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Thursday, December 30, 2010

December Featured EtsyBlogger

I'd better hurry if I'm going to do a post on the December featured EtsyBlogger! December is running out! This month's featured artist is Linda of pruitthandcrafts. Linda is a busy person...she has three Etsy shops (although the jewelry shop will be closing mid-January), a blog and 25 grandkids!

Here are some sample items from her shops.

First, pruitthandcrafts.etsy.com. Linda sells the fabric and paper items she creates here. She likes to quilt and has some pretty quilts in her quilts section. Linda is a breast cancer survivor and has some pink items in her shop to promote breast cancer awareness. This pretty pillow is one of my favorite items in her shop. Linda's pillow
The next shop is pruittsupply.etsy.com. Here Linda sells a wide variety of useful items - beads, buttons, charms, fabric, lace and trim...something for everyone. I love this lavendar paisley fabric. A fat quarter of it. Fat quarter of fabric
The last shop, pruittdesign.etsy.com, is the jewelry shop that will be closing. Right now, all items are 50% off. Just look at this beautiful bracelet! Pink bracelet
Linda's blog is pruitthandcrafts.blogspot.com. Lots of great posts, pretty photos and interesting links. Go check it out!

I hope you'll take a look at all of Linda's shops and her blog and join me in congratulating her on all the great work she does. I'm not quite sure how she manages to keep up with it all!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Pillows

I saw this tutorial for cute Christmas pillows at tatertots & jello and had to make some! It was during the time when practically every craft I saw appealed to me and I just HAD to make something! So I made a pillow for myself and a few as Christmas gifts.

Here is a picture of the pillow in the tutorial. Pillow in tutorial
In the tutorial, the ornament is painted onto the fabric. I decided I wanted to sew my pillows. I found some great Christmas fabric at JoAnn - lime green, red and white. And a nice bright red solid fabric that went well with it. I used a 14-inch pillow form and found a plate to trace around that was just the right size for the Christmas ball. So I made this pillow and realized that once the rick rack was on, it just seemed a little too busy for me. This is my pillow.My pillow
After finishing my pillow, I decided to swap the fabrics I was using for the front and back. I moved the solid lime I had chosen for the back to the front of the pillow and used the print on the back. I like this version better. I made some pillows with green ribbon with little white dots and other pillows with red and white striped ribbon. I like the way they turned out once I switched the front and back fabric, and I got to do some sewing, which apparently I was craving.
Pillow with green ribbonPillow with red ribbon
Thanks to tatertots & jello for the cute pillow ideas!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another Christmas Stocking

Time to get back to my Etsy shops (Prized Possessions and Prized Possessions Take 2) and my blog after all the preparations for Christmas (and Thanksgiving and Halloween) have come to an end. I always seem to take on a little more than I really have time for. But at least I don’t get bored! I ALWAYS have something to do!

Here’s the stocking I made on the morning of Christmas Eve. I wanted to make a new Christmas stocking for my mom, who always spends Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us. After making Joe’s stocking earlier in the month, I knew I wanted to make the same type of stocking for my mom. Since I had already made one of these, this second one didn’t take too long to make. I didn’t get a name put on it, but at least I finished the stocking in time to hang by the chimney with care. And now I have another year to put a name on it!
My newest Christmas stocking

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

EtsyBloggers Treasury

A few days ago, I learned that my vintage wreath was included in another Etsy treasury, the EtsyBloggers treasury created by Linda of pruitthandcrafts. Isn't it a fun treasury? It sure puts me more in the Christmas spirit!Etsy Treasury
And I don't know if the treasury had anything to do with it or not (it certainly didn't hurt!), but I sold my wreath today! I decided to give one wreath to a local friend, so I have no wreaths left in my shop. I have a ton of vintage ornaments so I guess I can get started making more wreaths for next year soon!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Custom Mother's Bracelet

Last year, I had a custom order for a two-strand mother's bracelet. There is a photo of that bracelet in this blog post, along with an adorable photo of the two little girls named in the bracelet. Several days ago, I heard from the mom who ordered that bracelet. She wanted a one-strand bracelet for her mother, a grandmother's bracelet. Last year, my buyer wasn't sure if she wanted a one- or two-strand bracelet, so I designed one of each and let her take a look at photos before she made up her mind. So this year, when she wanted the single strand bracelet, all I had to do was show her the old photo and that was what she wanted.

Here's my newest version of the Kasey-Mia bracelet. I sent it out on Saturday, so hopefully it will be arriving soon!
Custom Grandmother's Bracelet
Please see my Etsy shop listing if you are interested in your own custom mother's or grandmother's bracelet. The very first one I made was for myself and that was back when Joe was Joey. It's one of my very favorite pieces of jewelry and I love it!My bracelet

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Recipe

The topic I chose for the December EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival is sharing my favorite holiday recipe and telling why it’s a favorite.

We create a different menu each year for our Christmas dinner, but the one item that has appeared on the menu every year for the last several years is Savory Herb Biscuits. I found this recipe in my Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 2. These biscuits are very tasty and very easy to make.

2 c. biscuit baking mix
1/2 c. Cheddar cheese, shredded
2/3 c. milk
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted

Combine biscuit mix, cheese and milk until a soft dough forms. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Roll out dough to ½-inch thickness and cut with a star-shaped cookie cutter or drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Combine basil and garlic powder with melted butter and brush over hot biscuits after removing from oven. Makes 12 biscuits.

My son, who is now 19, was sometimes assigned the job of making these biscuits for our Christmas dinner. While he used to make them most years when he was younger, he still does occasionally when we can talk him into it. Not only do I like these biscuits because they are very good and very easy, but they always remind me of Christmas Day with the whole family pitching in to make our scrumptious dinner.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Update on Yesterday's Bracelet

I selected what I would wear to work today based on what I could wear my new red bracelet with, the bracelet in yesterday's blog post. I was all dressed and putting on my jewelry and one half of the clasp broke off my bracelet.
Bracelet with broken clasp

If you want to make a wire crochet bracelet, my advice to you is don't use 28 gauge wire. For as long as this clasp lasted on the bracelet, I'd say that 28 gauge wire is not strong enough. The article also mentioned that you could use 26 gauge wire. That will be what I try next time. For now, I'll just need to find a small piece of some larger gauge wire so I can reattach my clasp to my bracelet. And reinforce the other end, also.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Wire Crochet Bracelet

I've always loved all kinds of craft projects, but lately, I'm not sure what's come over me. Lately, I've been seeing tons of projects that I want to do SOOO badly. I just feel like I MUST make something! Saturday I made my Christmas stocking. And yesterday, I started a bracelet while watching part of the KC Chiefs game on TV.

My January Bead Style magazine arrived in the mail several days ago and I saw a bracelet in it that I knew I had to make. I've always wanted to try wire crochet with beads and this bracelet seemed like the perfect way to give it a try. The best part about this bracelet was that I bought absolutely nothing to make it. I already had everything I needed. I decided on red and white/clear beads since that looked kind of Christmas-y.

The longest part of this project was digging out the beads I wanted to use and stringing them on my 28 gauge wire. I was to string 16 - 22 inches of beads, so I went with 22, but I didn't need nearly that many. I didn't take photos all along the way, but all you do is a chain stitch, slipping one bead up close to the crochet hook before making the next chain. You make a beaded chain that will go around your wrist three times. Then you fold this chain into thirds, into sort of a wide flat 'S' shape, flatten the 'S' and use the tail on each end to hold what is now three strands together, then twist the whole thing together. More or less twists can adjust the size of the bracelet. Here's a picture after I got this far.
Wire crochet bracelet before clasp added
Next I used 20 gauge wire to make the two clasp pieces, one in an 'S' shape and one in a 'C' shape. Clasp
I used the wire ends to wrap around the center of one clasp piece on each end. Trim the excess wire and it's done! Here's the finished bracelet.Finished bracelet
And here's a picture with the clasp closed. Finished bracelet with clasp closed
I think tomorrow will be one of those days when I pick the clothes I wear to match the bracelet I want to wear! I can already tell that I will be making more of these bracelets in different colors. I like the way it looks and it was so simple! I'll need to try a necklace soon also.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Stocking

After making the table runner that was the August “Create with Me” project on u-createcrafts.com, I started checking to see what the project was each month. I love the fabric pumpkins in September but I never quite had time to make any. But I saw the November Christmas stocking and knew I had to do that project. Chances were pretty slim that I would finish it in November, but I wanted to make it anyway. (The deadline has now been extended through December.)

While the project showed how to make two stockings from one strip pieced effort, I decided to make only one stocking. I’ve been wanting to make a stocking for my son for years. I bought him a stocking when he was a baby that doesn’t even have his name on it. That’s been his stocking for 18 years. A few years ago, I started looking for stockings or stocking patterns that had some sort of baseball theme (other than an MLB team) but have not yet found anything. I’d love to make him a baseball stocking. But I settled for the next best thing – a stocking in his new school colors, which are sort of a maroon shade of red and gold. Here’s the stocking I made yesterday for him. He came home for the weekend to attend the KC Chiefs game today (so we got to go out to dinner to celebrate his upcoming 19th birthday last night) and I finished the stocking not long before he got home. He liked it.Finished Christmas stocking

The web site points you to this tutorial. There were parts of it that I had to read several times because it was not quite clear to me what was being explained. Thinking it through, I was able to figure out what the author really meant. And I discovered that the author and I had different interpretations of what “lengthwise” means. Once I got past little things like this, it wasn’t hard to do.

Rather than enlarging the pattern given or drawing my own, which I considered doing, I realized that this stocking I own is a very similar shape and size to that in the instructions, so I traced around it to make my pattern. Stocking I used for my pattern
I decided to combine the method used in the August table runner with the stocking tutorial instructions since I liked the way the pieced table runner turned out. I sewed each strip directly onto my batting, pressing after adding each new strip.Adding strips to batting
Here’s my finished pieced strips.Pieced strips
I cut out my stocking from the pieced strips using my traced pattern.Cutting out stocking from pattern
Then I cut out the stocking back and another piece of batting.Stocking, batting and back
I sewed all these pieces together, per the instructions, and turned it right side out.Stocking turned right side out
Next I cut out my two stocking pieces from my lining fabric and sewed them together, right sides together. I made my seam allowance just a tad larger than I did on my stocking so that my lining would be just a tad smaller than the stocking to allow for the bulk of the batting. Stocking lining sections sewn together
The instruction wording was a little confusing here. Just sew around the sides, leaving the top open and leaving about a two inch opening on a straight section of one side. I left the opening between my two fingers, shown in the next photo. Where I left opening in lining seam
I made the loop by folding the fabric strip in half the long way, pressing it, then folding each long side in to the center pressed line. Finally, I stitched along the long edge to hold all these layers together.Stocking loop
I cut out the top band, making sure the piece I cut out was the right length to fit around the top of my stocking since I knew my stocking was not the exact size of that in the instructions. I didn’t want to just cut the band piece based on the size given in the instructions. I folded the band and determined where I wanted to put the name on the band. I cut out my letters (just played around drawing them until they were a size and shape I liked), lightly attached them with Stitch Witchery, applied some interfacing to the band on the wrong side behind where the letters would be and zig zag stitched around the letters. I carefully determined exactly where the band seam should be to fit just right around the top of my stocking. I stitched the band seam (the short side of the band), folded the band in half wrong sides together (the fold runs the long length of the band) and pressed. Here’s my finished band.Finished band

Next I pinned my band to the top of the stocking and the loop at the side seam. Band and loop pinned to top of stocking
The lining has been stitched but never turned, so it still has right sides together. I placed the stocking inside the lining so that the right side of the stocking faced the right side of the lining. I pinned the lining to the stocking around the top edge, then sewed all around the top edge. I sewed over the seam where the loop was attached a couple extra times to reinforce in case heavy gifts are put into the stocking! Now I pulled the stocking out through the opening in the lining seam to turn the whole thing right side out. Turning right side out
I tucked the lining inside the stocking, poking it into the toe and heel as nicely as possible. I pressed the top seam so the lining would lay down flat and I was all finished with my stocking! Here it is again.Finished stocking
I think I’ll make another one for my mom, who always spends Christmas with us, once I decide on the fabrics to use in hers. I think these turn out really cute and think this was a great project to feature in the “Create with Me” series! If you need a new stocking, give this project a try!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Credit Card Necklace

I just finished making a custom credit card necklace. I've made bracelets and earrings but never a necklace until an Etsy customer requested one. I've been working with her over the last couple days to come up with the right color, length and style and here's what we ended up with.
Party Bright Credit Card Necklace
I really like the way it turned out. It's 24 inches long, but because I used a lobster clasp and the type of chain I did, it can easily be adjusted to just about any shorter length. I think I'm going to have to make more necklaces now!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Featured EtsyBlogger

The featured EtsyBlogger of the month for November (I barely made it!) is DevineDesignsJewelry. Please go check out Cindy’s Etsy shop here. These are my favorite earrings in her shop…I LOVE the colors!.
And go take a look at Cindy’s blog, www.devinedesignsjewelry.blogspot.com. Not only does she have some great photos of her jewelry in her blog, but she lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and has some great WARM-LOOKING photos of Florida. If you’re like me and live somewhere that’s cold right now, it’s fun just to look at her Florida photos! Thanks, Cindy, for sharing! (And making me feel warmer.)

And, last but not least, no one can ever have too many Facebook friends or pages they like. Cindy’s Facebook page has even more great photos and posts. You can see it all for yourself here.
Love your jewelry, Cindy! Keep up the great work!

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Finished Printer's Tray

Hi! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I look forward to Thanksgiving each year because my mom's family gets together every year. We had a smaller turnout this year (only 81 people) than the last two years (91 and 93 people), but there's always plenty of great food and lots of time to visit with my relatives that I don't get to see very often.

I didn't want to say too much about the printer's tray project I was working on (see earlier post) in case any family members read it. This project was for the gift exchange I do with my cousins on Thanksgiving. Now that Thanksgiving is past, I'll show pictures of my project. I made two of these trays, each with the same photos and embellishments, one for my gift exchange and one to keep for myself. Since I have been doing my family calendars for several years now, I have accumulated quite a few old family photos that I incorporated into the tray. I have a wedding photo of my grandparents, along with a photo from their 50th anniversary. I included photos of both sets of great-grandparents and their families, the last photo when my mom and her nine siblings were together before my Aunt Agnes passed away last year and a Thanksgiving photo of those of my 35 cousins who were present a couple years ago. Four generations of family photos is kind of fun to look at! And I have some photos of my grandparents' house, barn, granary and the outhouse that I can still remember.

Here's a photo of my finished tray. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. Whole photo tray
And here are some closeups of the various sections. Top left section of trayThe section above is the top left section. My grandma and grandpa are in the corner by the car. You can't see it, but the license plate on the car has the year "49" on it. Next to them is a photo of the farmhouse they lived in which burned down when I was in high school. The small ranch house they built in its place just was not quite the same. Next to the house photo is a picture of my grandpa with his parents and siblings. This section also includes the anniversary and wedding photos, along with individual photos of my grandparents when they were young.
Top right section of trayThe section above is the top right section. In the corner is my grandma, her parents and sisters. Below that is a photo of my cousins and me from a recent Thanksgiving. And below that is an earier photo of my grandpa and his siblings.
Bottom left section of trayThe bottom left section includes the last picture of my mom and all of her siblings from Thanksgiving 2008, another photo of my Grandpa, the granary and a section of the 1930 census record listing my grandparents, along with some of my aunts and uncles.
Bottom right section of trayThe bottom right section shows the barn and, last but not least, the old outhouse.

This was a fun project to work on. It's made me decide that I need to put all my photos in one place and do a family scrapbook. I've added this to my list of things to do in 2011! I'm just glad I paged through the Archiver's ad when I did and saw the trays and project ideas or I wouldn't have ended up with such a great gift for the gift exchange!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Etsy Treasury

My vintage ornament wreath is in another Etsy Treasury! I love the treasury name. The creator of this fun treasury says it's from a Wendy's jingle that was out last year. I guess I missed that one.

Please visit Shawnee's Etsy shop, MyFairLadee, and take a look at her new and vintage jewelry and headbands, along with other unique finds.

Thanks, Shawnee, for including my wreath in your lovely treasury!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Current Project

The November EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival topics are both about what inspires you. The choices of topics were

1) What item are you working on?? What is your inspiration for this piece??
2) What is always inspiring you for your shops, your works, or anything in your life??

I chose to answer the first question - what I'm working on and what my inspiration is.

My new project started when I was looking through an Archiver's ad that I got in the mail. I saw these great little printer trays, with lots of examples of photo displays that could be made using them. I then moved on to the Archiver's web site to look at the trays. Check it out here. And then take a look at their pages and pages of finished projects here. How can you not want one of these for your very own?

So I went to Archiver's and bought a tray. Since Halloween, I have been focused on nothing but my family calendar, trying to get it finished up before Thanksgiving. (I took it to the printer this evening. I recently learned of another new baby to include, bringing my total family members up to 173. I have 171 of those 173 people on the calendar!) With family on the mind, I decided to make a family themed tray.

Yesterday, on the way home from work, I stopped by Archiver's to find papers and embellishments that I could use in my tray. Last night, I started going through photos, trying to decide which ones I would use and what spot I would put them in. As I made decisions, I put a little slip of paper containing a description of the photo or embellishment in the compartment so I wouldn't forget what would go where. Since this post is about my current project and my current project isn't too far along yet, unfortunately the only photo I have of my work in progress is this one. Doesn't look like much yet, but I will post the finished project soon.Photo tray
As for the inspiration for the project...My initial inspiration came from the Archiver's ad and all the great examples I looked at online. But my real inspiration is my family. The fact that I've been working on my calendar a lot lately and that I will get to see my aunts, uncles and cousins at Thanksgiving kept my family in the front of my mind. It was not difficult to decide the theme for my tray once I decided I wanted to make one.

Check back soon to see my completed project!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Third Annual Mini Holiday Mart Open House

This afternoon I held another fun and successful holiday open house. My third one. This year Jana participated, who makes lovely soldered pendants and ornaments and glass pendants and earrings. This is Jana's third year to participate in my open house and every year, the work she brings with her is more lovely than the year before!
Jana's beautiful jewelry
My cousin Julie has been making fleece hats, along with some little ponchos and mittens, like crazy! All the pretty colors and patterns of fleece she uses made for a very pretty display. Julie's colorful fleece
Katie sold her pretty Christmas ornament wreaths and glass block Christmas decorations. With the bright lights in the glass blocks, it was hard to get a good focused photo.Katie's wreaths and glass block decorations
And I was selling my beaded jewelry and Christmas ornaments. My main jewelry displayMy earring shutters display

Since I hold this in my basement, I don't want to open it up to the public, but all the sellers who participate invite their friends and acquaintances. I'm not too big into Christmas in early November since I don't like to totally lose Thanksgiving, but today is the one day that I put out Christmas decorations and play holiday music to get into the Christmas shopping spirit. And I must say that doing this does help me get more into the Christmas mood each year. We have refreshments and plenty of time to visit with friends. And each vendor donates a door prize for a drawing that we hold at the end of the event.

It's a fun way to see what other people make, to socialize and to get into the Christmas spirit. I'd love to find a bigger place to hold this, invite more vendors, open it up to the public...Gotta start thinking about 2011!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Vintage Ornament Wreaths are in Two Etsy Treasuries!

I recently learned that my ornament wreaths were selected to appear in two Etsy treasuries.

This first one was created by FridaAndMarilyn. This Etsy shop sells great jewelry. Please go take a look!

Etsy treasury
And the second treasury was created by Susanna at unabellavita where she sells very cute aprons.

Etsy treasuryPlease check out each of these nice shops who chose my wreaths to be in their treasuries! Thank you to both of you for including me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family Calendar

Wow. It's been a long time since my last post. I've been kind of busy. After my Halloween party, which kept me busy for the entire month of October, it was time to get my annual family calendar finished. I had started it, but still had quite a bit of work left on it. Every year, I create a calendar with all family birthdays on it to distribute at our Thanksgiving gathering. Since Halloween, I have spent every spare minute I have on my calendar, usually staying up much too late. Here are some pictures from my 2009 calendar.

I just realized that I never posted any pictures from my 2010 calendar last year. Last year was a big change for my calendar. I started creating my pages using digital scrapbooking elements and had a great time making it.

2010 calendar coverHere is my 2010 cover, in honor of my aunt Agnes who passed away last September.

2010 calendar page

And here is my very favorite page from inside the calendar, my Grandma and Grandpa's wedding picture.

This year, I may have undertaken a little too much. One year, I included a family photo or multiple photos of a family to include everyone in calendar pictures. This year, I heard that people wanted to see pictures of everyone on the calendar again so I decided to include everyone in an individual photo on the page facing their birthday month. While this doesn't sound too bad, when you take into account that there are approximately 170 people in my family, it becomes a rather daunting task. My mom is one of ten kids and I have 35 cousins. Many of those cousins have grandkids, which adds up to 172 people, at last count. As of now, I have 153 of them on the calendar. Not bad! I'm trying to round up the last remaining photos by this weekend so I can take it to the printer the next week.

Here are a couple of my finished pages from my 2011 calendar.
2011 October calendar page
2011 December calendar page