Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Spring Break Project on a Wintry Day!!

This is my Spring Break week from school and today the temperature will be lucky to reach 40!! Uggh!! Go Away Winter!!  I was supposed to spend this week weeding my flower beds and getting them ready for new planting, but I guess Mother Nature had other ideas.  Today, after some much needed spring cleaning,  I created this little card.  I actually saw the idea on Pinterest and found that I had all of the "ingredients"!!  I used my Cricut Freshly Picked cartridge to cut the flower pot.  The paper is from DCWV and K&Company.  The floral embellishments are from Recollections.  I had picked those up from Michael's a while back and using them reminded me of the very generous store clerk that gave me wonderful coupon discounts!!   The brad is one from my stash...I believe I picked those up at Big Lots, back when they were really selling lots of scrapbook items!  I wish those days would come back!  I love a great deal!  The ribbon for the bow is from Martha Stewart and the ribbon embellishment on the pot is from the dollar bin at Michael's.  I was pleased to see that they had brought the dollar bins back.  The last time I was in my local store they had increased the price to $1.50.  I have left the inside of this card blank.  I figure I will save it for a last minute birthday, get well, or even thinking of you card.   Have a great week and I hope its warmer where you are!!
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The New Cricut Mountain Man Cartridge Meets Etching Cream!!

I've been surfing Pinterest again!! Recently I've come across lots of projects using glass etching cream and yard sale/ thrift store glass dishes.  This weekend I paid a visit to Hobby Lobby and used my 40% off coupon on the large container of Armour Etch glass etching cream.  I also stopped by the dollar store and picked up some latex gloves and a $1 candle holder to practice on!  While perusing the aisles of Hobby Lobby with my hubby, I was pleased to find the Cricut accessories at 30% off and they had my "wished for" cartridge!  With just a little encouragement from my husband, I picked up the Mountain Man cartridge and departed the store with Cricut cartridge and etching cream in hand.  This afternoon I took advantage of some time to craft.  I used my Cricut Expression 2 to cut some small wildlife images from the Mountain Man cartridge.  I used white contact paper to create my stencil and the "kiss cut" for vinyl.  I normally would use the animal cut-out, but not for this project, you use, I suppose what is called, the negative.  I etched one side of the candle holder at a time, leaving the etching cream on anywhere from five to ten minutes.  I made sure to wear my rubber gloves while applying the etching cream and while rinsing it off. I read that the etching cream can create some nasty chemical burns!!  I also made sure to clean each side of the candle holder really good with rubbing alcohol, then drying it with a paper towel, before applying my vinyl stencil and etching cream.  I rinsed the cream off with tap water and then dried thoroughly.  I repeated the process for each animal stencil.   I was really proud of my first attempt at glass etching and can't wait to try it on some more projects!! Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!!  Patty

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Papercrafting, Jewelry Making, and Embroidery in One Craft Project

I just love browsing Pinterest for new ideas.  This week I came across one using pendant frames and fabric embroidery work.  The poster had basically cut some embroidery work out of some old fabric, slid it between the two pieces of glass, inserted into the pendant frame and voila a beautiful jewelry project!  My wheels began to turn, so Friday afternoon I paid a visit to my local Hobby Lobby.  Does browsing Hobby Lobby instantly relieve stress for anyone else?  After a rough work week, the craft aisles just melt my stress away.  I picked up several packages of these glass frames.  There's two to a pack and the pendant has two precut glass pieces to encase your project.  I bought some square and circular shaped ones!  I fired up my Bernina embroidery machine and quickly stitched out a little bouquet of redwork flowers.  I tried to encase them between the circular glass, but couldn't get the frame to screw closed.  After several attempts, I gave up.  I then used Modge Podge to glue the embroidery to a piece of the circular glass.  On top of the embroidery I then applied Glossy Accents.  I must say, I wasn't too impressed with the opacity of the finished project.  I then decided to try the project with just paper.  I cut out a glitzy pansy, a deer, a pinecone, and a butterfly from my scrapbook paper stash.  These simple cutouts made beautiful pendants!!  I haven't give up on the embroidery yet though!  My husband suggested iron the embroidery work extra flat so that it may fit better between the two pieces of glass.  I'm going to give that a shot and let you know how it turns out!! I'll string these pendants on some beautiful ribbon or cord to finish them up. 

Thanks for visiting!!

Homemade Lip Gloss

My mom whipped up a batch of homemade lip gloss and gave it to all of us girls as a Christmas treat.  Her recipe involved mixing petroleum jelly and pomegranate drink mix.  She doesn't melt her petroleum jelly and simply adds one pack of drink mix and whips it all together.  I was browsing Pinterest this week, and discovered a similar project.  With the cold weather we've been having her, my lips have gotten bitterly chapped.  I decided to try some soothing peppermint lip balm/gloss.  I simply melted my petroleum jelly in the microwave.  Here's my recipe:
                                                    1 cup of petroleum jelly-unscented or fresh scent
                                                    5-6 drops of Peppermint Oil/Flavoring
Watch out when purchasing petroleum jelly.  It's hard just to find the plain stuff anymore and you definitely don't want the baby powder scent for your lips!!  I put my petroleum jelly in a Pyrex bowl.  It took about five minutes in my microwave to completely turn it to liquid.  I stirred at least every 30 seconds.  The dish will be hot so make sure to have a hot pad and pot holders handy. Once completely melted, I added my peppermint oil.  I found mine in the candy and cake baking section at my local WalMart.  It is safe for human consumption, so I assume its safe for lip gloss.  Peppermint oil can be pretty strong, so I added only a few drops.  Don't want it burning the lips!!  I stirred the two together and quickly poured it into these wonderful little paint cups I found at my Hobby Lobby.  These are the perfect sized containers.  I got 12 for 2.99 and this recipe filled them all with a little bit left for me to use as a test.  The lip gloss is marvelous.  At first you don't really taste the peppermint, but after a few seconds, it is there...but just enough to allow you to smell and taste...not to strong...just right!!  I'm going to try this project again using maybe some instant grape drink mix.  I'm sure you could also add a drop of food color to this recipe to give it just a little color in the container. 
Have a great week and thanks for visiting!!

Learning to Knit Sashay Scarves!!

I teach an enrichment class after school Monday through Thursday.  On average, I have about seven girls who stay regularly and recently we have been making Valentines for our local nursing home residents.  Thursday, we had a special treat. One of my former students stopped by to show us how to make the beautiful Sashay scarves that are really popular right now.  When it comes to knitting with needles, I tend to be all thumbs.  But after our forty-five minute lesson, I brought home my yarn and my number 5 crochet hook and began to work.  Saturday morning required a trip to the tax preparers, so as I waited in line to hand the government a few more tax dollars, I concentrated on my scarf.  It's now midway through Sunday afternoon and I almost have two completed!!  These are so simple to make and actually the Red Heart Yarn company has a tutorial for them on their website:  http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/royally-ruffled-scarf

It's pretty simple a matter of rotating between ten stitches and two stitches....do you call them stitches in crochet???   Just be extra careful, your yarn coming off the hook accidentally can result in the whole scarf unraveling!! Sounds like I know from experience huh??!!   Anyway, a group of faculty and students are going to get together next week to teach others!! Really easy and results really fast.  If you haven't tried this project, it is a simple way to create a quick and beautiful gift in an hour's time!!  Thanks for visiting!!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Free Standing Lace on Bernina Embroidery Machine

I feel so relieved to have my Bernina embroidery machine back in business.  My old laptop was having too many issues in order to run the software program successfully.  My new laptop carries the program just fine and has allowed me to create some wonderful projects in this new year.  One simple project was this free standing lace necklace.  I just love doing free standing lace projects on my embroidery machine.  If you aren't familiar with free standing lace, this type of embroidery uses water-soluble stabilizer as the foundation.  You are not embroidering into a fabric, only the stabilizer.  I like to layer my water-soluble stabilizer into two or three hooped layers, depending on the number of stitches in the design.  After the design is complete, you simply wash away the stabilizer.  It dissolves in luke warm water, leaving the design behind.   I lay my designs out on a paper towel to dry.  I created this little heart for Valentine's Day.  I used a metal loop to attach it to a strand of black cord.  I'm going to increase the size of the heart, just a tad, in the next project, just to show the details of the embroidery work.  Thanks for visiting!! Have a great MLK holiday!


Testing the Silhouette Cameo With A Roll of Indoor Vinyl.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I recently became the owner of the Silhouette Cameo machine.  I love my Cricuts, but was anxious to see if the Silhouette could live up to all the hype I've heard.  So far, the machine cuts card stock and paper with very little difficulty.  The software program has a learning curve, but I've figured out most aspects of the program.  My next test for this cutter was rolled vinyl.  I've seen the videos and read reports that this machine can cut the vinyl straight from the roll, no cutting mat needed.  I followed the instructions and adjusted my rollers to fit the width of the vinyl.  I found a simple Valentine's heart project within the software library.  After adjusting the size on my computer screen, I fed the roll of vinyl into the machine.  The Silhouette pulled it in just as if it were a cutting mat.  Through the design program, I programmed the machine to the vinyl settings.  The machine pulled the vinyl in and cut the design.  I removed the roll and the design from the backing material.  Using clear contact paper, I then transferred the design to a ceramic tile.  Voila! The Silhouette Cameo cut the vinyl smoothly, no miscuts, and no cutting mat needed!!  I was very impressed with how quickly and smoothly the machine cut the vinyl. I used to cut my vinyl to fit the cutting mat. I would even use tape to hold the vinyl in place on the mat.  I can see that using the Silhouette Came will definitely keep me from wasting a lot of vinyl.  More projects to come! Thanks for visiting!!


Creating Coasters Using Alcohol Inks!!

     Yesterday my husband and I took a day trip up to Pigeon Forge where we visited the Titanic attraction. It was very interesting and luckily my passenger was a survivor.  Assigning visitors to an actual passenger on the ship was such a neat idea! A special thank you card will be in the works real soon for my brother-in-law Jeff who got us the tickets.  After visting the museum and eating a wonderful lunch at the Applewood Grill, I had a chance to visit some of my favorite craft stores.  I love the Scrapbook Warehouse and it's clearance store that are located in Pigeon Forge.  Much to my husband's dismay, I could spend hours just browsing their huge selection of papers, stamps, and supplies. I bought a wonderful set of horse-themed stamps at half-price, only 4.98!!  I was also able to pick up some small packs of adhesive foam squares for 50 cents each!  I love a great crafting bargain.  On the way home, I made quick stops at JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby.  Can't resist using those weekly coupons!  Plus, JoAnn's was giving 25% off the total purchase to teachers!!  I was able to pick up some Tim Holtz Alcohol Inks. They were 50% off plus I got my teacher discount!!  I was anxious to use them in today's featured project.

     I just love browsing all the neat ideas found on Pinterest.  This weekend I came across these beautiful tiles created with Tim Holtz Alcohol Inks.

  I purchased white and ecru ceramic tiles, the four inch by four inch size, at my local home improvement store.  I got these a while back for only six cents each!!  This project is so simple, yet amazing.

All you have to do is wipe the tiles down with a paper towel and some rubbing alcohol.  Make sure to wipe down the whole surface.  The Tim Holtz inks come in an easy application bottle.  All you have to do is open them up and begin to drop the ink in droplets onto the surface of the tiles.  I rotated colors between each drop.  I even drop colors within colors!! I think the colors are terrific.  I used both earth tones and brights.  I used six different colors on my tiles.  I kept old newspapers under my tile, as sometimes I tend to get a little messy. There was a little odor to the inks, if you are extra sensitive, you may want to do this project in an area where you can open the window.  My husband noticed the odor more than I did.  After I was satisfied with my colors, I let them dry overnight.

Our temperature got up to around 50 today, so I took my tiles outside and sprayed them with coat of glossy clear acrylic spray. 

I finished the tiles up by adding some felt squares to the bottoms!  Don't want to scuff the coffee table!  The tiles were so simple to create and I had fun watching the color transformations.  These tiles will make wonderful coasters to sit on my coffee and end tables.  I may even make a set or two to give as gifts! You have to try this fun and easy project!! Thanks for visiting!  Happy crafting!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A New Cutting Machine=More Projects=More Fun!!

Over the Christmas holiday, I bought myself a present!  In this area there are several stores that serve as "return" resellers.  They purchase and resell odd products that may have been demos, returns, or overstocks.  I found a new store in Knoxville, by accident, and decided to browse around.  Down one of the aisles, there on the shelf, sat a Silhouette Cameo.  I had read some reviews of this machine, and just like my Cricut machines, I knew that their were some lovers and some haters.  I splurged and bought this machine, paying nearly 100.00 less than what they sell for on eBay and online stores.  The store had a thirty day money back guarantee, but I still took it to the electronics counter, where they let me unbox it, turn it on, and try it out.  Everything seemed to be in good working condition.  So I boxed it back up and brought it home.  There were a few scuffs to the front cover, but other than that everything works great.  All of the accessories were in the box, including an unused $10 design download card.  I immediately opened it up, activated it, registered with the website, and took advantage of a sale they were having on the software upgrade.  I have to say, I really like the option of purchasing individual designs and being able to use fonts found on your computer (plus most of the designs are only 99 cents!). My only wish was that this machine was wireless like the Expression 2.  But its not a huge hassle to carry my laptop over and plug up the USB cable.  This machine has a learning curve, just like the Cricut machines, you don't get a full-fledged step-by-step instructional guide.  Watching the DVD and surfing the internet really helps. 

The first project I created with this machine was this simple strawberry gift box.  I later figured out how to break apart the design so that you don't have to cut out every image at the same time!! I used paper from Martha Stewart to create this box.  I curled the paper with a pencil to create the curl on the leaves.  On the top, I added a cute little green and white bow, also from Martha Stewart Crafts.  The paper is from her School Days Multimedia pad.  This box has little holes, that are part of the design, that allow you to place a metal brad upside down and easily bring the box together.  When I saw this project, I thought "Ohhh! This would be great to fill with those strawberry-wrapped hard candies!".   

So far, I like the Silhouette Cameo.  However, I don't plan on getting rid of any of my Cricut machines or cartridges.  I just think the Silhouette will be a great addition, and give more options, to my craft room!  I've ordered the fabric cutting blade. It should be here today. I will try it out and post my results.  I've also watched several online videos of this machine being used to cut vinyl, straight from the roll, with no mat.  I plan to give this a shot today as well!! More reviews and more projects to come...Thanks for visiting!   Patty

A Simple Valentine For My Mom

As mentioned in a previous post, I tend to find a favorite Cricut cartridge and keep using it, and using it, and...well you get my drift.  Today's card comes from the A Child's Year cartridge. I used the Cricut Craft Room Application and my Cricut Expression 2 machine to size and cut this image.  I've noticed my Expression 2 cuts so much better when I use it with Craft Room!  I'll be so glad when I can link all my Gypsy cartridges to the Craft Room. Now, to continue on with my card,  I used the silhouette image of the mother and child.  I used craft cardstock and this beautiful pink plaid cardstock as my background layers.  I used foam adhesive squares to add dimension. I used my Fiskars punch to create the heart that is being passed from child to mom.  I embellished the heart with Perfect Pearls and silver Stickles. To finish this card I added a little pink bow using ribbon purchased in the Valentine's bargain bin at Hobby Lobby ($1.00!!).  This card is simple and sweet; perfect to give my mom for Valentine's Day.  Enjoy the holiday weekend!  Thanks for visiting!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

For My Valentine....

Hi everyone.  I've been working on another Valentine since last week's post.  I tend to find a favorite Cricut cartridge and keep using it, often forgetting the other great carts I have!!  This card again uses the A Child's Year cartridge.  I used a precut square card and had some wonderful 12X12 paper that looks like a giant lace doily.  The wonderful part about this paper is that it also has a beautiful scalloped border.  I was able to use both features when I created this card.  I found a beautiful paper stack at my local Ross store.  If you haven't checked them out for scrapbooking and card making supplies, I definitely recommend that you do!  They don't always have a huge quantity but you can get some pretty good buys.  The paper stack I found is from K&Company and is their Merryweather stack. I got 36 sheets of beautiful double-sided floral cardstock for 3.99.  This paper became the background for my card and I also used it to cut the image of the boy and girl exchanging Valentine's gifts. The image was cut at 1.25 inches. I inked the border with my Copic marker just to help it stand out a little more.  I used adhesive foam squares to create the depth for this card.  I used my Martha Stewart Circle Cutter to create the precise circle layers for the card.  I then used a paper doily, these can be found in the cake baking supplies of your local Hobby Lobby, on top of my cardstock circles.  I finished this card with a jeweled brad from my stash and a pretty sheer bow from RibbonFx.  I think this card turned out perfect for a favorite Valentine.  Have  a wonderful week.  Today, I am enjoying a day home from school due to flooding in our area!!  Ahhh...for me a day of crafting!! Yeah!!    Thanks for visiting!!   Patty

Special Thank You Cards

My husband's grandmother passed away last week.  After a rainy weekend of funeral arrangements, I sat down to make some special thank you cards for some special people.  Some people really go out of their way to help during those difficult times and sometimes those general thank you cards you get at the funeral home just don't say enough.  I used my Jasmine cartridge to create the sentiment for these thank you cards.  The sentiments were cut at 2.5 inches each.  I used some precut cards.  I really liked the ones with the scallop border.  I also really like the paper I used for these cards. It is from Me and My Big Ideas and is part of their specialty cardstock collection. This cardstock has lots of nice effects.  Some of the paper I used had raised flocking.  I used my Martha Stewart butterfly punch to create accents for the cards.  I also had some glittery vellum accents and paper flowers in my stash that I embellished with pearls and sequins to create a nice touch.  I stamped an additional "thank-you" sentiment on the inside of each card to complete this project.  I think the cards turned out perfect!! Thanks for looking and have a great week!    Patty

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I've Got the Bernina Embroidery Machine Back in Operation!

I was having great difficulty over the past few months getting my old Gateway laptop to "play nicely" with my Bernina 440QEE sewing and embroidery machine.  I would load up a design, transfer the design from the computer to the machine, it would stitch a few stitches and then stop midstream.  Uggh!! I was very frustrated, so I resulted in letting the machine collect dust for a couple of months.  However, back in December a friend of mine passed along a great deal on a new laptop.  I got an HP laptop with Windows 8 and lots of memory for a great price.  I took advantage of one of these dreary, rainy, cold days that we have been frequenting here in the South.  I hooked up the machine, installed the software, and hoped for good luck.  The software installed just fine.  I am using version 5 of the Bernina embroidery software.  I hooked the USB cable from the embroidery machine, turned it on, and waited for that wonderful little sound to tell me that the machine had been recognized by the computer...and I waited....and I unplugged and replugged and waited....and NOTHING!!!  I decided not to give up, at this point deciding I was not a fan of Windows 8 either  (why in the world would Microsoft try to change something that worked fine...Windows XP).  I did some research on the internet and found that some Bernina owners were having trouble installing the software on their Windows Vista and 7 machines.  I took the advice provided to these users and checked my list of programs and sure enough there was the culprit.  Apparently the Bernina machines/software do not like the Microsoft Net Framework programs. I had the 1.1 version installed in my programs.  It took some coaxing to uninstall but finally I got it removed.  I hooked up the computer and embroidery unit again and VOILA!! it worked.  I played around with the machine testing some simple one thread color designs to make sure that it was fixed before I attempted any major design work on garments. 

Once I felt confident with the fix, I decided to create a design for a shirt.  Actually, the design was not my own.  I discovered in my email inbox last week that Designs by Sick was having an embroidery design sale.  Each of their design sets was $1.00 each.  I found six packages and quickly downloaded them to my computer.  The first design I decided to play with was one in a cute owl design set.  I received this cute little owl iron-on patch in my Christmas stocking and had put it on a denim shirt shortly after the holidays.  I then decided to take a plain white, long-sleeved t-shirt and coordinate a similar embroidery design.  I modified the colors, found in the original design, to better match those in my iron-on patch.  The design was the "perfect A" grade as suggested by Bernina, but I think it turned out nicely.  What do you think? 

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!!    Patty

Friday, January 4, 2013

Preparing for Valentine's Day

Last year I finally purchased the "A Child's Year" Cricut cartridge.  I've seen many wonderful ideas and projects using this cartridge, especially in the Cricut magazine.  I couldn't wait to try using some of the cuts in my own projects.  One of the first creations I came up with was this Valentine's card.
The image was cut at 3.5 inches.  I used just a little silver Stickles to embellish the heart.  I used my Cuttlebug to emboss the precut card.  I believe the embossing folder is called "Hearts and Swirls".  I adhered everything to the card with some adhesive foam squares.  I like the depth that these raised squares give to the diecuts.  I used a Fiskars punch to create the fancy heart border. I finished the card up with some pretty ribbon from Martha Stewart Crafts.  I think this card will be appropriate for any of my Valentines this year!!  Thanks for viewing!

A Happy Birthday Wish!!

I created the banner for my mother-in-law's birthday party (please see the previous post).  So, with the old-fashioned nature theme in mind, I created a birthday card along the same lines.  I didn't have to use my Cricut or Silhouette machines for this card.  I used some ribbon, paper, and diecuts from my stash, along with some beautiful brads to create this birthday card.  I am pretty sure the paper and embellishments came from DCWV, but the package is long gone!!  In this cold, dreary month, I believe she will love this spring-like card!!  Thanks for visiting!   Patty

A New Year...A New Post!!

Okay...it's been a while and I am very sorry to all of my dedicated followers!!  A tragic death in the family and the loss of two of my beloved Labrador Retrievers sort of crushed my spirit.  But my goal for the new year is to regenerate my blog.  I do love crafting and giving away my creations, so with spirits lifted, here is my first post of the year!!

Tomorrow we are having a 70th birthday party for my mother-in-law.  She is not your typical mother-in-law, she is very sweet and old-fashioned.  So I used my Cricut Storybook cartridge and lots of embellishments from my "stash" to create this wonderful banner for the party.

The letters spell out "HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOROTHY".  I used a combination of floral embellishments because she loves flowers.  I also chose another one of her favorites, birds, to embellish the pennants.  Finally, I added some extra butterflies, bees, and dragonflies to add a little more pizzazz.  I used ribbon from a recent yard sale find.  The ribbon was for Mother's Day, so it has phrases relating to all the wonderful qualities of a mother.  I finished the banner by tying the individual pennants to a strand of jute string. 

 I plan on collecting the banner after the party to use in a birthday memories scrapbook. I think that during the party I will collect handwritten memories from friends, relatives, and neighbors and use those comments to create memorable scrapbook pages.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!! It's back to work for me on Monday :(.      Thanks for visiting!!   Patty