Thursday, December 29, 2011

A seamstress is born!

I gave my daughter a sewing machine for Christmas to give her an "official" start to her life as a craftster. 

She took to it right away. Her first project was a blanket for her American Doll. 

Soooooo proud!
Concentrating on keeping her seam straight. 
It fits! :)

The seamstress with her new blanket.

Next up: Pillows!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Memory Book

My Mother's 80th Birthday was in August. I wanted to make her something special that would reflect what she means to me and illustrate the influence she has had over me. 

Not just from the standpoint of being my Mother. Rather a way to tell her how I appreciate who she is and how much I appreciate the gifts she has given me. 

I inherited my love of the Arts from her, and she and I both have the same need to express ourselves through art. 

I made a memory book for her. A mix between a scrapbook and a collage.

I like to use unusual or found objects in my projects. I have a whole stash of coffee cozies in my recycled drawer in my room. I decided that they would make an interesting cover to my book. 

I  like to use unusual or found objects in my projects. I have a stash of coffee cozies in my recycled and found objects drawer. I decided that they would make  an interesting cover for my book. I sewed them together with a large zig zag stitch. I did several layers of mod podge over the front, and it created a kind of leathery cover. I then sewd a wax paper envelope on to the front, created a big tag/postcard, and tucked it in the pocket. I was going to cover them with some lovely paper, but I decided that the cups were cute. Also, another thing Mom and I share is a love of coffee.
I found images to represent her early years. Some were illustrations 
from the 30's, but I also found pictures of her old schools on the
web and used those.  

My Father was stationed in Anchorage in the early 50's.
They moved there soon after they were married. 
Eight kids!
I refrained from doing profiles of each of us.
Even though we are all a part of her,
 I wanted to concentrate on what embodies her alone.  

Family Pictures
My Mother is a Seamstress, and in the 1960's
and 1970's she sewed much of her own clothes.
She has never been afraid of experimenting with
new fabrics and techniques. 
Mom mainly quilts now, but every once in a while she'll sew
my daughter a super cute dress. She still has a very unique style.
Not just in the way she dresses, but also how she styles her home. 
More about Mom's style. She was a hip chick at the
Country Club when we lived in Illinois.
Another example of Mom's style. The skirt is hers.

My Dad loved Oregon, and
Multnomah Falls, The Gorge and Mt. Hood
were frequent sites for hiking and backpacking.
Mom and Dad were prolific readers, and
most of us are too. It was fun gathering pictures of some of her favorite books and pasting them here. I also found a bookmark from her bookstore she owned years ago. 

I added two of William Stafford's poems.
He and John Updike were two of her favorites.

 A note about how she inspires me. 

Mom has always been an artist. Oils, watercolors,
needlepoint, sewing, furniture repair, re-upholstery, and
refinishing, and much more. Just as in the love
of the written word, she instilled a love of art in each of us.  

I had to mention other loves that she and
I share. Cheese, writing, and coffee.
This project was great fun for me, especially when I gave it to Mom and saw the smile on her face. 

If you decide to make your own book for someone you love, I recommend reflecting on what you want to communicate before you start. Then start gathering images and elements to help tell your story. 

Craft on!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I've started adding little sprigs of Lavender to cards and projects. 

Scrap Swap

If you are a scrapbooker, card maker, or collager, you most likely have 100's of scraps, bits, and embellishments all over your work area that you may never use again. 

Some may be so cute, shiny or beautiful that you can't bear the thought of releasing them in to the garbage can, never to be made in to a treasure. 

Instead of damning your special bits to the garbage heap, have a scrap swap with your friends!

I made several little envelopes full of treasures. I think they're so sweet wrapped up in their little envelopes! (You can tell I have a particular obsession not only with paper and bits, but with little things in general)

This is one of my favorite scrap envelopes. I gave it to my Mother. I might steal it back. 

Sew a wax paper envelope.
  1. Cut a rectangle piece of wax paper, about 4 inches wide and 11 inches long. 
  2. Fold the wax paper over once, then a second time. 
  3. Set your machine to medium tension. Stitch length is up to you. 
  4. Begin sewing along the length of the wax paper. I found that the best place to start sewing was at the top corner of what is to become the envelope pocket.
  5. Sew all around the rectangle, causing a side seam on the pocket and a nice clean sewn edge on the flap.
  6. I held on lightly as the paper fed through.  

Cut a sheet of wax paper approximately 4" x 11".

Add paper bits, quotes, tags, embellishments, etc.

I had a lot of fun digging through my scraps. 
Fold the flap over to create your envelope. Secure with some cute ribbon or twine.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


When searching for that perfect element for a card, collage, sewing project, whatever, be sure to check in places other than the usual. 

The "Thank You" tag on this card is a Wilton wedding embellishment for goodie bags. I think they were $1.99 a pack. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I've been pokin' around on Pinterest lately. It helps me gather images of inspiration for upcoming Winter home projects. 

If you have a goal, or if you're like me and you like to yank images from print ads or articles and post them in an idea book, you'll love it. 

You create a category or "board". Mine consist of categories such as crafts, dream home, decorating, holiday ideas, etc. 

Then within each of those boards, you "pin" your images. You can add a lengthy description to each pin, or you can just use a word. I have many that say "headboard", "wall color", "table", "skirt", etc. 

I use Pinterest a few hours a week, and it helps fire up my creative side. I have made decisions on wall colors for the house, resolved organizational issues (we have many in our small house), found patterns and fabrics, and much more!

If you need some assistance with creative visualization, I highly suggest it.

The site is as yummy as a big can of Tuna!

Monday, August 15, 2011

ModPodge Bank

I love Trader Joe's coffee. Every time I finish a can, I wash it out and put the can on a shelf in my craft room, knowing that someday I'll do something super cool with it.

Here's a super cool idea........ MODPODGE BANKS!!

Step 1: Get a can. (Doesn't have to be a TJ's can, I just think they're a great size - and I drink a lot of coffee. 

Step 2: Gather your tools.
* Mod podge and brush (sponge brush works just fine)
* Cutter or scissors
* Paper: Thick card stock is not appropriate for this project. Use thinner printed scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, stationary, tissue, etc.
* Embellishments: Stickers, tags, die cuts, etc.
* Step 3: Prep
* Measure the width around your can, and cut paper strips long enough to run it.
* If you want a more "collaged" look, then rip or cut shapes.
* (My next can will be decorated with wrapping paper die cuts. )
Step 4: Decorate your can
* Apply thin coat of Mod Podge to the back of your strip or shape. I "paint" it on very thin.

* While holding one end of the strip, slowly wrap a strip around the can, taking care to smooth out any wrinkles as you go. Repeat this step for the rest of the strips or embellishments.

Step 5: Seal your can
Hold the can over a fist, and begin to paint a light coat of Modpodge around the can. Apply 4-5 coats of Mod Podge. Let the Mod Podge dry completely between coats.

Step 6: Let dry for 24 hours, put the lid on, and start to save those coins!!

Decide where you want your art, and put it on display!!

Wrapping Paper Storage

I use really great wrapping paper in my papercrafts, and I've been looking for storage that will keep it within arms reach. I think these empty Trader Joe's Rialto beer packs are a perfect and charming solution!!

 My Nephew passed away on February 5th, so there wasn't much inspiration to finish my Valentines. However, his death inspired me to do something for my sister. 

I have been accumulating Starbucks, Stumptown, and First Cup cup sleeves in my RRR drawer, with the intent of using them one day. I've used a few on cards, but I was looking for something original. I was visiting my second favorite store, Paper Zone, and one of the artists had made a Valentine's mini book out of two of them. 

I started by cutting two sleeves to the same width and length. 

I then reduced the size of pictures of my Nephew and printed them on vellum and card stock, and included divider pages and pages with quotes about children. 
I used office supply binder rings to bound the book together. The Paper Zone artist used ribbon, but I hope that this book will hold up better with the rings. 

I lined the back of the book (the corrugated side of the sleeves) with pretty paper.

I stamped the front of the book with a "Memories" stamp, and added a bit of antique lace to the top. 
I then created a wrap for the book out of another thinner sleeve, and covered it with glitter modpodge to prevent splits