Category Archives: Holiday Crafts

Carolyn and Tom’s 1st party!

I worked really hard the last couple of weeks to get ready for our first party that we’ve hosted as a married couple (aside from our wedding reception). I’ve been gradually moving my stuff in to our home which had already been Tom’s home for quite awhile. In preparation of getting married, Tom gave away some of his old furniture so that we could combine our furniture and use what was most useful and most to our taste. We both have a lot of hand me down furniture so whatever we do is going to end up pretty eclectic. We both have a fondness for Mid-century Modern design and that is the base style of Tom’s house so we are gradually going to go more in that direction as we decorate. We haven’t moved any larger furniture pieces from my condo yet so a couple of rooms are a bit empty for the time being. That worked out well for the party because there was space to set up card tables and TV trays to make a game area.

Tom worked his butt off decorating this room and hanging up pictures and wedding plus other memorabilia. He has a real eye for decorating if you ask me.

Eventually we will add bookshelves, my aquariums and perhaps bean bag chairs to make this kind of a reading/writing/meditation room. The plants really help get the right mood started.

We plan for this alcove to eventually hold a Mid-Century Modern storage and display shelf unit. We haven’t decided yet whether to custom build it or buy parts, but what we have in mind is something that looks mod and takes the place of a china cabinet with both open and closed areas for storage and display. For temporary use, I put up a couple of card tables to use for a food overflow and game table and used metal display racks that I use for craft shows to display banners that I sewed together a few years back. While making those and two related table runners I rubber-stamped some of the fabrics I used. I set up my lava lamp and made some small floral arrangements here and there to try to tie the colors together. One of the guests gave us the lovely pumpkin full of candy as a housewarming gift. We love it! The serving tray was my Mom’s from the 1970s – it’s a souvenir from Rockhome Gardens, a tourist attraction in Illinois that we visited when I was very young on one of our many Sunday drives. I’m going to blog about how I made the faux clock candle sconces soon so stay tuned for that!

Here is the main food table. I put together a simple veggie and dip tray and the guests were starting to fill the rest of the table with food they brought. We were blessed with lots of food!

Tom and I love the 1970’s-looking nature mural on the wall and we are not planning on changing it. I displayed some felt crows I made last year with some faux flowers and Colonial Candles from Schnarr’s Hardware.

I made some turkey chili with black beans and butternut squash. I set up a cheese fondue in my rice cooker set on warm (since I don’t have a fondue set) and served it with bread cubes and cut up sausage kept warm in an electric skillet. In this photo you can see a couple of pieces of the retro glassware I like to collect. That was a hobby my Mom and I shared – she loved looking for Mid-Century ceramics and I loved looking for Mid-Century glassware. Neither of our collections was particularly complete or cohesive because we just bought when we saw something we liked for a bargain price. More items from our collections will appear in our house as Tom and I work on it. My collectibles inspire me a lot in my design work and I like to have them around me and put them to use if I can.

I set up fondue chocolate in my potpourri crock pot and served it with dunking cookies, grapes, marshmallows, pineapple and strawberries.

My photo of the drinks table didn’t take – a shame! But I’ll get it next time. I want to show off Tom’s really cool Mid-Century punch bowl!

The pool of recipes I used for inspiration for food and drink are on this Pinterest board if you want to check some of them out.
https://www.pinterest.com/chasenfratz/recipes/possible-fall-party-menu/

Make St. Patrick’s Day Cards

St. Patrick's Day Cards
Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! Wish good luck and celebrate spring by making St. Patrick’s Day Cards!

Supplies and Materials
Cardstock and a variety of decorative papers in shades of green
Downloadable templates “St. Patrick’s Day Card 1” and “St. Patrick’s Day Card 2”
Scoring tool
Tracing paper
Chipboard (can be scrap – for making templates)
Flower punch
Small circle punch
Paper flower embellishments
Eyelets
Eyelet setter
Metal ruler
Craft knife and blades (X-Acto or something similar)
Cutting mat
Pencil
Eraser
Rubber stamps (St. Patrick’s Day, appropriate greeting, Celtic designs, spirals)
Stamping ink pads and re-inkers in the following colors: dark brown, shades of green
Acrylic stamp mounting blocks
Double-sided tape
Paper cutter
Awl or needle tool
Small hole punch
Scissors
Decorative scissors
Glue stick
Masking tape
Hammer
Decorative brads
Optional – buttons, white craft glue such as Turbo Tacky Glue, needle, thread

The first part of the process for the pair of cards is to stamp out St. Patrick’s Day and Celtic motifs onto small pieces of scrap paper. Use stamping inks in various shades of green and dark brown. Mix in some neutrals if you want. You can make the backgrounds more interesting with the use of background stamps or techniques such as brayering.

Once you have a quantity of stamped pieces finished and the ink is dry, gather them together with some scraps of paper in various shades of green. Make a collage by gluing these scraps down with a glue stick onto a 1/2 sheet of white cardstock. You can create interest by cutting the scraps into smaller pieces by tearing while using a ruler as a straight edge or by cutting apart with decorative scissors. Burnish your collage periodically with a bone folder under a piece of clean scrap paper so the glue has a nice tight seal. Set aside for now and let the glue dry.

Collage made with scrap paper and paper pieces that I stamped with rubber stamps.
Collage made with scrap paper and paper pieces that I stamped with rubber stamps.

Directions for St. Patrick’s Day Card #1

St. Patrick's Day Greeting Card

1. Download and print out the template “St. Patrick’s Day Card #1”.

2. Cut a 8.5 x 5.5″ size piece of card stock to use as the background of your card. Score it  and fold it in half.

2. Trace the shamrock from the template onto the back of dark green decorative paper. Cut out the shamrock with scissors. If you want to make several cards, you can trace the shamrock onto chipboard and cut it out to use multiple times for tracing.

3. Trace the half-leaf shape onto chipboard and cut out. Trace onto four different pieces of decorative paper in different shades of green. Instead of pre-made decorative paper you can use some parts of your collage if you want (if you do this be sure to leave at least a 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″ sized piece intact to use on card #2). Glue the half petals in place as shown on the card sketch in the PDF file.

4. Cut out a narrow strip (3/4″ wide) of light colored paper and stamp or glue a sentiment onto it. Glue this onto a slightly wider (1″ wide) paper strip. Glue to front of card and trim.

5. Glue the shamrock down in place on the front of the card.

6. Punch out a flower shape with a punch and glue down in center of shamrock.

7. Punch out a small circle and glue in place on the strip near the bottom of the card.

8. Punch two holes for eyelets in the center of where the two flower embellishments will go. You can use a small hole punch or a needle tool or awl to start the hole. If the hole is not large enough to accept the eyelet you can enlarge the hole with paintbrush handle or other handy tool.

9. Push the eyelets through the holes and set with the eyelet setter.

Variation – use buttons as embellishments instead of the paper flowers. Attach by gluing with white craft glue then further secure by sewing.

Directions for St. Patrick’s Day Card #2

St. Patrick's Day Greeting Card

1. Download and print out the template “St. Patrick’s Day Card #2”.

2. Cut a 8.5 x 5.5″ size piece of card stock to use as the background of your card, score it, and fold it in half.

3. Cut out a 3.75 x 5″ size piece of dark green cardstock.

4. Trace the shamrock from the template onto the back of the dark green cardstock. Cut out the shamrock with a craft knife. If you cut carefully, you can use the cutout to make another card. If you want to make several cards, you can save your first cutout and use it multiple times for tracing.

5. Get your collage out and cut a 3 7/8″ x 5 1/8″ size piece out of it. Position your dark green cutout piece over it and place those on top of your folded cardstock card base. Make sure the three layers line up correctly. If you decide you want a sentiment or other embellishment in the lower left area where there is some space, now would be a good time to add it.

6. Using the printed out template as a guide, poke holes in all three layers with an awl or needle tool.

7. Push decorative brads through the holes and spread prongs on the back side. You’re done!

Some of the rubber stamps and papers I used in this project are by 7gypsies by Canvas Corp Brands and Inkadinkado. The “Good Luck” stamp is by Carolyn Hasenfratz Design and the celtic and spiral stamps are hand carved by me.

If you would like to make envelopes for these cards here is a template that will fit:
http://www.limegreennews.com/documents/templates/envelope_template_rectangular.pdf

Extra tip: If you have heart punches or stencils, you can make a three or four leaf clovers for yet more cards from three or four heart shapes!

See my Pinterest site and past lesson plans for ideas and craft projects.
https://www.pinterest.com/chasenfratz/
http://www.limegreennews.com/lessons.html

Making Greeting Cards From Scrap Papers

Do you have the patience for playing around with lots of fiddly paper bits? If so you might enjoy collecting paper scraps and making them into interesting greeting cards. I’ll show you how gluing small bits of paper to strips of scrap cardstock can give you exciting design options.

Tools and Supplies:
Self-healing cutting mat
Paper cutter
Rubber stamps with greetings and sentiments
Permanent black rubber stamping ink
Clean scrap paper
Bone folder
Glue sticks
Scissors
Metal ruler
Corner rounder
Old food lid to use as a palette
Rubber stamping ink in complementary colors
Rubber eraser with flat sides
Palette knife and/or old credit cards for spreading glue
Yes Paste

An assortment of recycled papers:here are some suggested sources
Gift wrap and tissue
Gift tags
Books
Calendars
Folders
Used postage stamps
Magazines and catalogs
Old greeting cards
Wallpaper samples
Paint sample cards
Attractive product packaging
Scrapbooking paper scraps
Scraps from your old projects
Paper company sample books and promos
Ephemera from travel – maps, brochures, tickets, etc.

I’ll show you two different card designs that you can make by collaging scraps of paper onto cardstock strips.

Make an assortment of collaged strips

1. Cut some strips from plain scrap cardstock that are 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. Old folders are a good source of scrap cardstock weight paper.

Strips of scrap cardstock and paper scraps ready for gluing
Strips of scrap cardstock and paper scraps ready for gluing

2. Lay out a bunch of small paper scraps and glue them down in a row down each strip. You might choose papers at random or try to follow a planned color scheme. When glue is dry enough to handle, use a scissors to trim the strips from the back to make the edges even.

Gluing paper scraps onto the cardstock strips
Gluing paper scraps onto the cardstock strips

3. Choose a color of rubber stamping ink that will help unify your design and squirt a little of it onto an old food lid. Dip the edge of a flat-sided eraser in the ink and apply a line of ink to the edges of your collaged strips. This is a small step that makes a huge difference in the visual appeal of your finished piece.

The strip at the lower left is in the process of having scraps glued to it. The middle strip has been trimmed and the upper right strip has been stamped along the edge with rubber stamping ink.
The strip at the lower left is in the process of having scraps glued to it. The middle strip has been trimmed and the upper right strip has been stamped along the edge with rubber stamping ink.

Instructions to make card design #1:

1. Print a selection of sentiments with permanent rubber stamping ink on strips of light colored paper to use on the card that you make. Select one to use as the main theme of your card.

Rubber stamped sentiments on strips of scrap paper.
Rubber stamped sentiments on strips of scrap paper.

2. Choose a piece of scrap cardstock or heavy paper to use for the base of your card. Fold it in half. Measure the front of your card.

3. Next select a piece of thin scrap paper that would make a good background for the front of the card. Tear out a piece that is 1/2 inch smaller than the front of your card, using the metal ruler as a tearing aid.

For example, if you fold an 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch piece of paper in half, the front of the card will measure 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches and the background paper for the front of the card should be 3 3/4 x 5 inches.

4. Next choose a simple shape to put on the front of the card – you could trace around a found object, use a cookie cutter or a stencil as a source. Trace one copy of this shape onto plain scrap cardstock. Make another tracing on the back of a piece of paper that harmonizes with the chosen colors for your card.

5. Cut out both shapes with scissors. Set aside the one in the harmonious color to glue to your card later.

6. Take the shape on plain cardstock and glue your sentiment across the middle or wherever looks best. Just below the sentiment, glue a section of one of your collaged and inked strips from earlier.

7. Moving from the inside to the edges, glue strips of scrap paper in complementary colors on either side of your sentiment and collaged strip for a striped effect. Cut around the base shape to trim when all covered.

8. Using the glue stick glue the colored shape you cut out earlier to the front of the card.

9. You will probably need some more robust glue to hold the collaged and inked shape since all the layers of paper will have made it pretty thick. Use Yes Paste to attach the striped shape to the front of the card. Trim if needed.

10. If needed, glue plain light colored scrap paper to the inside of the card to make a clean area for writing a message.

Instructions to make card design #2:

This second card design is designed to made from a piece of 4 1/4 inch by 8 1/2 inch cardstock.

1. Fold the cardstock in half and the front of the card will end up as a 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 square.

2. Cut a 3 3/4 by 3 3/4 inch square from plain scrap cardstock.

3. Glue a sentiment, a collged and inked strip and scrap paper strips to the cardstock square.

4. Trim around the square and round the corners with a corner rounding tool.

5. Glue the trimmed square to the front of the card with Yes Paste.

Extra Tips and Techniques for working with paper:
Cover up unwanted parts of found papers by laminating with other paper.
You can get wrinkles out of paper by ironing.
How does one glue down delicate tissue paper? Stabilize by gluing to a stiffer piece of paper with a glue stick and smooth out wrinkles with a bone folder.
When working on other projects, if you have leftover paint or ink use it up on plain paper scraps. Save these scraps and add to them whenever you have leftover art media. In time, you will have a lot of interesting scraps to work with.
If your paper project warps or curls, press it between heavy books with clean scrap paper around it to protect both card and books.

Embellishments that can be recycled and used on cards:
Buttons
Thread, string and yarn
Ribbon and trim
Fabric scraps
Wire
Beads and charms
Game pieces

Christmas Craft Bender – Part 2

Here is another chapter in my post-Christmas wrap-up!

I made quite a few felt ornaments as gifts. I really love to give ornaments with pockets as gifts because they can be made into a more substantial gift by tucking something in the pocket such as gift card or some money. Small objects like jewelry, flash drives, memory cards or candy could be included. Or for a gift with a lot of value other than monetary, you could put personal notes or prayers in the pocket.

Felt heart with pocket – this design could work for Valentine’s Day of course, but I made a few in Christmas colors to serve as tree ornaments.
Here is the flower Pocket Treasure Keeper made in colors that a friend of mine likes.
Here is a version of the flower made in Christmas colors.

The patterns for the ornaments shown came from the book “Forest Fairy Crafts” by Lenka Vodicka-Paredes and Asia Currie. When I first started teaching at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts, the Education Coordinator lent me this book from the classroom library to get ideas for kids hand sewing projects. I haven’t made any of the fairies in the book but I have made six different projects from the Pocket Treasure Keepers section. I’ve taught these projects to kids and adults and they are a big hit with both groups. Pockets are just really fun! I changed the stitching and design details on some of my samples but used the patterns unaltered. The patterns are very easy to use because they are printed at actual size.

Besides super cute patterns, “Forest Fairy Crafts” contains tips for teaching hand-sewing to kids. There are overviews of materials and basic skills plus a handy troubleshooting page. The directions are easy to follow and the photos are clear and beautiful. If you are interested in teaching a child how to sew or just want to make the appealing projects I highly recommend “Forest Fairy Crafts”.

Finally Finished My New Year Cards!

For many years I’ve responded to Christmas Cards by sending out New Year cards – I explained why I do that in this previous blog post: Why I Send New Year Cards Instead of Christmas Cards.

I started this year’s design by collaging small pieces of paper onto scrap paper strips that were about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches wide. I began with the numbers “2018” which I cut from the 7gypsies papers Paddington Blackfriars and American Vintage: 12×12 State Plates Paper. I filled in the paper strips with assorted scrap papers from my small scrap box.

Next I rubbed on some images from the set Architextures™ Parchment Rub-On – Build which were a good fit for my chosen theme “Let’s build a great 2018!”. I added a bit of Tim Holtz paper tape.

I trimmed my strips with scissors to make the edges as even a possible then I scanned them and used Adobe Photoshop software to refine my trimming job and arranged some of the strips into a rectangular digital collage for the front of the card. I made a selection outline of all the areas with the year numbers and turned up the contrast so that they would stand out more. I added some grid designs and hardware looking graphics using Adobe Illustrator then I saved a PDF file of my cards to take to the printer.

While I was working on the collages for my New Year card, I also completed a project for Canvas Corp Brands. I’ve been selected for the 2018 CCB Creative Crew , the design team that makes samples and comes up with projects for Canvas Corp Brands products. Our first challenge was to decorate a 4 x 4 inch canvas in a way that highlights our personal style.

To create the above decorated mixed media canvas I cut three of my collage strips to fit the 4 x 4 inch stretched canvas from Canvas Corp.

I squirted some StazOn Timber Brown permanent rubber stamping ink onto an old food lid to use as a palette. I used the side of an eraser to print a line of Timber Brown along the edges of each collage strip.

I painted my canvas with yellow acrylic paint and allowed it to dry.

Then I applied Tattered Angels Color Wash paint in Rose Gold with a brush along the sides and around the edges of the canvas.

To finish my canvas, I glued the collage strips to the front with Turbo Tacky Glue and nailed tiny tacks into the corners of each paper piece. All done!

Making Holiday Centerpieces From Natural Materials

Holiday party centerpiece made with donated and natural materials
Holiday party centerpiece made with donated and natural materials


Litzinger Road Ecology Center has an annual Holiday party for volunteers. I wasn’t able to go because I went to the Master Gardener party instead which was the same day. I did however get to participate in the fun of making centerpieces from natural materials and donated flower arranging supplies.

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware Blog:
Making Holiday Centerpieces From Natural Materials

Christmas Craft Bender Part 1

I’ve been so busy making Christmas presents that I haven’t had much time to write about them. I’m still working on making and giving even though Christmas Day was a couple of days ago. In my religion Christmas lasts until December 6, so I’m not worried!

Melissa and Stephanie from Schnarr's Hardware on Halloween and the Elsa and Anna ornaments
The lovely Melissa and Stephanie from Schnarr’s Hardware on Halloween and the Elsa and Anna ornaments I made

At Schnarr’s Hardware in Old Webster, we handed out treats on Halloween. Melissa and Stephanie dressed up as Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen. We were using some Frozen fabric in a holiday project for the teaching department at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. I decided I knew a couple of people who needed Frozen ornaments for Christmas! I cut out the Elsa and Anna images from flannel fabric and sewed them to felt circles. I added sequins and beads and a little decorative stitching with embroidery thread and decorative iridescent thread, sewed in a ribbon hanger and stuffed the ornaments. These were such fun to make!

Tom and my new craft room!

My fiance Tom is pictured on the left with the fleece blanket I made for him from St. Louis Cardinals themed fabric. I got some much needed practice sewing fleece on a machine and it sure feels nice to snuggle with him under this blanket! I just adore fleece! I was moved to tears when I saw his Christmas gift to me on the right – a craft room! This is located in my future home where I will move after we get married in August 2018. Tom is quite a guy, wouldn’t you say? I am so lucky to have him in my life!

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