One more card from the card party

The cardmaking-party hostess told us to bring our own supplies too, so I thought it was a great opportunity to pull out the stamps I bought a while back from JustRite. I hadn't tried them yet, so it took a little experimentation to figure out the right sizes and balance for the circles and scalloped circle. As I look at it, the white card in the background could have used some sprucing up, but again, for me, stamping is more about the experimentation than worrying whether the card is perfect. After all, the recipient of a card, homemade or not, is more interested in the fact that you cared enough to send a card than whether the stamped image is perfectly centered on the layered background or whether the card needs a little more spice. And if they aren't, they should be! I think there might need to be some practice with my circle cutter or the purchase of a large circle stamp to help me make the layers work better, and I look forward to having a little more time to play after I get the craft room set up in the new place.

A stamped card set

Jenn really has lots of sets of stamps, lots of paper, and lots of inks. I got on a color-play kick--and the pink, green, and brown were available in both ink and paper. So I started playing with white paper and stamped the flowers and verses on five or six. The placement of the flowers is far from planned, but I made a total of five of them in the same color set and gave two to the hostess. She spent most of her time helping everyone else out, so she didn't get to make many cards. It was fun to try out different sentiments!

A new ink color on a stamped card

It's not often that I make a card in yellow and white. I don't personally have any yellow ink pads, but my friend Jenn does! So on the card play day, I made this card. I'm very much a "keep it simple" cardmaker, and this one is no exception, though it did use a few more stamps than the previous one. I stamped the iris first, and Jenn and I were concerned it was very pale. However, once I mounted it on the golden paper, the contrast seemed to help. When I placed the mounted image on the white card, though, we decided it needed a little more pizazz. So we used a swirly stamp and a speckly stamp to add color to the card front and then placed the image on the card and we were pretty pleased with our solution. Perfect? No way. But a good lesson on experimentation and breaking out of your comfort zone.

A cardmaking party and a simple card

My good friend and Stampin' Up demonstrator Jenn had another cardmaking party a few weeks ago. Basically, she invited a few of us over to play with her stamps. And play we did! I made a bunch of cards, got to use stamps that I didn't have (or might not have otherwise chosen), and worked with some new ink colors.

Meanwhile, I'll be sharing some card photos over the next few days. Today's card is a very easy card, requiring two stamps--the main motif and a sentiment. This intricate stamp provided excellent results for this type of card. One ink color, two paper colors, and there it is.

The thing I love about this stamp is that it is actually very versatile. In brown on turquoise, it reminded me of a henna tattoo. But it would look very different colored in--Victorian or Dutch, depending on the colors. I'll have to keep an eye out for this stamp, since I think it might be discontinued. Ahh, discontinued stamps--the one flaw in getting to play with the stamp collection of a Stampin' Up demonstrator.....

My going away cake

My last day of work was Wednesday, June 2. I chose to make a going away cake--I looked into buying one, but having one decorated the way I wanted was just going to be more hassle than it was worth. It was a crazy weekend of packing some of my stuff into a moving trailer, taking care of the lawn, working late, and, on the night before my last day, making my cake. I took some pictures along the way, so you could see the steps. I feel like it turned out pretty well--not to be boastful or anything.

I started with a quarter sheet cake, which is 11 x 15. Because it takes two cake mixes and I am trying to clear things out of the freezer, AND I'm a people pleaser, half of the cake was milk chocolate and the other half is white. You can see where the line is in the first picture, though I tried to marble it a little bit (did I mention the people-pleasing part?).

I did make some cut marks on the surface of the cake to give myself some guidelines as I frosted--they show a little in the photo below. Then, I started frosting the ground--chocolate frosting was perfect to represent Illinois farm dirt.

I was worried about blue frosting being unappetizing, but how else do you make sky? So I took a container of white frosting, set some aside for other colors, and tinted the rest of it with sky blue coloring. It sure didn't take much to make it blue--they mean it when they say use a toothpick! Then I frosted the sky area, going around the barn area.

Next was the red frosting for the barn. That was a frosting mix that I tinted with no-taste red coloring. To get the barn THAT red, I used the entire container of coloring! I had actually mixed the frosting earlier in the evening while the cake was baking when I still hadn't decided how I was going to decorate it. So I got carried away with how much red frosting I made--WAY too much, as it turns out. But I did figure out that the angled spatula is the key to decorating this kind of cake--I was able to use it to frost right up to the line. Here's a shot of the barn mid-coverage.

Then it was on to detailing the barn. I had used a coloring image I found online. It had barnboard-lines, so I figured I could add those with a toothpick, but the details would need to be added with frosting. Into the next container of white frosting I went. Couldn't find the outlining tip anywhere (I found it later that night in the cabinet I thought I'd packed), so I added the barn trim with the small star tip. I also tinted some of the frosting I set aside earlier with yellow, and put it in the hay mow, then sprinkled some yellow Jimmies on top to look like hay.

Then it's on to the details. The rest of the set aside frosting went to greens. Not sure if it was supposed to be a crop, a garden, or just grass, but it needed something.

And finally, the words. Though I'm very excited about my impending move and changes, I will miss my former job, my co-workers, and even my apartment, so "greener" pastures seemed inappropriate. Here's the finished cake.

And it was a lovely farewell celebration. So many of my coworkers stopped by to get some cake--so much so that at the end of the day, there was only one piece left--a top sky corner that I ate while I was still at work around 6:45 that night.

Now I'm looking forward to being closer to family and friends. For the hundreds of reasons I'm looking forward to it, there's one more--the chance to decorate more cakes! I've always wanted to learn to decorate cakes, so maybe there's a cake decorating class in my future....

Links You'll Love, a little late

Moving and wrapping up things at work really gets distracting! But I'm going to post some links from my friends and then maybe some more this weekend.

Aileen's Musings

Aileen's excited to share her first how to video called Ribbon's & Lace. Take a quiet moment, grab a cuppa and stop by and see what its all about.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy is learning more every day when it comes to her Etsy shop, like the importance of tags and the number of items you should list, but it's definitely a work in progress.

The Artful Crafter
Advice on selling large lots of craft supplies.

Mixed Media Artist
Can you ever have too much fabric? Cyndi thinks not! Come and add your favorite link to Cyndi's favorites.

Cross Stitch at
Read loads of great tips on Cross Stitch and then share your own - what tips and tricks have you learned that keep you out of tight spots?

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to make a recycled sweater gearhead hot pad inspired by the book- The Journal Junkies Workshop

About Family Crafts
Is getting to be that time of year when people get out more whether it be day trips, camping trips, or gathering with friends and family and having picnics and barbecues! Find out how you can incorporate crafting into your camping and picnic fun.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside's got a hot new Look. Learn, and Create video featuring Barbe Saint John showing us how to make a Steampunk hair pin, a free bow graphic download, how to add words to a journal page and a bow, and an inside peek into 1000 ideas from 100 Fashion Designers.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares her Zen Master Slacker Mommy's Guide to Letting Things Ride.

On the move

For many weeks, you've heard me talk about how crazy life has been. The point of blogging is to share honestly, right? I'm now here to explain the craziness in my life. For those of you who know me personally, you know that my life is very often changing, in fact, one of my nicknames is Gypsy. And now is no exception. Drumroll please......

I'm changing jobs, moving to the farm that inspired this blog's title, and starting on a new adventure. Unfortunately, there will be very little crafting in the next month, since packing will be my main focus (well, that and learning a new job!), but I hope to find a way to share stories and project inspiration along the way.

Meanwhile, thank you all for your patience as my life changes. The suggestion has been made that I should start a packing and moving blog, but who would read that? But some of that might slip in here as I ponder what I get rid of, what I keep, and why.

Links You'll Love: May 17

I swear I'm going to start a blog post saying something like "What a calm and quiet weekend I had!" But this was a great weekend regardless, even if it wasn't calm or quiet. I got to visit family and some wonderful forever friends. I helped my Mom with a project and we did a little garage saleing (how do you spell that??). And there's nothing better than laughing and joking with good friends over lunch that lasts for hours.

But now I'm home and there's much to do, but I wanted to share some links before I dive into the work to be done.

The Artful Crafter
Ideas for decorating canvas tote bags.

Craftside--A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
At Craftside there is our author schedule for Maker Faire-booth #219!, Lab 47 from the wonderful book Collage Lab and the cake die cut design I did inspired by it, tips on how to get your dog to sit for a photo and info on the gallery opening A Consequential Tea in Brooklyn with Kristin Muller.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge has sold her seventh book! Read all about it and about negotiating a contract in the fourth installment in her How to Write and Publish a Craft Book series

Beading Arts
Cyndi has launched the first installment of her brand new e-book on bead embroidery...and it's free! Hurry over for your copy!

Aileen's Musings
Aileen's offering a Blog Giveaway! See what she's giving away and the many ways you can enter to win!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Embroidered scissors from the book Redwork from the Workbasket

Cathie Filian
Cathie shows you how to print your own fabric with dishwasher gel and cookie cutters.

Cross Stitch at
Create a stitching-themed sampler with a saying from Ellen Birdseye Wheaton. All back stitch and a single color of your choice. Challenging but quick stitch.

About Family Crafts
Learn how you can make your own personalized garden stepping stones.

Links You'll Love: May 8

Travel is how I started my week--check out the treasures from my travels. And travel will wrap up my week--visiting my Mom and my Sister for Mother's Day. In between, I worked, took care of some personal business, had a date with my guy, and got my hair done. I also picked up my contacts and had a checkup for those, picked up my new glasses and sunglasses and got them fitted, and got my phone back from its repair shop and returned the loaner. As I look back, it really WAS a busy week! And not just for me. Check out what my blogging buddies have been up to.

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Alexa shows you how to make Fontalicious Wall Art that is bold, graphic, and fun! And definitely cheap and easy to do!

About Family Crafts
Let's celebrate Half-Way to Halloween! Some people may think that it is too early to think about Halloween, but actually, Halloween seems to top the of list of people's favorite crafting holidays.

Cross Stitch at
One of Connie's friends says the free When This You See pattern looks like a brain. Connie was inspired by the pocketbook plant. No matter what you see, the abstract design with traditional saying will be a fun stitch.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge reviews Jean Campbell's gorgeous new book Steampunk Style Jewelry.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Paper Jewelry inspired by The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Jewelry Making Techniques by Vannetta Seecharran

Craftside--A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world

Craftside's got a great tutorial on how to paint on fusible web, a photo of a beautiful Roman Stripe quilt from the book-The Quilt, fun photos from a bee field trip with author Kim Flottum and a "Mean Girl" Logo from the book Letterhead & Logo Design 10.

The Crochet Dude
Drew has just released the names and addies of the Michaels test stores nationwide that will be carrying his new line of crochet tools and kits - starting THIS weekend!

The Artful Crafter
How to navigate the sea of digital file extensions.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy is celebrating about her summer vacation, but at the same time, she's trying to focus on the long "to do" list!

Mixed Media Artist
A wonderful quote by Dorothy Day inspired Cyndi to make a little canvas board assemblage.

More fabric? Yes, seriously.

I was in the Tampa / St. Pete area of Florida for a meeting over the weekend. Since my flight got me in a few hours before the meetings started, I had time to locate a few quilt shops.

Last time I visited St. Pete's Beach (almost exactly a decade ago), I convinced my traveling partner and long-time friend Lisa to run up to a quilt shop with me, so that was the first on my list of possible stops. Rainbow's End in Dunedin, Florida had some fabulous fabrics, as you can see from my selection. I mostly purchased fat quarters, but I did buy a yard of the black-and-white pin dot with the pink flowers because I thought it was unusual and felt a little nostalgic.

Next shop was in Country Quilts and Bears in Clearwater, Florida. The marble print in the top left is a flannel, and I fear it might be a flannel I bought before. The three below it along the left side are fat quarters. However, I bet it comes as no surprise to any of you that the farm print in the middle and the two on the left are more than a fat quarter. I bought yardage of all three. The farm fabric will make very cute and very easy baby blankets, just cut 36" by the fabric length (45") and quilted along the design lines (great experience with that quilting machine, right?). The other two just had such great colors that I had to have them and the ideas are swimming around in my head.

By the time I finished at the second shop, I had to high-tail it to the hotel and made it to my first meeting just in time. It was a great meeting, and after it was over, I shot this picture of sunset over the Gulf. I thought you might appreciate a great view after the colorful fabrics, so I'm offering this one to you. Thank you, Florida for a great weekend!

Links you'll love: April 24

It was a busy week here. Last Saturday, I helped my Mom with a project she's working on and reminded her again of how to use her cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler. It's not a process that always seems logical and she doesn't use it often, so she likes a refresher. We fussy-cut some blocks for her quilt (fussy-cut, for those of you who don't know, is planning where to cut the blocks based on something in the print). And that inspired me to cut out the fabric for another Grandma quilt, so Violet will get hers finally (then I'll be caught up on those again!). And I've got a few more quilts to cut on the docket, including one for me. But meanwhile, I've got some links to share this week. 

Cross Stitch at
Connie made an oops with a stitching project when she laundered an item that wasn't colorfast. Have you ever had an oops like that? Vote in the poll and let us know.

About Family Crafts
If you are looking for a special, home-made gift for Mother's Day, check out Sherri's collection of 100 gifts to make for mom.

Craftside--A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world

This week at Craftside there is a sneak peek into the new book Mixed-Media Dollhouses, how to draw a Zombie Voodoo Doll, make 2 types of paper flowers from recycled book pages, and how to use white glue and tape as resists in fabric altering.

The Artful Crafter
This week Eileen is offering some free striking vintage photos from the 30s and a chance to win the eBook Altered Ancestors: 50 Techniques for Using Vintage Photos in Art.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy has added another charm discovery to her sterling silver charms and pendants sale page--2 gorgeous mermaids.

The Crochet Dude
Drew's crochet purse designs are super cute, and now he's got a crocheted Purse Pattern of the Month program? You've gotta check it out!!!

Aileen's Musings
Aileen has a wonderful Mother's Day project to help make it a banner day for mom! Find out what Canvasette paper is while you check out her easy background technique.

Mixed Media Artist
When dumpster diving fails you, here are some great online sources for cool stuff!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery

How to make recycled sweater tags inspired by the one in: Hand-Me-Ups By Lorine Mason
Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
A hot topic Facebook thread leads to a post about valuing your work. Madge ponders the problems of discounts and freebies.

Violet's Grandma Paper Doll Quilt

The other night, I cut out a new quilt. WOO HOO! My cousin Lynette's second daughter, Violet, hasn't yet gotten her Grandma Paper Doll Quilt yet and she's got to be nearing a year old, or maybe a little older. Here's a photo of the pieces; I'll post updates of its progress, highlighting some of the fun tools and techniques I'll be using as I go.

I fussy-cut the border-strip fabric to use in the centers of the blocks so there were two of the dolls in each block and I have two of each doll pair. The sketches at the top are only the rough drafts--I changed the colors right before I started cutting, which is funny because I was shopping for a blue and yellow print at the Quilt Festival for the blocks and ended up swapping the greenish daisy print for the blue. So here are the fabrics cut for the quilt. I'm really excited to get working on it, but I think I'm going to cut the Storm at Sea quilt pieces first. I've found that if I have pieces cut, I'm more likely to work on a project but somehow making the decisions and getting them cut is the part that's been holding me up. So I thought I'd cut a few quilts out (the Storm at Sea and my sister's Stack n Whack) and then, over the summer, I'd sew and sew and get them all done. Then I can start working on the quilting part.

Chicago's Quilt Festival 2010

I shot pictures of several quilts last weekend at Quilt Festival in Chicago, but I've yet to sort through the photos and match them up with the names. I'll try to post them this weekend. I did, however, shoot some pictures of the fabrics I found for my stash (as if I needed more, right?).

Most of the fabric sold at quilt shows is precut--either fat quarters, half-yards, or bundles of some type. Some shops bring bolts of fabric, but in the past many years, I've been more likely to buy fat quarters than yardage. I'll need to be making some scrappier designs, since fat quarters are great for scrappy designs. And they're gonna be some very colorful scrappy quilts because I have a definite preference for brighter colors. And, of course, farm prints. This isn't everything--some of it wasn't all that interesting--but I thought I'd share some of the fun stuff!

Of course, there's always a little farm fabric that I need to bring home. On the left is a farm panel--it was just too fun to pass up. On the right are some fat quarters, a half-yard, and another very cute farm print from a newer line. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but that's okay.

Feathers are up next. The one on the left was just too interesting in colors to pass up. The one on the right will match the fabrics in the Storm At Sea quilt I'm planning. The blues and purples will be perfect and add a lot of texture to the quilt.

The village print on the right was an interesting find. What I'll do with it--don't know. It would make a cool center for a quilt with several borders (plain and/or pieced) along the edges. I love that it has a New England village field to it. As for the rest of the fabrics, I loved the light lime batik, the dots were a fun color combination, and the ladies are already, I believe, part of the stash I have set aside for the someday decorating of the sewing room.

My Mom uses double-sided, pre-quilted fabric to make a thing called a potato bag--used to microwave baked potatoes to perfection. When I saw the parrot and tropical print, I knew it was the potato-bag fabric for me! The mushy print on the left just called to me, as did the farm-y one on the right. But the parrots....

And finally. There was a booth selling fat quarters for VERY good prices. It was jam packed in there, but people were being very generous by passing things back to others who had their eyes on something. Great source for stash-building, a little bit of everything, and I bought duplicates of the ones I was particularly fond of--like the soft green and pink on at the bottom. I don't know what I'll do with it exactly, but I am looking forward to having the chance.

What I don't have in my hands right now are the baby flannels I bought for me (that I offered to share with Rich's niece) and the fabrics I picked up for my Mom for a special project she's working on. So when I get the flannels back, I'll share them. I won't get all of the others back--I guess I did a pretty good job of choosing fabrics for Mom because she kept several of them. More to come on the display quilts soon!

Links you'll love: April 19

I was out of town this weekend--Quilt Festival in Chicago, time spent with my Mom and my best guy, and a quick trip up to Sheboygan for a fashion show including one of my favorite teenagers. The Jeep saw lots of miles and the weekend flew by. But even with all that busyness, I've got some links to share with you from this week.

Crafty Princess Diaries
While doing some spring cleaning, Tammy made some interesting jewelry discoveries. You just never know what you might find when you try to get organized.

The Artful Crafter
Do companies offer free craft products to the general public for testing?
Aileen's Musings
Are you in need of a royal crown? Aileen has an oldie but goodie tutorial she's sharing with you. Cross Stitch
Connie's sharing a free pattern that was inspired by a piece of artwork she saw in an episode of Monk. You never know what the source of inspiration will be.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
See how to make recycled thigh high socks inspired by the book Color Knitting The Easy Way.

About Family Crafts
Not knowing much about iris folding, Sherri rolled up her sleeves, gave it a try, and shares her step-by-step adventure and free templates with you.

Cathie Filian
Cathie is doing back flips over the release of her new book, 101 Snappy Fashions!

Craftside--A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there are tutorials on how to crochet a "no-chain" foundation row, 17 ways to crop a photo, draw flames with Drew Brophy, change the color in a free cherry blossom print download and a call for entries for 1000 Steampunk Inspirations.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Mother's Day is coming soon and Madge has you covered. Check out her mom friendly card project, recipe and jewelry design!

Mixed Media Artist
There's a lot to be learned about texture when you work with a monochromatic palette!

I'll share my fabrics and finds from Festival in the coming days. And I hope to start cutting into some fabric very soon!

A quilt for me -- Storm at Sea

The other day, I ran across a book from C&T Publishing called "A new light on Storm at Sea quilts" by Wendy Mathson. The quilt shop I visited previously,, mentioned the book on their site. In looking into it further, I noticed several things. First, it's a quilt I have considered making in the past, but the twist on this one is that there's a tool created to make the block easier to make and more accurate. I do love tools that let me piece a little less-than-perfect and still have everything fit together once you've trimmed the block. Then, after I bought the book, I discovered that my friend and former coworker Carol Zentgraf was a technical editor on it. And though I had always thought I'd do an off-center log cabin with the fabrics (like this one), I think this might be the answer to my newest quilt idea.

When I left McCall's Needlework, I'd just made a slipcover for a chair using a tulip fabric that I loved. It combined royal blue, purple, and a dark green with a teal blue tinge on an ivory ground with gold tipping. At that point, I started collecting fabrics to make a quilt based on that fabric's color combination. I've moved these fabrics from Birmingham to Northwest Arkansas to Chicagoland to Milwaukee to central Wisconsin and back to Milwaukee. And I think now might be the time to finally cut into them! Then, the remaining fabrics can be put in their correct color container and I can enjoy sleeping under a quilt that's been rolling around in my head for years.

I worked on organizing the sewing room again this weekend

I spent Sunday afternoon trying to finish up the cleaning and tidying and organizing of the sewing & craft & stamping & quilting room. (Doesn't that seem like a lot of titles for one room--maybe it should be more than one room....)

I put all of the beads into one big storage container from Plano Molding. Rich gave me four of them that he wasn't using a while ago. He thought they might help me get organized. (He's always thinking of me!) And he was right. I was able to organize most all of my jewelry-making supplies into the three large and two small containers stored inside the big ole box (which is stored underneath the dresser). And the whole containers is ORGANIZED! One small container has jewelry projects that need something or are already ready to be something (all the parts for a pair of earrings, for example), the other small container holds extra clasps, jump rings, head pins, etc., one of the big boxes holds strands of beads, another holds seed beads, and the remaining box holds miscellaneous beads. The only things that don't fit in the box are the flexible beading wires and other stringing materials and the tools. And the lunch-room trays that I use sometimes to organize things while I'm beading. And now, all of it is tucked away.

I also got all of my cross-stitch and embroidery supplies, floss, fabrics, etc. in the drawers of the dresser, so that dresser is full of great craft stuff! Smocking in the bottom drawer, embroidery in the middle, and jewelry in the top!

I was able to get rid of some things, making space to actually put away other things. I was able to clear off the rack and put the quilts on it. The three-drawer plastic container now holds things it should instead of random stuff poorly organized. And I threw away a big bag of stuff that needed to go. I can now navigate the entire length of the room without stepping over anything. The only thing I have to do still is set up the quilting machine. And then, its on to cutting out baby Violet's paper doll quilt, my sister's Stack-n-Whack, and my next quilt, a Storm at Sea. I'll talk more about that in the next few days.

Great fabric sale = a shop went out of business

I believe that the first quilt shop I ever shopped at was called Stitches n Stuffing in Naperville, Illinois. I remember going there on occasion in high school and college. I remember that they had a ton of patterns (which is what drew my Mom in) and a huge classroom, and a very large shop. I remember that they had pre-pleated smocked bishop dresses and bubbles so you could just smock and finish them. On several of my trips home over the last year, I'd meant to get there, but never did.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a shop I discovered this They were having a great sale--quilt fabric for $6/yard. Of course, I couldn't make it to the sale because it was one of my weekends in Milwaukee and those are precious to me. But they continued the sale the next weekend--a weekend I would be back down in Chicagoland. Of course I went. Of course I found some fabric that I wanted to bring home with me. But the strange part was that I notice some labels on the fat quarters marked "Stitches n Stuffing".

Turns out, Stitches n Stuffing closed over the winter. One of my Mom's friends had gotten an email about it. Finally, the tags and the great deals on the fabric made sense. And though I love my finds, I feel sad that the shop closed. But I'm grateful for the shop that first introduced me to quilting.

Links You'll Love: April 3

Lots going on, and I've been thinking a lot about quilts. It all started with a newsletter that I got from They had an awesome sale last weekend, which I missed, but luckily, they had a follow-up sale THIS weekend, which I didn't miss! I'll share fabric photos later. Also, I've been thinking about making a new quilt and also cutting into and creating my sister's Stack-n-Whack quilt. I'll post more in the days and weeks ahead, but meanwhile, here are some links for this week.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Who better to craft for than the furry critters in your house? And they so appreciate it!

The Artful Crafter
Does your craft space need de-cluttering? Here are some ways to donate your excess projects and supplies.

The Crochet Dude
Drew thought he might have to freeze himself to avoid going bonkers while waiting to reveal his next full-length book!

Aileen's Musings
Aileen's cooked up a printable recipe card with her delicious Strawberry Spring cake recipe.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
The Easter Bunny is almost here and Madge has a calorie free jewelry tribute to her favorite holiday candy! Get your Pretty in Peeps Pendant here!

Mixed Media Artist
Want to try doing gel glue resists? Oh, the possibilities!

About Family Crafts
April is National Volunteer Month and Sherri has some creative ways you can help others.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside's got a bit of ballerina brilliance from the new book Mixed-Media Dollhouses, how to make shag on knitting, a fun recycled decoupage and office supply project and our author make and take schedule for Unique LA.

Cathie Filian
Enter to win a signed advanced copy of Cathie's new baby fashion book and $130 worth of goodies!!

A plastic flower solution for my 3-D wall art

Many years ago, I found this metal urn--basically, it's a 3-D wire sculpture that's slightly domed out and resembles an urn--it's not as deep as if it was an urn that was cut in half, but it does have depth. When I bought it, I had this great idea of turning it into a larger 3-D wall art piece, but never could get all of it pulled together, so I've just used it as wall art as-is.

Let me explain what I had in mind. I thought I'd start with a big primed canvas on stretchers. When I say big, I mean 24" wide x 48" or so tall. I'd add a wooden support across the back where I'd attach the urn, which measures about 17" wide, 24" high, and 4" deep. I planned to paint the canvas first, with a base color and then maybe some very bright flowers. But I wanted to have some three-dimensional flowers "in" the urn, extending out from the artwork. Now remember, I'm not really a painter, and I hadn't yet figured out how I was going to actually paint this, much less how I was going to create 3-D flowers. I thought about paper flowers, considered fabric flowers, and have been stymied on this project for probably 6 years.

But today I received a newsletter from (Better Homes & Gardens) and there was a link to a slide show about recycled garden art. And it made me think that it's possible that I've found the answer to how to make the 3-D flowers. I'll need to ponder this a little more, but I'm pretty excited about the possibilities, thanks to Dave and!

Links You'll Love: March 21

What a nutty week! I have been working on some mental quilting lately (as opposed to actually quilting or making anything), and it really got my mind running. In my urge to do some spring cleaning, I've decided that this week I have to get finished organizing the sewing room so I can move on to other rooms. But because I'm spoiled, I wanted to be in one room tonight, so I'm working on organizing the bedroom first. Any ideas for organizing my jewelry? I have a pegboard, another that just needs trim, and I bought some picture frames I'm going to fill with velvet and screening, and use for earrings and pins. But if you have other great ideas, post them in the comments please. This place needs to get whipped into shape soon--enough of this mayhem and foolishness, as Niecy Nash on Clean House says. But I took a break and wandered the web a bit. Here's what my pals are up to.

The Artful Crafter
Have you seen Xyron’s Creatopia? Prepare to be amazed by the baby booties going through a Creatopia in the video!

About Family Crafts
Celebrate spring with Sherri and these fun craft projects!

Craftside--A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a fun Steampunk style socket set bracelet, how to repurpose a canvas tote with applique and make faux patches, a peek into some cool art from the book Digital Illustration, a hot water bottle gets Re-Bound and a how to and tips on vampire drawing.

Crafty Princess Diaries
The Crafty Princess has done some house cleaning, at least she's been cleaning up her blog that is.

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Where do you find inspiration? Madge wants to know! Share her process from inspiration to design in this inspired post!
Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to make recycled plastic bunny ears inspired by the techniques in the book Upcycled Accessories

Cathie Filian
Check out Cathie's silk screen projects for Better Homes and Gardens. She has something for everyone.

Mixed Media Artist
See how you can achieve the look of a hand-tinted print with Photoshop!

Christmas in July at the Quilt Shop, part 2

So as I mentioned in my previous post, the quilt shop I managed in Florida had a Christmas in July 12 days of Christmas kit sale. Here are a few more of the projects we kitted.

This was a very easy project--a wine bottle bag. Simply sew a rectangle in place, box the bottom by folding in the corners, and voila. Made up in a fine Hoffman fabric, it was great.

The tree skirt was made up with another Hoffman fabric. Again, easy-peasy. We folded it into eighths, cut straight across to form the octogon, slit the back, cut the hole in the center and there it is!
A folded star ornament was two sided and made in a beautiful print (might it have been another Hoffman?). I really don't remember how it was made, but I remember being intrigued by it. I must have those instructions somewhere....

This snowman (the only one to be seen in Florida THAT year) was made of batting, sticks, knit fabric, and scraps. The pattern is obviously from The Quilted Rabbit (I can read that!) and it was quick and easy to make.

Another wall quilt from a pattern pack. Fused applique as before, whimsical, and again, quick and easy. I love the way the shapes have almost a cookie-cutter line to them--nothing too complicated.

And finally, a Christmas stocking. Shadow applique was used for the cuff--basically, you choose bright colors of fabric, fuse them to the undersurface, overlay it with a sheer fabric, put batting behind it for tuft, hand-quilt through the layers to outline around the appliques and add definition and detail, and then turn it into a cuff. I love the look of shadow applique--I really do want to explore it further, but I feel it's more appropriately used in small ways, like this stocking cuff instead of large ways, like as a block in a quilt. But that's my personal opinion.

So there it is, the 12 (okay, 11) days of Christmas sale from times gone by. Finding and scanning these photos has been fun for me--getting reinspired by ideas that were rolling around in my head back then.

Links You'll Love: March 15

It was a nutty weekend, and this morning, on my way to work, I had that "uh oh" moment--as in "uh oh, I forgot to post my links you'll love!" No real excuse except that I was all over the Chicagoland area, spending time with family, friends, and my main squeeze. I did get to go to a quilt show and saw some great quilts and actually stopped myself from buying any fabric. So before I keep you waiting any longer, here's what's in the roundup this week.

The Artful Crafter
Looking for canning jar art ideas and supplies? Let Eileen help you out with resources and tips.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi wants to know: which of your new years resolutions are you actually going to keep?

Craftside--A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has a fun St. Patrick's Day necklace with a tutorial on how to make a flat coil head pin, instructions on how to make an adjustable lace up shirt alteration, a free round topped box template download and some cool Collage Lab stuff.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy has another book review. This one looks at Pretty Little Presents, a book about stitching up small gift items.

About Family Crafts
If you are planning a slumber party, check out this list of crafts projects that will help the time fly.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to sew a recycled tank and t-shirt dress inspired by one of the projects from the book Twinkle Sews by Wenlan Chia

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Had your eyes checked lately? Madge did...and was she surprised to find out she needs glasses!

Christmas in July at the Quilt Shop, part 1

Back in 1998, when I lived in Florida, I managed a quilt shop. In July, we ran a 12 days of Christmas in July promotion where we kitted and sold different projects each day. Once again, I ran across photos while organizing. I'm going to share some in this post and in a post in the next few days. I really loved creating these projects--some were purchased patterns that we bundled with fabric selections and others were a bit more random. So without further ado:

This one was hand-quilted using pearl cotton, I think, in appropriate colors. It was referred to as "quick stitch" or "big stitch" at the time--I can't remember which. This was a small wall banner--maybe 6 inches across and 16 inches long.

This was a Christmas panel we had in the store and coordinating fabrics. The bottom is a pocket for Christmas cards, stiffened with interfacing to keep it hanging upright.

For this little green wreath, we ordered green doilies, sewed them together around the center hole by machine, then turned it right side out, sewed along the edge of the lace, leaving an opening, stuffed it, hand-sewed the opening closed, and added a metallic bow and hanger.

Another pattern pack packaged with batiks and marbles. I loved this pattern. I wish I could remember who created the pattern, but I can't read that little type. It was a good-sized wall-hanging and all the pieces were fused in place.
This was one of the favorites -- we were the Beaches Quilt Shop, after all. We drew a palm tree, used a zebra stripe for the trunk, and hand-sewed little faux lights on the trees. Having been there for a Christmas, I saw first hand that the residents of the Beaches actually did decorate the palm trees in their front yards, and I thought it was the coolest thing! So this was a must-have.

Coming soon, the other days. So far, I've only found 11 of the 12 projects, so we might have to pretend. The 12th will turn up sooner or later, I'm sure.

An easy way to paint the walls in a kid's room

Several years ago (and when I say several, I mean maybe a decade ago), my nephew (now 15) was obsessed with Lego's and Fisher-Price, and his favorite incarnations of these toys were pirates, castles, knights, and dragons. He's also peeled the wallpaper off the walls of his room, which had been his nursery (sorry to air the dirty laundry, sister dear). The room really needed an update. So sister dear stripped the wallpaper and put a basecoat on the walls. And over Christmas break, we got a little nutty and did this.

As for the how we did it.
  1. Rent an overhead projector or opaque projector.
  2. Find a coloring book with the images you want to use.
  3. Make copies of the page on transparency (for an overhead projector).
  4. Buy a whole bunch of acrylic paint and brushes. And Sharpies. (Much to my Mom's horror -- "how will you ever cover that up?") Don't forget the pencils.
  5. Pop the first image on the wall and determine the right size for the image. (I think ours are about 3 feet tall.) Trace it on the wall with the pencil.
  6. Repeat on the other walls with the other images.
  7. Paint sections as desired. It's like a coloring book on steroids!
  8. Once it's dry, draw outlines and fine lines using a permanent marker.

I did the pirate ship. My sister and brother-in-law did the castle. Since we started at 8pm, my nephew was supposed to be sleeping in the other room. But every once in a while, as we discussed what color certain things should be, we'd hear this little voice reminding us that the knights should be red and black, the banners should be different colors, etc. So finally, since he wasn't sleeping, we brought him in to act as color consultant.

I ran across these photos the other day in my organizing binge. The photo I'm missing is the one of the dragonslaying. They're still on the walls of his bedroom, mostly covered up with posters and furniture now. At some point, we'll have to paint over them, I know. And I'm okay with that. This was a very fun project to do, with a lot of laughter, though not at all as artistic as real mural painting. But it's a great way to add fun artwork to a child's room.

Links You'll Love: March 5

Here's to the start of a productive weekend! In addition to doing a little museum touring in my own town, I hope to get some more work done in the sewing room. And maybe get a few other projects finished or at least started. Meanwhile, a few links to get your weekend started!

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy shows off some jewelry she and her husband made for a local charity auction, perfect for animal lovers!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to make Egg Cup pincushions inspired by a wonderful project in I "Heart" Patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale

The Artful Crafter
Take a spin with Eileen and Shaaron on the Craft-N-Spin crafting turntable.

Craftside--A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside's got a post about working with grids in mixed media, a ribbon embellished quilt from The Quilt Bible, 3rd Edition, tips on outlining a photo and a bunch of journal pages from 1000 Artist Journals.

About Family Crafts
Sherri shares some suggestions to help you celebrate National Craft Month.

Beading Arts
Cyndi is running a contest on Beading Arts, and the prize is an absolutely free advertisement!

Aileen's Musings
Aileen's altered a pair of old white tennis shoes and gave them a whole new look....they were pretty wild but she's toned them down with some spray webbing. She's even worn them out and about and received some great compliments on them!

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Ever wondered what it takes to get a craft book published? Join Madge in this first installment in her How To Write and Publish a Craft Book series