Saturday, October 19, 2013

Halloween Mantel ... and More

I decorated the house up for Halloween this week, and as promised, here are pictures of my mantel. You can click on the pictures for a closer view.

I made the "Boo to You" plate, as well as the Chevron frame with button pumpkin (it was inspired by THIS post). I also made the Trick or Treat blocks that are in the top shelf of the left bookcase, and the painted jar that is in the middle shelf of the right bookcase.

I started doing some Glass Etching, and here is one of my first projects. It's not really Halloween, but it filled up some space that needed filling!

This year I decided to also decorate our dining room table:

I made the table runner out of the leftover fabric from the Chevron Frame project - I added some black velvet pom pom trim I found at Hobby Lobby. The runner and tablescape were inspired by THIS post. 

I can't wait to start decorating for Fall, as I found out I have lots more Fall decorations than I do Halloween ones. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Mantel

Unfortunately, our house did not come with a real fireplace, so we have an electric one instead. That is the area that I like to decorate and call my mantel. Here is what it looks like right now:

This week I will be changing it to my Halloween decor, so stay tuned. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Some Recent Projects

Here are some of the things I've made in the last month or so:

Halloween Charger

Wood Sign I made for our dog's groomer

Wreath (inspired by wreath found HERE)

Christmas ornaments

Halloween glass jar

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Make Your Own Dry Erase Board

The older I get, the more forgetful I am becoming! If I don't write things down, 9 out 10 times I will forget it. When I saw THIS dry erase board over at Two Twenty One, I knew it was a project I had to make ASAP.

Here is how mine turned out:

Since I spend the majority of my day in my craft room, I made mine the colors of the room (green and pink). I just used some green polka dot washi tape I had in my stash, and then hot glued on a cute raffia ribbon that I embellished with a pink and green button.  The frame started out black - I just spray painted it pink. 

Be sure to check out Chelsea's post that I linked to above, as she is also doing a giveaway for some Scotch Expressions masking tape.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Drab to Fab - Part 2

I turned some more drab items to fab items. I am really enjoying looking at things and trying to figure out what I can do with them. Sometimes it's good to think outside the box!

Here are my latest DTF's:

Wood sign I found on clearance at a Cracker Barrel

With some scrapbook paper, vinyl and some ribbon and tulle, I turned it into this.

Sign I found for 50% off at Hobby Lobby (I snagged it for $2.99 including the stand!)

I painted it with black paint, then a couple layers of Chalkboard paint. 

I don't have a before of this one, but it started out like the wood sign I showed you in my first Drab to Fab post. My niece was here visiting this past weekend and wanted a "Love Lives Here" sign to go on her gallery wall. I love how this turned out:

I absolutely adore the font she picked out - I love it so much I may go back and re-do my sign with the same font (Passions ConflictROB).

Next time you're out shopping, go through those Clearance or Sale items - there might be something that could be fabulous in there! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

From Drab to Fab

While shopping at Ross the other day, I came across this sign in the Clearance Section:

I wasn't thrilled with the wording on it, but for $2.99 I went ahead and bought it.  I knew I could turn it into something nice using my Silhouette Cameo and some vinyl.

I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to put on my sign, so I searched around and came across Mandy's tutorial for a sign she did on her blog. I was going to make mine just like hers, but then changed my mind and decided just to put a simple saying on it. (I may still make one like hers for my nephew and his wife who just moved into their first home.)

I started by sanding all the paint off using my palm sander. Once it was paint free, I stained it with several coats of a natural wood stain and left it to dry overnight.

Next I had to decide what I wanted the sign to say and what font it should be in. I finally decided that I wanted it to say "Love Lives Here". I printed that out in brown vinyl using the font "Dancing Script." BTW, my board is 17 1/2 X 4.

I wanted to cut it as one long piece, but since it was 14 inches long, I couldn't use my cutting mat (Mandy was so nice and helped me figure out how to change my settings in the Silhouette - thanks again Mandy). Even though I slowed the speed way down, had my piece of vinyl underneath the rollers, and chose "load media" on my settings, the vinyl was still sliding around on me. I decided just to cut each word out individually and hope that I could get them on the board straight.

With the help of my trusty ruler and pencil, I marked where I wanted the words to go, then just erased the marks after I was done applying the vinyl.

Here is the finished sign hanging over my bakers rack:

For my first attempt, I think it turned out pretty good!

I still need to practice with printing out longer/larger pieces of vinyl without the cutting mat. If anyone has any suggestions/tips, I would love to hear them!

Now I'm off to Ross to buy up the rest of the boards they had :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Don't Throw Out Those Jars!!

Especially if you have a Silhouette machine! Now that I have discovered the wonder that is my Silhouette Cameo, I have been going a little vinyl crazy.

I had stashed a bunch of jars thinking that someday they would come in handy for a craft project, and I was right. I made this the other day:

I just found a font I liked (Sunshine Poppy) and printed out the word "treats" and applied it to my jar. For the lid, I mod-podged some scrapbook paper to it and that was it (for a great tutorial on how to do that, go here.) It was so easy and quick. This would make a great last-minute gift idea for someone - after all, who doesn't love treats?? If you don't have scrapbook paper, you could also just spray paint the lid of your jar.

Speaking of jars, I made this the other day for a friend of mine who is going to Disneyland in a couple of months:

I love how this turned out! I saw something similar to this on Pinterest. Most of the ones I saw they spray-painted Mickey black - I liked how he looked just as is (got him at Dollar Tree) so I just used my E-6000 glue and attached him to the lid of the jar. I found the cute jar at either Marshalls or Ross, can't remember which, for $3. The lid was brown, so I just spray-painted it black. 

The black vinyl was made using a font called "Minnie" (and yes, there is also a font called "Mickey".) I think my friend is going to go crazy over this!

I've done more projects with my Silhouette, including using heat transfer vinyl, so stay tuned!

Linked up with:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Vinyl Subway Art - A Silhouette Project

I am really loving playing around with my Silhouette Cameo. I made some Vinyl Subway Art for my nephew's two kids. I have seen this all over the place, and have always wanted to try it, so I decided to start small.

For his little boy, I made this for his cowboy-themed bedroom:

Up close shot:

I wanted to use fonts that looked cowboy or western. I went to and typed the word "cowboy" in the search box. It gave me all kinds of neat (free!) choices. Here are some of the ones I downloaded:
  • Let Me Ride
  • Western Swagger
  • Westerner
  • Helldorado
  • HFF Young Wanna Plain
  • Heffer
  • HFF Quick Draw
  • Cowboy Clips (for horsehoe)

In the Silhouette Studio program, I put in the measurements of my piece (10 X 10) and figured out where I wanted all the words to go. I cut each word out and used clear contact paper to transfer the vinyl onto my wood piece.  I then added 2 coats of Mod Podge on top to seal it. 

For his little girl, I took something her Mom put on Facebook the other day that she had said that I thought was so funny:

Too cute, right?

I used white vinyl, but I decided the white was too stark and plain, so I mixed up some brown and tan acrylic paint and lightly sponged it over the letters. You can see it better in this photo:

There, that's better!

Both of these projects started out as plain Canvas Panels that I found at Wal-mart for less than $5 each in the craft section.:

The other side looks like this:

You could use either side - I just chose to use the flat side (didn't have to do a hanger on the back this way).

I primed each panel first, then applied spray paint to each one. After the paint dried, I applied my vinyl, then my Mod Podge. So fast and easy!

One thing I have found out when printing words on vinyl in Silhouette is that you have to make sure you choose the "cut edge" option on the word before you cut it. If I don't do this, the vinyl seems to want to slide around on me and then not cut straight. 

To do this, simply click on the word and then click on the button at the top right that looks like a pair of scissors and then choose "cut edge."  I have also turned down the speed to about a "3" when I cut vinyl and that also seems to help make smoother cuts. 

I love how these came out. Think I will tackle a bigger subway art project next time. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gift Baskets Made Easy

I came across this idea on Pinterest (where else?) and knew I had to make one for a friend of mine who has been going through a rough time lately.

It's called a Box of Sunshine, and it looks like this:

Wouldn't you love to receive something like this? I know I would!

The original idea is to mail it to someone in a box, but since my friend lives here in town, I made up a basket instead. Since the theme is sunshine, I tried to find all yellow items to fill it up with. I did all of my shopping for this at Dollar Tree. 

I got lucky and found a yellow basket in the crafts aisle, and then went from there. Here are the things I added to my basket, just to give you some ideas:

  • Peanut M & Ms
  • Lemonheads
  • Swedish Fish
  • Dots
  • Wylers Light Lemonade packets
  • Juicy Fruit gum
  • Bath poufs in yellow and white
  • Lotion
  • Memo pad
  • Nail Care items 
I bought a bag of yellow shredded paper and put it in the bottom of the basket. I also cut out some sunbeam shapes with my Silhouette Cameo out of cardstock and scrapbook paper and used double-sided tape to stick them in the basket.  I wrapped the whole thing in cellophane, tied it with a sheer yellow ribbon, then added a card I made out of one of the printables included in Karrie's blog post.  I simply cut out the portion I didn't need, glued it to yellow cardstock, and added one more sunbeam.

I hope she enjoys this as much as I enjoyed making it up for her!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

While at Dollar Tree, I also picked up some items to make a gift basket for a friends' little boy who has been in the hospital.  I started with a blue plastic basket with handles that I first filled with blue shredded paper. I went with a Spiderman theme on this one.

Included are:

  • Ring Pops
  • Skittles
  • Spiderman Coloring Book
  • Crayons
  • Toy Cars
  • Bubbles
  • Small Water Bottle
Once again, I just wrapped it in cellophane and tied it with some blue ribbon I had in my stash. I'll probably make a card to add to it. 

These baskets are so much fun to make, and don't cost a lot of money. I hope you will consider making one for someone you know - it will surely brighten their day. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Goin' to the Dogs

I made our adorable Malti-poo Lulu a dog harness (sorry, could not find a photo of her in it!) These are so fast and easy to make, and you probably already have everything you need to make one in your sewing stash, except for maybe some "D" rings.

I used THIS tutorial, which is awesome. Erin includes templates you can use, and gives great detailed instructions with photos.

I made some more the other day for a friend:

Here are some up-close photos:

For the outside fabric I used cotton, and for the inside fabric (the side that rests along the dog's body) I used a soft flannel. 

I found a package of 4 "D" rings at Wal-mart in the button section and I think it was only .78 cents. They can also be found at Jo-Ann or Hobby Lobby. 

Finally, Silhouette

I got my Silhouette Cameo for Christmas two years ago, but I have only just started using it. Crazy, I know! I guess I was intimidated by it, so it was easier just to let it sit and gather dust rather than attempt to use it.

After seeing so many neat projects out there in blogland, I bit the bullet and decided to go for broke. Now I'm so glad I did, and I have lots more projects I want to make. Here are the projects I have done so far:

"Welcome" vinyl sign for our front door

Vinyl lettering for dog and cat food containers

Vinyl labels for my Flour, Sugar and Brown Sugar containers.

In addition, I used the Silhouette to cut out a stencil so that I could make this cute burlap garden flag:

Tutorial for this project can be found HERE.  I used white contact paper instead of the more expensive vinyl to cut out my stencil and it worked perfectly. 

Here are some things I learned along the way:
  • Vinyl can be expensive - the best place to buy it is on the internet.  I ordered some from Amazon, but Expressions Vinyl has good deals too.
  • In order to peel away your design, you will need some type of transfer tape. I used clear contact paper and it worked wonderfully, and is much less expensive than buying transfer tape from Silhouette or another source. I also saw suggestions on line that said you could use blue painters tape or even Press N Seal, but I have not tried either of those methods yet.
  • You need to make sure that whatever medium you are using is securely underneath the rollers, or else it will not cut straight (ask me how I know this). If you are using the cutting mat, you shouldn't have this problem - it usually happens when you load the vinyl in without the mat.
  • There are lots of great tutorials and videos out there to help with the learning curve for this machine. Silhouette has a blog with lots of projects, and Pinterest has lots of great info too. 

I plan on labeling lots more stuff in my home, as well as making subway art, using the heat transfer vinyl, and cutting fabric too. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Projects and...

I recently purchased a yard of fabric that was just perfect for a friend of mine. She loves and collects Matryoshka dolls, so I knew I had to get it and make her some special things.  Here is what I ended up making for her:

From the top of the picture going to the right:  Jar cozy, the zippered pouch I told you about in my last post, a small fabric tray, and a sunglasses case. I still have some fabric left, so I need to figure out a few more small items to make with it.

This is the only picture I took of the sunglasses case, because it did not turn out at all how I wanted and to me was a project fail. I followed a tutorial from a fairly well-known blogger and it was HORRIBLE!! Not only were the directions minimal at best, but I e-mailed the blogger and asked her for help and she has never responded. That was July 3rd - still no response from her. Good thing I didn't wait for her, or it would never have gotten finished. As it was, I just kind of had to wing it and figure out another way to finish the case.  Her original case had a bow on it and here were her instructions for that:  "Sew on a bow."  That was it - no directions, nothing. She didn't even tell you how to make the bow. To make matters worse, her photos used white fabric with a white background - it was impossible to see the stitching, or anything she had done. 

I am not going to mention any names, because maybe she has a good reason for not responding.  As I looked back through her blog, most of her tutorials are the same - very minimal directions and photos.   It doesn't really matter though, because I have stopped following her and will never use another of her tutorials again.

Which leads me to my rants.... 
  • We as bloggers need to remember that our audience consists of BEGINNING sewers as well as more experienced ones. 
  • More, more and more!! The more information and photos the better. I do not see it as "talking down" to your readers, but rather, trying to give them the most information possible so that their project will turn out well.
  • Whenever I make a project from a blogger's tutorial, I always read through the comments. I have learned the hard way that I have to do this, otherwise I will never know what is missing or incorrect in the tutorial. 
  • I want my end result to look like yours - so if you're going to use any kind of interfacing, please be specific about what kind/type you used. It is very frustrating to have to play the guessing game and try to figure out what you have used. 
  • Finally, if I let you know I used your tutorial, and gave you a link to my blog post about it, the least you can do is acknowledge it in some way. A comment or a simple thank you is much appreciated. 

I know I only have a very small readership, and half of you probably don't even read my posts, and few of you ever even comment.  The people who need to see this will probably never see it. But at least I feel better for getting that off my chest!  Thanks if you're still reading  :0)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Best Zip Pouch You Will Ever Make

If you want to make a cute and EASY zippered pouch, look no further than Bethany's tutorial at Sweet Bee Buzzings for her Straight Sided Flat Bottomed Pouch. I made one the other day and it is so awesome I had to share it with you. I have since made another one, and have plans for about six more!

Here is the first one I made:

And here is the second one:

So proud that I matched up my seams:

I have used one of Bethany's tutorials before (you can find my post about it here) and once again, I was not disappointed. Her tutorials are always excellent, with great directions and photos to help you along the way.

If you want something different, she also has tutorials for a Boxy Pouch (I definitely want to try that one), a Front Zip Pouch, and a Double-Zip Wristlet.

Go make one, or a bunch of these - you won't be disappointed!