I inherited the wedding dresses of my Mother and Grandmother but neither was in a condition to wear for my upcoming wedding, nor did either dress fit me anyway. I decided to take them apart to use what decorations and fabric pieces that I could for the new dress I’m having made and for accessories. The first accessory to be completed is this ring bearer pillow.
The satin flower on top of the bow was one of two that were on my Grandmother’s dress. One had been sewn to each shoulder. The large satin bow had been on my Mom’s dress where the train was attached to the back. I dyed the bow and some of the fabric from my Mom’s dress a light lime green color with Procion MX dye. Lime green is my favorite color and will feature prominently in the festivities along with coral, navy and white.
I sewed a lacy section from Mom’s train to the front of the pillow and embellished it with glass and faux pearl beads. As I sewed on the bow assembly, I added some ribbon for tying the rings on. I spent $0.00 making this because I already had all the supplies I used on hand. I’m very pleased with the results!
As a member of the “gig economy” I do contract and part-time consulting, marketing and customer service work for various clients. Two retailers I work with recently had need of some in-store signage. One is a hardware store and one is a craft supply store and they both sell stencils. I’ve been experimenting with letter stencils to make signage that gets the message across and at the same time demonstrates how to use some of the products that the stores sell.
JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Maplewood, MO has a teaching department of which I am a member. The education coordinator asked each teacher to make a sign or two for the classroom samples display to highlight the categories of classes we teach. I was assigned “Kid’s Crafts” and “Jewelry”. I was given two blank pieces of foamcore already cut to size and access to the classroom supply cabinet. Fun!
I like the look of cut-out letters layered over a background. To help me visualize how to arrange the letters on the foamcore board, I cut out some pieces of scrap chipboard and used a letter stencil to trace the outline of each letter in position. Then I decided what colors to use in the actual sign. Since it’s spelling out “Kid’s Crafts” that’s a good excuse to use some really bright colors!
I traced the letters again onto the colorful cardstock pieces I selected then cut the letters out with an X-acto knife. I’ll save the cutout letters in case another suitable project comes up.
Next I selected papers to use as backgrounds for each letter. I marked the foamcore as a rough guide to where I would place the background for each letter.
A little black and white in a design is a great way to add visual interest. Some of the background papers already have some white in the pattern. To get some black in the design, I outlined each cut letter with a black Sharpie marker and drew some faux sewing stitch lines to help convey the hand crafts theme. The black outline also covered up my pen lines from when I traced the letters. Black Sharpie markers are such an essential part of my tool kit (like glue sticks) that I buy them wholesale because I go through so many!
In order to read well from a distance, I thought some of the letters needed an improvement in the contrast. I added high contrast solid paper behind the letters that needed to pop a bit more. Then I added a strip of black and white paper tape (also known as design tape and washi tape) to the top and bottom edges for a more finished look.
The final finishing touch was to glue on a few colorful buttons here and there. I used a similar design idea to make my sign for Jewelry. That was fun to make because it gave me a chance to use some “shiny” supplies that are appealing but hard to find a use for that is tasteful and appropriate – metallic papers, silver ribbon, glitter papers and plastic jewels! I outlined the letters in the Jewelry sign with a metallic gold Sharpie paint marker that looks good with the jewel-toned papers and theme. The paint marker also has good enough coverage to conceal my pen lines.
These signs were fun to make and also stretched me creatively because I used a few materials and colors that I don’t design with very often. That’s good exercise for any designer!
Back in the late 1990s I was really into crop circles as designs. I carved a lot of rubber stamps of crop circle designs and used them in all kinds of art work. I stamped some crop circles onto polymer clay to make pendants and painted them with wash and dry brush techniques.
I never could think of what to make with the crop circle pendants until this past weekend when I was practicing making convertible pendants as samples for a jewelry class I was getting ready to teach. The lesson plan called for adding a lobster clasp to a pendant so that you could fasten it to different necklaces and chains for a variety of looks. I combined my crop circles with some hematite beads and gunmetal colored rings and lobster clasps to finally get a look that I liked. I’ll have a lot of fun mixing and matching these with other jewelry pieces!
My paper crafting and mixed media supply stash is substantial. Recently when I wanted to make some vintage inspired handmade journals as gifts I was faced with a pretty overwhelming number of options. Sometimes if you have too many supplies you can feel overwhelmed and a little inhibited. To get my creativity revved up I decided to see what I could come up with if I limited myself to three brands only – Canvas Corp Brands, Tim Holtz and DCWV. Those three brands still give you a huge number of options don’t they – not much of a limitation! I narrowed the possibilities a little further by setting out items from this list in my studio:
Ok I cheated a little bit – in the second journal I needed some patterned translucent paper so I slipped in some Vellum Swirls paper by Paper Pizazz.
Yes, that is still a lot of product to choose from, but it’s at least a somewhat more manageable subset of my stash! These slide shows feature 8.5 x 5.5 inch pages in pairs, starting with the front and back covers.
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.
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”.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
Ball point pen
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
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.
I recently made some abstract painted backgrounds for a class I’m going to be teaching at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. I will be demonstrating how to make mixed media pages for journaling with acrylic paint, watercolor paint, assorted markers and Fiskars gel pens. I embellished my sample pages further with decorative scrapbooking paper, stickers, paper tape and rubber stamps. The binding rings I used in these samples are by 7gypsies.
I hope these samples inspire you to take a class with JoAnn or experiment with mixed media journal and planner pages on your own!