don't eat meat anymore) roasting of a turkey), but this year we're having both of our parents over.  

We'll post pictures of our meal and details tomorrow, but I wanted to announce our Thanksgiving sale at the shop.  From midnight Friday,  November 26th though 11:59pm Monday,  November 29th, we'll be offering free shipping (within the US) on ALL orders and 10% of all orders over $20!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It's starting to get a little cooler around here. Granted, temperatures were around 60 today but the week ahead is only in the mid 40's! I actually love the cooler weather. I love sweaters, wearing layers, and scarves. (I also can't wait to break out my new winter coat!) I did a massive posting of new items today in our shop.
Some brand new items, some sale items, and some scarves:

(I did break out the new coat for these photos!)  I love the green floral print on this one.  Here's a close-up on the green one. 

And this one (I named it Flowers in the Snow) features some of all time favorite floral fabric and a wintry gray fabric.  This scarf also features small hand tying knots on every fabric square for something a little extra. 
Check out our new items and my new favorite clutch.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Here's a new one....or three

I've recently been creating more clutches.  I used to make a lot of these, but took an unintentional break.  Here's three of my latest.  (Of course, they all feature trees!  Nothing unusual there!)

I love this aqua canvas.  The color makes everything really pop out, especially browns, which I use a lot of.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How I Spent Last Weekend...or How I Learned to Love Pinking Shears

This past weekend was the local Christmas craft show that a neighboring gallery puts on each year. So of course I spent my days off before the show sewing and embroidering like crazy. This was my first show where I've had my fabric owls for sale and overall they got a really great response and I sold more than I thought I would there.
I also came up with my new Christmas ornament of the year.  I recently re-discovered my fabric pinking shears and crafted this state badge ornament.  The design of course is based off my "My Heart's In Pennsylvania" series that includes magnets and pins.  I love being able to layer the felts and the texture that the pinking shears gave the final ornament.  I especially love this wood grain fabric one and called it "Penn's Woods".

Here was a scene I saw much of while making them. 

I hate to admit, but this massive pile is just round one of my PA ornaments.  I made at least double this the very next day.  I just like to make sure I have enough.

The show was very, very successful!  Thanks to everyone who came out.  With the last craft show of my year over with, now I can focus on making Christmas gifts and my two upcoming art shows.  One will be a collective with Kinsey and an employee at the bookstore and the other will be my first solo show.  Very excited about this!  I'll have more details about both soon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall Rain....

Today was pretty rainy.  Definitely a good day for a pot of tea and some sewing.  Here's two quick shots from the outside world today.  The road in front of our house is covered with bright yellow leaves that looked really nice against the wetness.  

Here's a shot of all the different colored trees in our backyard.  Well, actually there all not in our "actual" backyard, but rather the neighbors' yards.  So pretty.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Finding, Buying, and Assembling...with a surprise

Last week, Kinsey and I headed to Ikea with hopes of finding "the perfect" desk/worktable for each of our craft rooms. We both were currently using a 6 foot folding table that was good, but was a little un level in the center and looked rather temporary. We hoped to find something that would give us room to work, but wasn't quite as long. The longer the table, the more clutter and other things were on it.
Here's my current set up.  Note: I usually have much more stuff on my table, but I was in the middle of a massive craft marathon the day before, so I cleared everything off for more room.

I found this option minutes after we first walked into the showroom section.  (I love the curtains to the left of this desk.  If they were a little thicker they'd be great for our house!)
I liked the drawers a lot and it was around 2 feet shorter than my current table. Also, I thought the white color would look nice against the light aqua walls.

I thought I was set.  Now we just needed to find a suitable desk for Kinsey.  We walked into the desk area at Ikea and were a little overwhelmed with all the options.  If you're at all familiar with Ikea (and really, who isn't?), you know that you can customize your perfect desk - tabletop, legs, shelving, drawers, etc.  We found a basic top - light pine and about 47 inches in length.  Then I found that this little drawer shelving fits perfectly under the desk as a replacement of a side's legs.  
Kinsey loved this and liked the idea of some storage for his inks, pens, and collage materials that were really close at hand.  I fell for this combination as well.  The original desk I found was nice, but was quite long....much longer than what I had wanted.  And the drawer shelving was too good to pass up.  All my sewing notions just a pull drawer away?  Yes, please.

Here's our new desks in their packaging.  I love their flat packaging.  It means even more goodness can fit in our hatchback.

So on to the assembling! I will say that the "Micke" drawer has the most small parts I have ever seen with an Ikea piece. It was a little overwhelming, but we love putting things like this together!

Less pieces= almost ready for crafting!

Yeah! Drawer together! Last step: Time to put the tabletop and legs on.

Wait - what's that big hole in my table top that is discovered of course after I just screwed both legs in and am in mid turn to set it on my finished shelving drawer? Yes, my brand new tabletop has a hole the size of a half dollar.

Really.  I don't really want to return this.  Ikea is 70 minutes away.  What to do?

Luckily,  Kinsey was okay with the idea of putting some wood filler in the spot and using it in his room.  He was planning on putting a plastic cutting mat on his desk top to begin with so a little dab of wood filler wouldn't make a difference.  Crisis avoided.  Here's my new desk set up. 
Now, I just need to get the rest of the room in better order!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How to Turn All Those Magazines into Something That Looks Good

If you're anything like us, you have tons of past issues of magazines laying around. I usually go through them and rip out any recipes, stories, or inspirations that I might want to reference later. I put these in folders, which keeps it pretty organized. Then, Kinsey usually goes through them for materials for his collages. More often than not, that's the end of the journey for them. Very few get thrown out until it gets to the point where I get tired seeing them and purge a lot of them. Now I found a reason to keep them around a little longer.

These trees are made from a magazine that has been folded a certain way on each page. Actually there are three different folds on every page. I saw a how to video on Martha Stewart's website (who else would have this? Actually it's on Reader's Digest's site, too.) At first I thought it seemed great, then I watched the video and thought it seemed like a bit much...it seemed like a lot of folding and that it would take a while to finish. I decided to give one a try anyway. I don't know what it is, but it was very relaxing to do. I suppose it's because of all the repetitive motions, but I actually enjoyed the process of folding.

I used Bon Appetit for the larger tree and Everyday Food for the smaller one. Martha spray painted and then glittered her trees. I kept my plain, at least for now. I like that they look like magazines.

You can see a detailed how-to here.
They look great in small groups! Maybe even include an origami deer with them?

Friday, November 5, 2010

1 Whale + 1 Owl= Lots of Little Owls

It all started with a whale.  A stuffed whale that is.  Kinsey made this for me early 2009.  I had seen a stuffed whale in one of my craft books and loved it.  Although the one I saw in the book was made of old jeans and didn't look quite as good as the one below.  
I love this whale and I won't lie, I sometimes use it as a pillow when I sleep.  So seeing how much I loved the first animal, Kinsey surprised me with this one last Christmas:

I was so impressed and couldn't believe he didn't use a pattern for these animals.  I told him he should really make more and sell them.  Who wouldn't love an owl like this?  But we never really got around to making more.  

The other week I got the sudden urge to see if I could make a similar owl.  I didn't want my new owl (or owls in this case) to be as large as the original, but not too small.  I also wanted to change the eyes and make them not as large.  I wanted to eliminate the zigzag stitching and give the a cleaner overall appearance.  Another area I wanted to improve was the shape.  I like the original and how the spiky tail is, but I thought a smooth, straight edge may be a little better for the overall shape.  So with all this in mind, I set out to create an owl of my own.  I started with this one....

I replaced the eyes and beak with felt, as well as the back of the owl is a solid piece of soft brown felt.  I liked the idea of a bolder stomach fabric and the simplicity of the shape.  

That owl eventually lead to a pair......
....which eventually lead to a small army of owls!

The final results: I ended up with an ideal length of about 10 inches and by replacing different features with felt, the overall feel is much softer. The owls don't contain any small parts and are filled with a non allegoric poly-fil. Just in time for Christmas...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brrr.....it's cold in here

It's been pretty chilly here the past couple days. Really chilly. Our house was built in the early 30's and can get a little drafty in cooler weather. To help prevent the chill we've been feeling the past few mornings and nights, we decided to do a little winterizing.

One of the things we did was putting plastic up over windows. I've never really did this before and always thought it looked sort of bad. Often, I'd see houses with plastic all wrinkled and really didn't like the appearance. So I had doubts.

We picked up a few packs of these at Home Depot for very little. It includes everything except obviously the hair dryer.

Essentially, you just put double side tape around the window, stretch plastic over, and then blow dry. We did the four downstairs living room windows. Our first one was really bad, our second one was semi-bad, and by our third window, it finally clicked. We figured out how to hold it taut enough and attach it so it didn't show all sorts of wrinkles. It actually looks like nothing is there practically.

Practically invisible! Hopefully, it keeps the cool air out!