Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Everything In Its Place

I love going thrift shopping and frequently stop into my local Goodwill store to see what treasures I might find.  Loretta taught me a love of thrift shopping and re-purposing vintage items.  One of my favorite things to look for in thrift shops is old silver plate.  You can often find items from vintage tea sets - old tea pots, creamers, sugar bowls, etc.  You can use these items to hold things like buttons, pens and pencils or other craft and sewing supplies.

I like to use the creamers to make pin cushions.  Here is one I made about three years ago.  I use it to hold the stick pins I have been making lately.  Isn't it nice when you have a place for everything and everything is in its place!  This is such a nice way to store and display the stick pins.  I love looking at it.

Next time you see a vintage item like this creamer at the thrift shop - don't pass it by.   Give it a new home and see what you can do with it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Maybe It's Because I am Vintage...

I just love vintage stuff.  Anything that is old and worn and looks well loved is preferable to new in my book.  My husband can't understand why I would prefer something old to something new.  His theory is that since I am getting close to being classified as vintage myself, like gravitates to like.  I won't tell you how I responded to that!

My theory is that it must have been all the years I spent going to garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores and antique malls with Loretta.  she had a good eye and taught me a lot about vintage linens, jewelry and furniture.  I have such fond memories of her telling me stories about things they used in her era (she would always begin her stories with the phrase "In my day').  It was so much fun learning about things like a celery vase (What??? I had no idea there was such a thing). Loretta explained to me that in the Victorian era (a little before Loretta's time), cooks cleaned and scraped raw stalks of celery, then put them in cold water in tall glass vases called celery vases.  I have serveral of these vases in my dining room holding silverware.  Love them!

Being a card maker, I also love vintage postcards.  I don't have a large collection, but I try to pick them up when I see something that appeals to me.  I am especially drawn to the embroidered postcards.  I am going to have to find a way to make something like this myself.  Loretta taught me to embroider a long time ago and I always have a project in progress so I have kept up the skill.  I have been thinking about how I might make something like these embroidered cards.  Wouldn't it be special to receive something like this in the mail?  Or how about this one wishing you a happy new year?  

This one (the last photograph) is a favorite of mine even though it does not have any stitching on it.  I just love the intricate paper frame.  I want to make something like this too!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Loretta always taught me that if you are going to do something, take the time to do it right. I am starting on a Christmas project that involves making 12 drawers and 12 tags (one tag to go in each drawer).

My first attempt at making the drawer was an abysmal failure.  I used the Sizzix Box, Candy Drawer die (#657726) and some chipboard I purchased from Joann.com.  I am not sure, but I think it must have been heavy weight chipboard.  Anyway, my box was too bulky and the drawer would not slide in and out easily. You can see my first attempt in the photo on the left.  I should have tested it first before I painted it since I can't use this version of the box.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again (Loretta would always say this as well).

I did not want to use heavy weight card stock to make the drawers because that would not be sturdy enough to hold up to the repetition of the drawers being pulled out and pushed back in. I rummaged through my stash and found some light weight chipboard my husband brings home from work.  This worked like a charm.  The drawer easily slides in and out.  Yeah! Success!

The photo on the left is of the first finished drawer/box.  The number one was cut from red glittered card stock purchased at Hobby Lobby using the Tim Holtz/Sizzix Word Play die.  The paper covering the box is from the Recollections Bright & Jolly paper pad purchased at Michael's last year.  The knob is a small wooden spool purchased at Hobby Lobby and painted red.  I glued a Christmas themed brad onto the front of the knob to complete the "drawer pull."  The white scalloped trim at the bottom of the box is a Doodlebug Frills border sticker.The holly leaves were purchased at Hobby Lobby last year.

One box down, 11 to go!  I will post a photo of the project once it is complete.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Organized Chaos!

Loretta always taught me that one of the keys to any successful project is organization.  I wonder what she would think of the organized chaos that is my Christmas card making project?

I gathered the supplies for making my cards this year and the pile needed a place to go.  The desk is the logical landing place for it.  There is one small problem with that plan.  The desk is otherwise occupied with my resin embellishments making project.  You can see in the photo to the right that there really is not any room for another project on the desk.

 The process of making these resin embellishments is quite addictive.  On a totally unrelated side note to this post -you can also see in the photo above that I am using some of my Martha Stewart crafts frame molds to make some of these embellishments.  I determined that a 1 3/8 inch circle fits perfectly inside this frame. The image in the frame is from a CD of ephemera I purchased on ebay years ago (there are sellers still offering these CDs for sale on ebay).  I just used a circle cutter to cut out the image in a 1 3/8 inch circle and fitted it in the frame. EASY!  This embellishment will be making its way onto a card soon.

Okay, back to the organized chaos problem.  The project pile did find a temporary home - it is now resting on my floor waiting for the resin project to vacate the desk.  I am not sure when that will happen (I am having too much fun making these embellishments) so the Christmas card making pile might just have to stay where it is.  That means that I will be making my Christmas cards on the floor. At least I am maximizing the use of all the square footage in my craft room.

I think Loretta would not be so impressed with this organized chaos, but all will be well when I get the cards made and remove the pile of chaos from my floor.  By that time another project will have take up residence on my desk.

Does anyone else use their floor as a "project table" as I sometimes do?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Snowflake Embellishments

Loretta always taught me the value of making things myself instead of going out and buying ready made products.  Don't get me wrong- I love to shop for craft supplies and do so as much as the budget will allow.  However, I really love making my own embellishments for cards and projects.

And speaking of embellishments,  I recently took inventory of the supplies I had on hand to make holiday cards.  As we head into November, it is now time (and I really should have started in early October) to start making these holiday cards.  I wanted to use some snowflake embellishments on some of my cards and looked at Michael's and Hobby Lobby, but could not find what I wanted so I started thinking about making my own.

I frequently shop the bakeware aisles at the big box craft stores for fondant molds (the silicone molds used in cake decorating).  I use these molds with resin to make embellishments and so went to these stores in search of a silicone snowflake mold.  Since there were no snowflake molds on offer at the stores, I did a search on the Internet and found this snowflake mold (excuse the fact that my mold pictured at left is a little grungy - I have been churning out resin snowflakes like crazy).  The mold did not get good reviews on Amazon.com because apparently some of the reviewers felt like it was a little shallow for using it with fondant, but it is just fine for resin!

I use this resin that you can purchase at Michael's or Hobby Lobby and likely other places as well, but those are the two places where I have purchased it. I use a coupon to make it more affordable (regular price it is about $13.99 - I purchased a few packages over several days this week with the Michael's 50% off coupons). The resin is really easy to use - just follow the instructions on the package.

I mixed the resin according to the instructions on the package, added in a few drops (two or three) of acrylic paint, mixed it all up with a wooden craft stick and poured it into the mold.  Easy, peasy!

Since the snowflake mold is shallow, the resin sometimes overflowed out of the area of each snowflake on the mold (You can see this in the photo of the filled mold to the right).  I just used a squeegee to level off the resin in each of the snowflake mold areas.  If I had some excess resin on the snowflake after I removed the hardened snowflakes from the mold, I just cut it away with some small nail scissors.

I usually pour the resin into the mold in the morning and leave it to harden overnight.  The snowflakes pop out of the mold very easily.  These photos show a few samples of the snowflakes I have been making. The white ones were made using a few drops of white acrylic paint in the resin and the blue ones were made with an Apple Barrel acrylic paint called "Cloudless."  I mixed two drops of the cloudless color and one drop of white into the resin mixture which resulted in the light ice blue color I wanted to achieve.

I started making cards using these handmade embellishments and was really pleased with the results.  The card pictured below was made using Papertrey Ink rustic white card stock as the card base and Recollections Bright and Jolly patterned paper from a pad purchased at Michael's last year. The Merry Christmas sentiment is from a Hero Arts Holiday Cheer Messages stamp set. The card is a 5 inch by 5 inch square card with the corners rounded using the WR Memory Keepers 1/2 inch corner chomper.

The snowflakes were also brushed with mod podge and sprinkled with clear fairy dust glitter by Donna Salazar.

Making these snowflake embellishments is so much fun.  I know Loretta is smiling down at me as I make my own instead of buying them.  This type of resourcefulness is definitely something she taught me the value of.