Dec 152008

Last week the kit to make this set arrived in the mail. I loved the colors and just HAD to keep it. It wasn’t like I needed any more decor, or yet another project . . .

This worked up so quickly, I think I need to make at least one more set in purples, blues and greens for my winter decor.   Oh, the possibilities!

beaded candle ring

The process to make these napkin and candle rings is much simpler than it looks.  Here are the basic steps:

1.  Start with fine beading wire (somewhere around 30 gauge is good) and string a length of 10-15 mm beads that will fit around your candle.

2.  Thread the wire ends through several beads and wrap the tails to secure. Trim excess.

3.  Now take a fairly long length of wire (start with around 36″, you’ll be using it up quick) and wrap one end anywhere on the beaded ring to  start.

beaded candle ring close up

4.  Have a variety of shapes and colors of  smaller beads ready to go.  Leaves, flowers, rounds, bicones, whatever,  just have several different types.

5.  String any bead onto the wire leaving 1/2″ to 1″ of wire slack.

6.  Begin twisting the wire slack to secure bead in place.  (Note:  If you have beads like leaves or flowers that want to flop over, try inserting the wire through the bead a second time to hold it in place.)

7.  Repeat steps 5 and 6 several times with various sizes and shapes of beads to create a bead cluster. (That’s it!  String on a bead, twist, repeat.)

8.  Start next cluster by wrapping wire between next two large beads.  (You do NOT need to cut the wire between clusters.)

beaded candle ring for Christmas

9.  Repeat steps 5-8 working around candle ring.  When more wire is needed, repeat step 3.

10.  To end, wrap wire twice between two beads to secure.  Trim excess.

To make napkin rings, just start with a smaller ring of beads.

Dec 052008

This frame was TOO much fun to make.  I made a similar one for my mom, shoulda taken a picture, I know.

alcohol ink embossed photo frame

You’ll never guess what was used.  Alcohol inks and foil tape! (You know, the stuff for wrapping pipes.)  The raised areas were made from paper cut outs and glued to the frame under the tape.  Rolling over the tape with a brayer made the embossing.

I just love cool techniques.

P.S.  On Tim Holtz’s video, An Altered Journey, he gives terrific step-by-step directions for how to do this. I highly recommend it.

Update:  December 10, 2009 – You’ll find Tim’s excellent directions for this technique on his blog, in his day 10.  Enjoy!



Ranger Adirondack Alcohol Ink, Cranberry
Ranger 1/2 Ounce Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles, Raisin
Ranger 1/2 Ounce Adirondack Alcohol Ink Singles, Wild Plum
Black StazOn Permanent Ink (You dab the StazOn onto the raised portions and then quickly wipe it off, this removes the alcohol ink from those parts only!)
Paper Punches & Die Cuts:
Small Butterfly Lever Punch by Fiskars
Small Flower Punch – All Night Media
Sizzix Sizzlets Alphabet set – Bounce
Scotch Foil Tape, Silver 2″ Wide
5″ square unfinished wood picture frame (A.C. Moore)
Brayer Set (Inkadinkadoo)

Dec 012008

What else is a new grandma to do for her granddaughter’s first Christmas except make her a dolly?

raggedy ann doll and wooden cradle

Traditionally Raggedy Ann has red hair, red & white striped socks, black shoes and a red or blue calico dress, but I love these non-traditional colors.

There are some special fabrics included. The apron is made from a petticoat I used to wear, the pink rick-rack is from her great-grandma Huntress’ sewing stash, and her dress is a piece of fabric leftover from her cousin’s butterfly quilt.

And, of course, grandpa had to get in on the act by making a cradle, complete with hand-cut dovetails.

baby's first christmas ornament

Grandma also decided that it was very important for Cadence to have a handmade “baby’s first Christmas” ornament. My grandma (Cady’s great-great grandma) made the braided ribbon trim on the ornament.  Kinda neat, I think. So much pink & purple, so much fun!

baby's first christmas ornament

If  you’d like to make an ornament like this, it’s very easy.  You could make them for just about any theme imaginable, new baby, first Christmas together, sports teams, favorite hobbies . . . Here are some general guidelines:

1.  Cover a 4″ foam ball with a layer of batting.

2.  Run a row of gathering stitches around the edge of a 13″ circle of fabric.

3.  Insert the ball into the fabric circle and pull the gathers up tight.  Hot gathers glue in place.

4.  Add whatever decorations you’d like to the ball.  I used my inkjet printer to print “Cadence’s 1st Christmas 2008” onto sanded shrink plastic.  I cut out the oval shape and then shrank it with a heat gun.  Then I trimmed this with rat tail cord and ribbon roses.

5.  Starting at the gathered section, glue lengths of ribbon all around the ball.  I left mine long to begin with and trimmed them later.

6.  Cover the raw edges of the gathers with ribbon trim, small toys, whatever you like.  Make sure to add a hanging loop!

7.  Add small charms to the ribbons.  I used more images that were printed onto shrink plastic, punched out with paper punches and shrunk. Trim the ends of the ribbons on the diagonal.

Have fun, and don’t forget to share what you’ve made!


Nov 082008

Occasionally I teach sewing classes at a local fabric store.  This was a fun pattern we made one Saturday.  The bias trim and metal rings add just the right touch.

blue and yellow sunflower fabric purse

If you’d like to give it a try, the pattern and directions for this bag can be found in the June/July 2008 issue of Threads magazine.

red and purple jungle print fabric purse

Would you believe that this jungle fabric was once a shirt dress I wore all the time?  My, how times have changed.

Once upon a closet purging I discovered said shirtdress and knew I’d never wear it again.  But I still loved the fabric, so I saved it.  I think it works much better in a bag.  *****grin*****



Oct 072008
Have you ever made a bottle block? They’re so easy: Take a rectangle of fabric, add black triangles to each corner, add a lid and, there you go, a bottle. Now take lots of bright, happy bug fabrics and you have the cutest gift for a little boy.
bug bottle quilt

I made my son Dan one of these quilts a few years ago (it’s now in shreds, guess he loved it.) I had all these fabrics leftover and had a grand ol’ time putting this one together. Of course, the most work is everybody’s favorite part, appliqueing all the escaped bugs.

This one was made for the daughter of a friend who is expecting her first baby very soon now. Hope he loves it to pieces!

Feb 202008

This pattern is called “Crack the Whip” and, like the Palm Branch quilt I mentioned yesterday, is also paper-pieced.  However, I made it myself and didn’t annoy or frustrate anyone else with the project.  I finished this little wallhanging in January of last year, put it away and was delighted to rediscover it this year.

The pattern is by MH Designs.  I’ve put together several of their paper pieced patterns.  Each one is always a fun little project that’s done up quickly.   This wallhanging is about 14″x20″.

crack the whip penguins-paper pieced quilted wallhanging

Feb 192008

This was a project my quilting group worked on. The pattern is called Palm Branch and it’s paper-pieced.  I designed  the pattern using the block library in my Electric Quilt Design Software.  It was so complicated I think they were all mad at me by the time we finally finished the thing.

palm branch paper pieced quilt

Sorry guys, it seemed a lot easier when I first looked at it!

palm branch quilt close up