Jan 262011

Why do I have a photo of my workdesk posted on the blog?

Because it’s “What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday,” that’s why!

To learn more about it, go here.  It’s kinda fun to see what other bloggers have going on midweek.

This week my desk area is loaded with unfinished projects.  I think I need to spend less time on the computer and more time crafting!


Jan 262011

I received a phone call a while back from a young lady who had spent three years with the Peace Corps in Tanzania.  She had had to leave suddenly, and the only souvenirs of her time consisted of several t-shirts and some pieces of Tanzanian fabric.  Could I use these to make her a memory quilt?

It was quite a design challenge, let me tell you!  What I finally came up with was to frame each t-shirt panel with the Tanzanian fabrics, and added black borders to set everything off.

tshirts from africa quilt

The bottom center panel is an embroidered purse that she’d carried with her everywhere and it contained a LOT of memories.  But the thing was terribly ratty and falling apart.  What I did was to fuse it to interfacing, and then carefully hand baste fine tulle over the whole thing.  Now there will be no more abrading to further deteriorate it.

She had many special requests that I was happy to accommodate: embroidering  names & dates, appliqueing bits and pieces from the sleeves and backs.

The final result was something she was utterly thrilled with.  (Wished I’d taken a clearer picture!)

Jan 242011

Have I mentioned that I love all things Tim Holtz(Maybe once or twice, lol.) Last fall I got to take not one, but TWO classes with him.  It was a blast, and a highlight of my year.

I’ve already posted one of the projects we made, the Christmas Configuration.  The other was this book made of grungeboard, which I LOVE so much, it’s been sitting out in my craft room as decor.  One of these days I may put photos in it, but I think it’s fantastic just as it is.

tim holtz grunge book class cover bird cage alterations

The front & back covers and all of the pages are made of Grungeboard(This link leads to a pack of 10 sheets which will make the entire book, with 2 sheets left over.)   The pages were embossed with a variety of embossing folders, including the Swirls Textured Fades Embossing Folder(You can see this one on the magenta page on the left, below.)

tim holtz grunge book class distress ink

One side edge of each page was cut with a Sizzix Alterations on the edge die.  My favorite of these is the Scallops On The Edge Die(Used on the green and magenta pages below the cover.) The Bracket On The Edge Die is also great, it’s not too busy and works well for manly or feminine uses.  (Used on the turquoise and mustard pages.) The Scrollwork On The Edge Die is used on the cover.  (I own that one, too, it’s quite fancy and nice for girly pages and cards.)

The first step in making our pages (once they were cut to right length) was to paint them all with paint dabbers.  I tell ya, if you haven’t tried them, you need to, paint dabbers are terrific!  Instead of having to get out paint, paintbrushes and a dish for the paint, you simply pick up a paint dabber, give it a squeeze and use it like a marker.  No mess and so easy!

Some of the colors we used:

Pitch Black Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Pearl Adirondack Metallic Paint Dabber 1 Oz.
Lettuce Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Cranberry Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Espresso Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Red Pepper Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Bottle Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Denim Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Stream Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Eggplant Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers

 Tim warned us while we were painting to only put on one thin coat of paint, or we would regret it.  You see, the next step after the paint dried was to use the Sanding Grip and sand the paint off the raised areas and the edges of the pages, exposing the raw grungeboard.

To give them a wonderfully distressed and aged look (and quite change the colors) we then inked our pages with Distress Inks.  The paint resisted the ink, but the exposed grungeboard took it, resulting in awesome looking pages.  You can see this page below was painted with a Lettuce Paint Dabber, sanded, then inked with Faded Jeans Distress Ink . It was great fun trying out different combinations of paint and ink colors! (After you apply the ink, use a damp paper towel to wipe the excess off the painted areas.)

tim holtz grunge book class distress dyed silk ribbon

 For additional pages we make little pockets out of Tim’s Lost & Found Paper Stack.  I asked Tim where he got all these images (license plates, game pieces, and bottle caps, to name a few, all vintage) and he told me that he owns all of it!  It all gets laid out and then scanned to make the paper.  That is ONE serious collection.  Wow.

We also got tags to ink and bind into our books.  They were embossed with several different embossing folders, including, Tim Holtz Rays & Retro Circles Sizzix Textured Fades Embossing Folders , the Tim Holtz Bingo & Patchwork Sizzix Textured Fades Embossing Folders , Tim Holtz Damask & Regal Flourishes Sizzix Texture Fades Embossing Folders and the Tim Holtz Bricked & Woodgrain Sizzix Texture Fades Embossing Folders. (The Bingo folder is used on the tag above, the Patchwork folder on the tag below.) 

tim holtz grunge book class embossed tag

 We also colored the silk ribbon from the Lavish Trimmings set.  (It started out white.) First it got dipped in water, then wrung out so it was just damp.  Then we swiped a variety of distress ink colors over the ribbon, crumpled it in a ball and set it aside to dry.  Once it had dried the colors had transferred and bled from different areas and it was just gorgeous!  This one yard piece got snipped into seven pieces and tied to our tags.  Yummy.

We used the Cinch Book Bindery Tool to put everything together (a very cool machine, I think I gotta get me one) and then got to decorate the cover.

tim holtz grunge book class gears flourishes

The cover was decorated with grungeboard cut with the Tattered Florals Bigz DieHardware Findings Bigz Die, Gadget Gears Bigz Die, Elegant Flourishes Bigz Die, and the Caged Bird Bigz Die.  These were all painted with paint dabbers, sanded, scratched with the Craft Scratcher, then inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink and Walnut Stain Distress Ink.

tim holtz grunge book alterations bird cage dangles

As finishing touches, we hung crystals on the bird cage (you could use Baubles,) glued Accountrements to the flower centers and used a Swivel Clasp to hang Adornments, Type Charms, and Muse Tokens from the spine.


tim holtz grunge book class tattered florals

If any of you would like complete directions, including a supply list, all dimensions, all techniques and how to assemble the covers, leave me a comment and let me know and I’ll get it right out to you.

Jan 222011

When my oldest son graduated from Marine Corps boot camp, all of us (plus a family friend) drove down to South Carolina to be there.  (AND to bring him home with us afterwards!)

These scrapbook pages show the pin ceremony that happened the day before the actual graduation.  You might be able to tell that I’m just a little bit happy to see him!  (It had been over 13 weeks since he left.)

pin-ceremony scrapbook page right

Here’s what the journaling says:

 “At noon on Thursday we headed to the facility for the pin ceremony.  At this ceremony the recruits would receive their Eagle Globe Anchor pins and be called Marines for the first time.  Since it was overcast and looking like rain, it was held inside.  This was a bummer as there were a lot of drills the guys had practiced and there wasn’t room for them to do them indoors.  It was impressive however, to hear 300 young men shouting the Marine Corps Hymn.  (“From the Halls of Montezuma…”)

After the ceremony was over it was mayhem as all the family members streamed down from the bleachers and tried to find their new Marines. We finally did locate Josh and couldn’t have been more proud.”

pin-ceremony scrapbook page left

The snaps are by Making Memories and I found the Eagle Globe Anchor brads here.  I punch a small circle and then punched a smaller circle out of that to make a way to spotlight where Josh was in formation.

The photo corners are chipboard that I painted with Peeled Paint Distress Crackle Paint  and then edged with
Brushed Pewter Metallic Distress Crackle Paint . To make them look a bit more “real” I highlighted portions of the stickers along the right with Glossy Accents.

pin-ceremony two page scrapbook layout

Jan 192011

If you’re a scrapbooker, cardmaker or a crafter of any sort, I challenge you to save your plastic packaging and see what you can come up with.  The possibilities are really endless:  ink with alcohol inks, embossing, sanding, or use as a window in a card.  You could even try applying heat, and get some interesting melty effects, (for this you should be very careful to have excellent ventilation.)

Here’s a really cool card that I made with the clear packaging that my Sizzix Big Kick embossing machine came in:

thinking inking thank you card with inked flowers

First I cut the plastic to the size of a standard card, 5.5″ x 8.5″ and then embossed it using the Sizzix Cuttlebug A2 Embossing Folder, D’vine Swirls. This was heavy plastic, and it took a little muscle to get it through the machine.  Try experimenting with plastics from various packaging.  Some will turn frosted at the embossing, which is another great look.

Next it was time to score along the fold line, just firmly enough to make the card fold.  If you crease too hard, you may cause the plastic to crack along the line.  It might take some experimenting with what you have.

When cutting the paper strips for decoration, keep in mind that you’ll need four.  One for the front of the card, one for the inside, so you’ll have someplace to write a greeting and sign, and the others  will go behind the first two (so, one on the inside of the card, behind the front decoration, and on the back of the card, behind the greeting/signature.)  This will cover up any adhesive and give a professional, finished look.

To make the flowers, I covered Grunge paper with book paper, inked with a variety of distress inks and then cut out with the Sizzix Flower Charms #2 die.  The shine you see is because I used a gloss finish Mod Podge to decoupage the papers.  I think I would have preferred a Matte Finish, but gloss is what I had. 

Have fun making something wonderful out of what would have been thrown away!

A few of the products used:

Broken China Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Faded jeans Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Peeled Paint Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Shabby Shutters Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Dusty Concord Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Fired Brick Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Tumbled Glass Tim Holtz Distress Inks

Wild Honey Tim Holtz Distress Inks
Spiced Marmalade Tim Holtz Distress Ink 
Glue Dots 3/8-Inch Memory Dot Roll, 300-Clear Dots
Scallop Punch: Scallop Sentiment Border Punch(Fiskars)


Jan 142011

Here’s a great little project you can make in next to no time.  In fact, I made three in just a couple hours.  It’s called a mobius or infinity scarf because it has a that single twist, just like a mobius strip.

Here’s mine.  I love wearing it with this jacket because the jacket is collarless and my neck gets cold (and I’m not fond of turtlenecks.)  The scarf is wrapped around twice in this photo.


If you want to make one, you’ll need a 2 yard long by 20″ piece of fabric.  If you’re buying yardage, you can get two out of 40″ wide or three out of 60″ wide.

Here’s how I did it.  You can also find a short tutorial here.

If you have 40″ fabric, fold it in half,  meeting selvedges and cut on the fold to get two pieces for your two scarves.

Here’s how I laid out the cutting for my 60″ piece.  I first folded it in half, meeting the selvedges.  Then I folded the two yard length in half twice, so the 18″ would fit on my cutting table and I could cut the whole length with one cut.


Line up the fold at 0″ and then cut at 10″ and again at 30″.  (I didn’t bother to cut off the selvedges because I used my serger to sew the first seam.)


Now you have three pieces with only one cut!

Next, you need to fold each piece lengthwise and sew the 2 yard seam, making a long tube.


Here, I’m letting the serger cut off the selvedges for me.


This is the part that gets some folks confused.  You’re going to sew together the two ends of the tube, but with a twist.  To make this easier, follow the directions in the photo above.  (Fold the tube in half, with the seam on one fold.  Pin mark the fold on the opposite side.)  Do this for both ends of the scarf.

Next you’ll pull one end of the scarf up over the rest of it.


This photo shows pulling the tube up over a twist, but you don’t need to bother with the twist now.  Just pull it up over itself until the two ends meet.  Meet the pin on one end to the seam of the other, meet the remaining pin to the remaining seam.  The automatically builds in the twist. Now sew all the way around, leaving an opening for turning. (Sorry about the blurry photo!  I’m usually having so much fun sewing I don’t slow down to check that my photos are clear.  Gotta work on that.)


Now pull your scarf out through the opening.  (I think this is the fun part.)


Hand sew the opening closed and enjoy your new creation!

I made mine from a polyester stretch velvet, but consider the possibilities:  chiffon for an evening scarf, sweater knit for something really warm and cozy,  fun fleece prints for the teens or little ones .  I even saw a suggestion for using two old sweater arms.  Hmmmm . . .

Whatever you decide to use, have fun!  And be sure to send me pictures!

Jan 132011

My bible study group asked me to make a card for one of our members who wasn’t doing so well health-wise. This was what I came up with:masculine get well card

It can be tricky making masculine cards, but I think this one came out great.  I love the look of the torn fabric strip instead of ribbon.  Next time you don’t have just the right ribbon, if you have a fabric stash, dig around in it.  You may find just the perfect thing!

Edging all the papers with just a bit of Vintage Photo Tim Holtz Distress Ink helps to add to the masculine look.

I used the Spellbinders Nestabilities Mega Dies, Labels 8 and stamped the sentiment on the smaller one with Black StazOn Permanent Ink.  The “Get Well Soon” stamp is from Wordsmith.   A little depth was added by using Squares Foam Tabs behind the smaller label.

The flourish in the upper left is from Tim Holtz Visual Artistry Collection Stampers Anonymous Clear Stamps – Urban Grunge.  I stamped it using the Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pad, Clear For Embossing and then embossed with Antique Linen Distress Embossing Powder.

The blue checked paper is from a mat stack that I purchased ages ago.  Sorry, but the cover has long since gone missing.  The stripe and world map papers are from MemoryStor (This was in a 12″x12″ paper pack with tote at Costco.  At $20 for 300 double sided sheets, plus the tote, it seemed financially irresponsible NOT to buy it, lol.)

The button was from a pack by Making Memories, called Vintage Findings.

And I have to share the stamp I used for the inside sentiment:


I just love this sentiment because  you can use it for so many occasions: encouragement, get well, sympathy, birthdays, weddings . . . I can’t think of a time where it wouldn’t be appropriate.  It’s the Stampendous Rubber Stamp-Shine On You.

I hope this card gives our friend a bit encouragement when he receives it.  🙂

Dec 312010

Happy New Year to you all! 

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of you who have read my blog and told me how much you enjoy it.  May we all continue to learn and grow in the new year.

As Christmas gifts for my quilting group I  made several of these cute little organizers.  Finally, this week I got around to making one for me.

mug caddy organizer-Simplicity 2450

It’s simply a cover with pockets that goes over a mug.  I was able to pick up the mugs for 49 cents each at my local Salvation Army.

Although the pattern says you need 1/2 yard, you really only need two 10.5″x11″ pieces of fabric (I managed to squeeze mine out of a fat quarter), plus a 3″ x 19″ piece for the outer pocket.  You can get two of these mug covers out of one package of extra wide double fold bias tape.


The pattern is Simplicity 2450.  Although I thought the pattern was really cute, the directions were somewhat lacking.  Here are some tips to help you:

Step 1: Cut out pattern 2 times in main fabric and once in fusible fleece.  Fuse fleece to wrong side of one fabric piece, layer other fabric piece over fleece, right side out, and baste around all edges. (The fusing and basting really help to keep things from shifting around.)


Step 2:  There are stitching lines for the pockets on both ends of this unit.  One set goes on one side, and one on the other.  You’ll see why later.

To mark these I folded back the pattern at the edges of the lines, laid it on the fabric and used a ruler to line up my marks.


(Sorry about the blurry photo!)

Here they are, all marked:


You’ll also need to mark the stitching lines on your outer pocket piece.  The pattern envelop suggests you use plastic mesh or pet screen.  The directions inside mention using clear vinyl.

What I ended up using was called “scrubbie mesh.”  (I guess folks are making their own scrubbies?)  I like the idea of using this because, a) It won’t collect dust in the corners and, b) I can see what’s in there rather than losing things in the bottom of the pockets.

Step 3: Bind the straight edges of both pieces with double fold extra wide bias tape.


Step 4:Fold the inside pocket section up on the fold line. aligning raw edges, and stitch on the marked lines to make your inside pockets.  Make sure to backstitch securely at the top edges of the pockets, as these will receive a lot of wear and tear.


Step 5:Pin the outer pocket section, aligning the marked lines.  Stitch on the marked lines, again, making sure to backstitch securely at the top of each pocket.


Step 6: Pin a pleat into excess fabric at bottom of each pocket.  Pin sides of pocket section, matching raw edges.  Baste along entire outer pocket section.


Step 7:  Baste velcro pieces on side opposite pockets.  Make sure to have one piece with loops up and other with hooks down.  (Very important!)


Step 8: Bind remaining raw edges with bias tape, folding under ends at beginning and end.  (Don’t worry if the ends don’t come out too neat, they will be hidden inside the mug. )


That’s it, all done!  Now you just tuck the narrower section inside the mug, attach the velcro pieces under the handle and you’re ready to be more organized.

If you like this project, but think you might want it to be bigger, check out Simplicity 4232.  This will make covers for five gallon and five quart buckets.

Simplicity 4232 bucket buddy pattern

Here’s to a more organized New Year!

Dec 242010

I just received this today.  May you find it edifiying.

Hanging a Wreath at Christmas

Since I have come to know God’s love
          I’ll think a little more
          When hanging up the festive wreath
          Of holly on my door.

I see in it a crown of thorns
          Placed on my Savior’s brow
          That I may have the gift of life;
          What meaning it has now!

The thorns are there–so needle sharp;
          The berries, too, are red
          Not too unlike the precious blood
          That on the cross was shed.

I’ll hang with prayer this holly wreath
          For all the world to see;
          Perchance, the lonely passerby
          Will feel God’s love through me.

Within our homes, let there be love
          “And peace on earth to men,”
          As we remember in our hearts
          The Babe of Bethlehem.

Received from Scott Neville.

Dec 202010

Today it’s time for my annual tradition of baking plates of goodies for the neighbors.  Every year around December 1st I say, “No way, I’m not doing all that baking this year.”  But then, once I’ve got the house decorated, the presents all bought or made & wrapped, it just seems like the thing to do.

Here’s my kitchen table all filled with sweet treats ready to be delivered.  I usually just buy pretty paper Christmas plates, cover with lengths of plastic wrap and tie on a ribbon bow.  Easy enough!


Here’s a plate of  my snickerdoodles.  Were they supposed to spread that much?  I didn’t think so, but they’re still yummy.


Here’s a close up of the tags I made.  I used the Sizzix Scallop Tag set (red die).


To got the printing perfectly lined up with each tag I first scanned the die into my computer, then imported the image into Printmaster – Platinum Version 18  .  I sized the image to be exactly the same as the die, then made text boxes to fit the tags.  I drew a box around the outside edge of the die and then deleted the original image.  Now I have a perfectly sized template.

You can fit four of these (with a little overlap) on one 8.5″ x 11″ sheet.  Just make sure to carefully cut on the lines on at least two sides, line them up with the edges of your die and cut away.

Hope you have time to enjoy some holiday baking.