Friday, March 24, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Girly Elephant

I painted her toenails pink!

The next square in my granddaughter's quilt.


I've made some changes to the quilt. The blue squares never looked quite right to me, so I found another yellow and another pink to substitute. There are still lots of steps left that I'm unsure about, but I'll figure it out as I go along.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

And So Begins Easter

I'm getting ready to create an Easter wreath.


I'm inspired by a wreath from Pier 1. Thirty-five dollars? I don't think so! My supplies cost $16.


Monday, March 20, 2017

A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican


His beak can hold more than his belly can.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week!
But I'll be darned if I know how the hellican?
― Dixon Lanier Merritt

This was one of my favorite poems that my mom taught me when I was a kid. Now Julie can teach it to her daughter.

I've returned to embroidering my granddaughter's quilt.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Mama to Be

Dale and I drove down to Moscow, Idaho yesterday. I got to attend our daughter Julie's baby shower, put on by a very nice group of her friends. Daughter Jodie drove all the way to Moscow from Springfield, Oregon to share in the joy. What a lovely day.

Jodie took this photo of me with the baby mama. Love it.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Seeds & Poop

My daughter Jeanne sent me photos!

The seeds are Jelly Belly jellybeans in all the rainbow colors


The poop are Kraft Jet-Puffed Fun Mallows in the tutti fruity colors. They're cute, but they taste bad. I picked out the green marshmallows for the poop.


Poop. I'm classy.

---


Rainbow Seeds inspired by Crafting Chicks:



Leprechaun Poop inspired by The Exhausted Mom:


Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Cards

So here's where several of the pieces come together -- in individualized cards for my daughters, my aunt, and my good friend.

I started with white card blanks. Using the green acrylic paint and a pencil eraser, I made polka dots all over the front of the card, and in a "frame" on the inside of the card.

Jeanne

Next, I cut some slits in the card front and slid the toothpicks holding the leprechauns in place. Those toothpicks were covered up by the coffee filter shamrocks. Then I tied a small bow from light green satin ribbon and adhered it onto the shamrock stem.

Jeff and Julie

On the inside, I used double-sided tape to adhere the sentiment to the card, centering it within the polka dot frame I made. (Sorry, no photo of that).



On the cards I made for my aunt and friend, I didn't have photos of them I could work with. So I made two extra leprechauns with my face that I used on their cards.

Jodie and Ken

I made a care package for my daughters that included these cards, a couple holiday pencils, a crocheted shamrock that I turned into a lapel pin, a package of "Rainbow Seeds," and a package of "Leprechaun Poop." These were wrapped in green tissue with the chenille stem "Lucky" gift tags.

I can't believe this, but I forgot to take photos of the Rainbow Seeds and Leprechaun Poop! Ack! Maybe my daughters can send me snapshots if they still have the packaging. They turned out really cute.

This was a lot of fun projects. I heard back from the recipients, and they all got a good laugh, as I'd hoped.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Leprechaun Family

Of all the crafts I did for St. Patrick's Day this year, this is my favorite.
A family of dancing leprechauns made from bumpy chenille stems.


Mom and Dad


Jeanne


Julie and Jeff


Jodie and Ken


Tomorrow, I'll show you how I used them.

---

Inspired by Skip to my Lou


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Gift (Tag) For You

I made some special cards and care packages for a few of my favorite people. I learned yesterday that they were received, so over the next few days I'll show what I included.

For my three daughters, I sent the care packages. I wrapped the gifts in tissue paper, and included this gift tag on the outside.


Very simple. I used some of the tags I made last May. Then I formed a four-leaf clover from a chenille stem and hot-glued it to the front. I wrote "Lucky!" with a green felt marker. I put their names on the back.

I'm pressed for time today, so this will have to do for now. More St. Patty's day crafts to come this week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Finally!

There's still a pond of ice in the backyard. The weather is wet. The ground is soggy. My brain is still winter groggy.

But look what popped up amid the dead pine needles by the front door! Our very first crocus buds!


The good news is that I see many of our other bulbs have leaves beginning to form.
:: happy sigh ::

Jeanne and I even went out on the town and found the first geocache of the year today. It was one we were unable to locate last year. Hooray for the change of seasons!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Dreams

I spent the day reading a book today. The author quoted this:


It's time for me to remember some of my old dreams for my life. I can look at them, see if any bits want to be picked up again, then build some new dreams from the remnants.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Kiss Me!

I made another set of frames for our mantle for St. Patrick's Day. I liked the ones I made for Fall and Noel so much that I decided to make some more. I was laughing with Dale that most folks with five frames for this holiday would probably spell out "LUCKY." Not me. Huh.


I didn't take any photos while making this. But the process was pretty easy.

  1. I painted 4" wooden letters with green acrylic paint. The letters and paint were bought at Walmart. Note that the "K" was too wide, so I had to trim down two of the serifs so the letter would fit in the frame.

    Also, this time, instead of trying to use spray paint (that didn't work so well with "FALL," or a paintbrush like I did with "NOEL," I got a disposable mini paint roller/paint tray combo at the Dollar Tree. It's not good quality, but it did the job really really well. It was much easier to use a roller than a brush, and it did a fantastic job with coverage. Bonus: when the painting was done, clean-up was a breeze because I could throw the tools away.
     
  2. I bought 5 black 5" x 7" at the Dollar Tree. I'd planned to use gold frames I already had, but the gold glitter background and the gold frames clashed. So I bought the black frames instead.
     
  3. I placed some gold glitter Fun Foam in the frame behind the glass and replaced the back of the frame. I found the glitter Fun Foam at Walmart.
     
  4. I glued the wood letters to the glass. I used a spacer (made from a piece of scrap paper) at the bottom of the frame so that I could get the placement of the letters centered correctly before gluing them in place.
     
  5. I couldn't find any half-size wood letters, so had to try a couple ideas before I his upon this solution for "ME." I found a font on my computer that matched the font of the wood letters pretty well. I printed out the word "ME" in a few sizes to see which would work the best. Once I decided on the proper size, I carefully cut the letters out of the paper with sharp pointy scissors.

    I used a piece of sticky-back green Fun Foam for "ME." I traced the letters on the back of the Fun Foam, making sure that they were reversed (mirror image). Then I cut the letters out of the foam, removed the backing, and pressed them into place on the glass of the last frame. I added a little dancing leprechaun sticker next to the "E. The sticker was also from the Dollar Tree.
     
  6. Before setting the frames on the mantle, I covered the mantle with some green fabric and some felt so the frames won't scratch the wood.

I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out. It was especially serendipitous that the green Fun Foam matched the green paint so well. From a distance, it's hard to tell that some of the letters are wood and others are Fun Foam. Better yet, if I want to make more of these frames for other holidays or seasons, I know I can now use Fun Foam instead of wood letters and the project will cost even less money.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

St. Patrick's Wreath

My original title for this is
The 30 Minute Easy as Heck Over-the-Top St. Patrick's Day Wreath


But it was too long for the title bar. It's actually going to take me far longer to photograph, photo edit, write, post this blog post, and clean up all the glitter than it took to make the silly thing.

I started out with a 10 inch foam wreath form and covered it by wrapping green crepe paper streamers around it.


Then I took a couple packages of these glittery foam shamrock shapes from the Dollar Tree and pinned them to the wreath form with straight sewing pins, alternating the light and dark colored shamrocks. I pinned these in two rows.


It was OK, but I wanted it BIGGER. So I dug into my lace stash and found this six inch wide cotton eyelet lace. I pinned it in ruffles around the back of the wreath.


Then I took this 2.5 inch wide gold-with-gold-glitter-flecks ribbon and formed a bow. I tied it onto the wreath with a thinner gold ribbon.


I added a hanger on the back made of floral wire, pinned to the wreath with floral pins. Then I climbed up on the hearth to hang the wreath over the mantle.

The final size is approximately 18 inches in diameter. This really is a flamboyant wreath. It makes me laugh. It's hanging on the bricks calling out, "Hello, world!"

One nice thing about this wreath is that it will be as easy to take apart as it was to put together and all the components can be reused. It will add a splash of color to our bleak winter for a week, though. There's still ice covering a good portion of the backyard, but we're beginning to hear birdsong and see some sprouting bulbs now.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Sneak Peek

I spent most of the day in my Studio today. I completed two-and-a-half projects. Here's a sneak peek at the third project in progress.


It involves coffee filters, markers, and a spray of water. The technique is one used in lots of preschools, but it's the first I ever tried it. I can imagine lots of possibilities for future use. For now, I have some shamrocks ready to complete a craft.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

With a Little Luck

Over the years, St. Patrick's Day is not a holiday I've celebrated much. After all, our family's ancestors are from Germany, Italy, and a mix of eastern European countries. The most I've done is wear a little green to keep from getting pinched or dress up for a fun photo. I had a total of four small decorative items. So I thought I'd do something about that this year and make a few more decorations.

First, I framed three of the four items I had on hand, each of which I made over the years. Because they are so small, none of them made much of an impact on their own. So I grabbed a frame from my stash, some scrapbook paper, and some glue dots and put them all in one place.


The Irish beaded counted thread ornament called Little Bit o' Blarney from the Sweetheart Tree that I stitched in 2006.


The leprechaun made from a wooden clothespin I made in 2014.


The cross-stitch Luck pin I made in 2004.


This combo piece will join other decor I made to decorate the living room mantle. I'll share other decor in the coming days. In addition, I've also been crafting some special gifts for the young leprechauns in my life. I hope to get all the goodies finished so I can mail them this weekend, and will share the surprises after the gifts have been received. After all, St. Patrick's day is only six days away!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Card

I wrote a nice long letter to a friend today, then decided to send it with a handcrafted card. I found some inspiration on Pinterest.


I used a standard card blank. The border is washi tape. The shamrock is composed of three heart shapes cut from glitter cardstock. The stem is drawn on with permanent marker. The center is a puffy dot sticker.

The inside of the card is from a free downloadable image.



---


Outside of the card is inspired by Brian King of Stamp with Brian


The inside of the card is inspired by Cristy of Pretty My Party


Monday, March 6, 2017

Jelly Belly Season

It's nearly that time of year ...
bunnies ... flowers ... eggs ... baskets full of jelly beans


I'm a snob. This is the only brand I'll eat.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reflection or Shadow?

When I posted the photo of my new rainbow wind spinner last week, a friend asked if it reflected a rainbow onto the side of my house. I wasn't sure then.


Now I am.
It's just a shadow. Pretty neat looking shadow, though.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Watching for Spring

Winter is lingering here in the northwest. It's been only in the last week that the afternoons are warm enough and bright enough that I've been able to go outside for a short walk. I'm still dodging ice and gravel and cars on the streets, but it's doing my soul some good to get a bit of fresh air.

Today I grabbed my camera on the way out the door. I didn't have any particular photo in mind, but I figured I could follow the light and see where it landed. 


Quite a few neighborhood dogs seemed happy to be let outside to play. They barked and wagged their tails as I walked past. This pretty lad stood, front paws on the hurricane fence, to bark a hello, then turned to enjoy the breeze on his face.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

My Success

I went down to my Studio this afternoon to set to work on one of my next projects. First on the list? Try, for the third time, to alter the sleeves on one of my tops. I like the top, but the sleeves didn't fit me well, even though I tried twice before to alter them while still holding onto the original design elements. This time, I cut off the design elements and hemmed them into short sleeves. The shirt finally fits great.

Check that one off the list.

Next, I intended to put some new pockets in my old coat. But I got sidetracked. Instead, I attempted a little pattern drafting.


photo from http://sewbeautifulmag.blogspot.com

Let me back up a little. Bear with me. This is my web brain taking bits and pieces from different sources and coming up with my own amalgam.

I've been voraciously watching YouTube videos lately. Besides the usual videos that flood my mind with politics and craft ideas, I've wandered into videos about minimalism & decluttering & downsizing, videos about the skill of the artisans who bring couture clothing designs to life, and videos about taking thrift store items and transforming them into more fashionable and wearable clothing. Dale and I are also Project Runway junkies and we watched the finale last week.


I watch these young people online and on TV -- younger than my own kids in many instances -- believing in themselves, jumping in, and just trying stuff. Fearless. Then they put their successes and failures online for the whole world to see. Gutsy.

The latest winner of Project Runway Junior has only been sewing for two years! Impressive!


Last year, I worked on the notion of becoming more fearless -- especially as an artist. It was mostly head knowledge, reading, watching TED talks, and ruminating about it. I wanted to marinate in the words of the wise for a while before putting the ideas into action.


This year I've decided to declutter at least one thing each day. I'll be turning 60 at the end of the year. One of my best friends is vowing to get rid of most of his belongings before his 60th birthday in September. He's inspiring me. Dale and I are beginning to talk about where we want to live in retirement. So we're looking around our home and wondering ... what do we want to live with? What no longer serves our purposes? I thought I'd ease into downsizing by releasing one thing a day.

I bought myself some new beautiful hangers and went through my closet. Anything I loved got to live on a new hanger. I've lost a bit of weight recently, so there are clothes that no longer fit. I've been doing some "inner work" so that I'm more able to release clothing that had an emotional attachment. All in all, my closet is pared down fairly well now. I don't have many shirts anymore. Sadly, my favorite t-shirt is looking tattered since it's 10 years old.

from Amazon

SO, instead of making new pockets for my old coat, I took my favorite old t-shirt and, using some of the techniques I've been watching on YouTube, I attempted to draft a pattern from the old t-shirt and sew myself a new t-shirt. I used some fabric that has been in my stash for ::mumble mumble:: years (since my 32 year old was in elementary school!) I figured if my first attempt didn't work, I wasn't out any money. Bonus, I'd be decluttering a bit of fabric.

My pattern drafting attempt is mostly a success. I'm planning to tweak it a bit tomorrow. It might turn out to be a wearable shirt, might not. That's not the point. Don't be surprised if I don't post a photo of it. I'm quite proud that after years of holding myself back due to fear of failure, I made this pattern drafting attempt.

I come from a long line of seamstresses and tailors. I love the art of dressmaking, even though I don't have an eye for creating original designs. At least not yet. I love the process of sewing, but haven't jumped into the deep end of the tailoring pool.


Today, without thinking about it too hard, I gave it a try. The attempt put me in flow and was very, very satisfying.

That is my success.