Fun Demos at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts – Pom Poms, Tassels and Ornaments

I love showing people how to use products and helping them make stuff! I got the chance to do that yesterday at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. First I demonstrated how to use the Boye Pom Pom & Tassel Maker. I had a lot of fun making samples for this demo and the customers had a great time trying out the kit. It’s really fun and useful for crafters of all ages.

Making pom poms with the Boye Pom Pom & Tassel Maker

I made a garland and decorated gift packaging ahead of time for the demo. I’m also going to use the tassel tool for making a tassel necklace and some boot cuffs. Personal adornment sure does provide a lot of potential for tassels and pom poms!

Making pom poms and ornaments

After the pom pom and tassel demo, I switched to ornament making for the JoAnn Make to Give event supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Participants at our store made 47 ornaments! My boyfriend Tom who also works at JoAnn looks in this picture like I felt after we did all that! It was uplifting to watch kids get creative with the supplies and have fun putting them together. We used clear plastic ornaments that are designed to be filled with fun stuff and decorated them with colorful pom poms, Sharpie paint markers, ribbon, glitter paper, googly eyes, chenille stems, yarn and more. You can see what ornaments people made in JoAnn stores all over the country on Pinterest and Facebook.

Make to Give is happening again on November 28 from 2-7 pm at selected JoAnn stores, so I hope you can join us!

Decorate Gift Packages with Stencils and Chalk

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to make your own stencils from recycled food container lids and use them to decorate personalized gift packages. Many of the stencil designs I used in my demo were traced from nostalgic Christmas cookie cutters that were passed down to me from parents and grandparents. They bring back a lot of happy memories of doing holiday crafts and baking with my Mom. Most of the time making things in preparation for the Holiday was more fun for me than the actual event!

Here is a selection of wrapped boxes and decorating materials to give you an idea of how you can combine markers, stickers, ribbon, twine and tags with your chalked designs.

I designed this project to be something you can do with kids, but I think anyone who enjoys being a little bit playful and making eco-friendly packaging would enjoy this – I know that I had a great time!

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware Blog:
Decorate Gift Packages with Stencils and Chalk

Holiday Table Runner With Wired Burlap Ribbon

To celebrate the Holiday season, here are instructions for making a table runner with some of my favorite supplies – wired burlap ribbon, felt, beads, embroidery thread and sequins!

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware Blog:
Holiday Table Runner With Wired Burlap Ribbon

Strategies for Maintaining My Garden Through the Winter

What do I normally do to prepare my garden for winter? I panic the night before a frost is predicted. I lay old towels on the floor to protect it from dirt and dampness and bring inside all the container plants that are not hardy. When I get time I then stick the plants where I can make some room in my condo which is for the most part not very well-lit. Some of my plants survive this kind of laissez-faire treatment for years but many of them although alive don’t look as good as they could. I think some planning is called for if I want to do better than have hit-or-miss results this year.

Read more on the Schnarr’s Blog:
Strategies for Maintaining My Garden Through the Winter

Make Greeting Cards for Thanksgiving

I finally made a card with the “Happy Thanksgiving” rubber stamp from my Carolyn’s Stamp Store collection. I also experimented with making backgrounds with a paint roller, wood dowels and string. With flower and leaf rubber stamps, some paper tape and scrapbooking paper I made a card design that can be adapted to different fall themes.

Read about how I did it on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:
Textured Backgrounds For Fall Leaf Greeting Cards

Come see me at the Fall Art Walk in Old Webster – October 6-15, 2017

Old Webster Fall Art Walk

Stamping and Printing with Found Objects

I hope you can visit Schnarr’s Hardware in Webster Groves Missouri between October 6 and 15th to see my display for the Old Webster Art Walk!

The theme of my show will be things made from recycled materials. If you’re into upcycling and repurposing, you’ll get a lot of ideas! On Saturday October 7 and 14th, I’ll also be doing a demo in the store from 12-4 pm. On the 7th, see how to make art prints with recycled and found materials. On the 14th, I’ll show you how to make fun fall greeting cards.

Come join us for a self-guided tour of many different area businesses in Webster Groves, all with a different artist and art display. For more information: https://oldwebsterartwalk.com/

Fall Table Runner with Wired Burlap Ribbon

Fall table runner with felt appliqué leaves
Fall table runner with felt appliqué leaves, enhanced with embroidery thread, sequins and beads

This project is inspired by memories of sewing kits that I used to work on when I was a kid. I remember one kit in particular was a calendar printed on burlap with certain areas of the design accented with sequins attached by running thread through seed beads. Here is an original design of mine that reminds me of all that fun!

Tools and Materials

Fall leaves
Scissors
Scrap paper
Heavy books
Marker
Scrap chipboard
Fabric scissors
Ball point pen
Masking tape
Wide burlap ribbon with metallic threads in it – about 9 inches wide
Harvest gold color wired burlap-look ribbon – 1 1/2 inches wide
Felt in a assorted fall leaf colors
Washable fabric marking pen
Gold metallic embroidery thread – six strand
Embroidery thread in off white, rust and dark brown
Assorted size sequins in fall and earthy colors such as ochre, brown, bronze, copper and gold
Copper or bronze colored seed beads – select ones with holes big enough for a threaded needle to pass through twice
Scrap fabric in a rustic color for the ends
Needles – tapestry and embroidery

Directions

Chipboard leaves made as templates
Chipboard leaves made as templates. Leaf veins were drawn on for future reference in designs.

Walk around your neighborhood and collect leaves to use as templates. Choose leaves more for their shape than their color – you want ones that will flatten easily and are roughly the size of your hand and smaller.

Place your leaves on a hard surface like a table between pieces of scrap paper. Stack books or other flat heavy objects on top and allow to sit for several hours to press leaves for easier handling.

Place leaves on scrap chipboard and trace around with marker. Loosely draw where the leaf veins are on the cardboard for future reference. Discard leaves in the compost if you don’t want them for another project. Cut out the chipboard leaves.

Cut a piece of wide burap ribbon the length that you want for your table runner, plus about 4 extra inches for hemming. Before cutting, tape a piece of masking tape just inside where you plan to cut. The tape will help keep the ends of the ribbon from unraveling.

Pin down the hems on the ends but don’t sew yet.

Fold wired burlap ribbon lengthwise and pin along the long sides of the ribbon.

Use tapestry needle and full thickness of the gold embroidery thread to sew the ribbon in place with a running stitch just inside the wired edge.

Trace around the chipboard leaf shapes with a ball point pen on the backs of various colors of felt. Cut out leaf shapes.

Place felt leaves on your runner in an arrangement that you like. Pin in place.

Split lengths of the six-strand gold embroidery thread lengthwise into pieces with three strands each. Use the three-strand pieces to sew a running stitch along the edges of the felt leaves, attaching them to the wide burlap ribbon.

Stitch leaf vein marks using a running stitch with the various embroidery thread colors. For example try rust color thread for the veins on the light brown felt, off-white thread for the ochre felt and dark brown for the gold and orange felt. If it helps to figure out where to sew the leaf veins, refer back to your chipboard leaves and draw the veins on the felt with the washable fabric marker. After you’re done sewing on the leaf viens, dab any washable marker marks that show with a damp cloth to get rid of them.

Accent the leaves with a few scattered sequins on each nestled among the embroidered leaf veins in a manner that suggests the spots and color variations that you find on natural fallen leaves. Hold the sequins on by bringing a thread from the back through a bead, around the side of the bead then back down through the sequin. Go back through each bead at least twice for durability. Sew a few beads by themselves among the sequins.

Pin and fold strips of fabric to the ends to cover up the raw edge of the ribbon. Sew in place with the metallic embroidery thread.

When the fall season is over, store your table runner rolled up so that the wire in the ribbon does not kink.

Book Review: “My Crazy Life Stories from A to Z” by Marilyn Linkul Winka

My Crazy Life Stories from A to Z by Marilyn Linkul Winka
“My Crazy Life Stories from A to Z” by Marilyn Linkul Winka

This is going to be a challenging review for me to write. The author is my aunt and the book is a memoir. Many of the stories are about my family and I was there for some of the incidents so there is no way to read it the same way a typical reader will.

My late Mom Lois was the oldest of three sisters. The middle sister, Marilyn, shares in this book a lot of funny stories about pranks, silly and embarrassing personal foibles, humorous Catholic guilt, plus touching anecdotes and observations. My Mom was not serious all the time but she was far more serious than Marilyn – many people have wondered aloud how they could be related! We know they are though, because they were not totally different. Both enjoyed teaching. Both were hardworking. Both were sincere about their faith. Both were tolerant and compassionate. Both enjoyed self-expression in the forms of writing, singing, dancing and acting.

All our lives the whole family has acknowledged that Marilyn is “crazy” – in the wacky sense, not the mentally ill sense. Most of my favorite parts of the book are about pranks and silliness. Some of the stories made me laugh so hard I was choking on my own snot. (It’s ok to say “snot” now and then, right Marilyn?)

Marilyn is not afraid to poke fun at herself in this book. Some of her prank anecdotes show that she has historically not always been shy about poking fun at others either. I don’t get the impression it was done maliciously. She can forgive herself for occurences that were thoughtless, silly or outrageously obtuse. If you’ve ever had experiences like that, you can laugh along with Marilyn and at yourself as she acknowledges some of her weirdness. Hopefully you can also pick up some of her forgiving attitude. It’s ok to own up to what you did and then let yourself off the hook. She lets a lot of other people off the hook for stuff they did to her too. Opportunities to throw other people under the bus have been passed by. That’s a sign of maturity, perhaps – from someone who has worked hard all her life to teach us that being mature is not always required! For example a bodily function reference is not the end of the world, right?

Life is too short not to bring out your inner child out to play sometimes. I’m in no way as uninhibited in my behavior as my Aunt but I’m unconventional in different ways and I have a high tolerance for and appreciation of eccentricity! Some of the stories in the book are about Marilyn’s father (my Grandfather) and his two brothers. See this picture and explanatory caption below to get a glimpse of the family that produced such as we…

Close up of a diorama I made featuring one of my all-time favorite photos – my Grandfather, Bill, with the corn-cob pipe, pretending to play baseball with his two brothers. They are using an air hockey puck, a racing helmet, a fire helmet and a beggar’s tin cup. You can’t see it in the diorama but Uncle Jack is holding a lollipop. Their front teeth are blacked out with construction paper. Why? Because Linkul, that’s why!

This book is a gift to my family because it preserves a lot of family history. I learned some things about my grandparents, my Mom and others that I did not know before. What is the average reader going to get out of it? Besides some encouragement to laugh at and forgive yourself, this book provides a glimpse of life, culture and history in the greater St. Louis area, especially South St. Louis. It may also inspire you to give a gift to your own family by preserving your favorite stories for future generations to enjoy!

Click here to buy “My Crazy Life Stories from A to Z”.

Disguise Problem Spots with Containers

When choosing containers, first keep in mind what style of garden you have. You can break design “rules” but you will have more predictable success if you try to match the style of pots to the style of home and garden you have.

Read more about container gardening on the Schnarr’s Hardware Blog.


Raising containers off the ground with decorative sandstone pieces
Starting a new container grouping in a bare spot.

Let’s Purge the Spurge! Part 1

One of my frequent landscaping tasks in summer is weeding at clients’ properties. Many of the weeds can be hand-pulled, but on a recent occasion there was such an abundance of Prostrate Spurge (Euphorbia maculata) that it was hopeless to try to pull it in a reasonable amount of time.

Read about how we decided to deal with the Spurge on the Schnarr’s Hardware Blog!


Controlling Prostrate Spurge

At the left is a spurge-infested patch, and on the right is how it looks after the soil is turned over with a spade. Since we are not going to plant anything here, we don’t need to take the time to break up the clay chunks – nature will do the job over time.