Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Etched Glass = Easy Gift Giving

I was looking thru a cabinet the other day for some Christmas CDs and came across this small, hand painted vase.  I was about to put it in the Goodwill box, but decided to improve it a bit.  It's not that I didn't like it, it's just that it could be so much prettier.   It's a busy time of year, so whatever I needed to do had to be quick and easy.  You don't need 3 guesses to know what I did........ yep, I filled it with etchall® dip'n etch.  It doesn't get much easier than that and I just love the "milk glass" look! 

As you can imagine, it's not going in the Goodwill box.  It will be an amazing gift for a friend, or neighbour!

So, next time you find a glass container, decorated or not, fill it with dip'n etch for a simple and elegant, upscale look...   


BTW, if you need to know how much dip'n etch you'll need to fill your glass container, fill it first with water, then pour the water into a measuring cup.  Dip'n etch comes in different sizes, but I use it a lot, so I buy the large container.  This etching product is re-usable, so after 15 minutes, pour it back into its container to use again, and again and again!  It lasts a very long time.  You can check the etchall Facebook page for holiday sale offers then purchase directly thru the "buy now" tab on their page, or click on their logo in my sidebar to go directly to the etchall website.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now......

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Review - Upcycled Jewelry, Bags, Belts and More

Do you remember the term "waste not, want not"?  or how about "one man's trash is another man's treasure"?  Sayings to remind us that it isn't always necessary to throw things away.

Upcycled Jewelry, Bags Belts and More  by Linda Peterson is full of ideas on how creative we can be with many of the day to day items we nonchalantly throw in the trash.  I've known Linda since the early 90's and have always admired her amazing creativity with products like Friendly Plastic, clay (she makes the cuuuutest clay figures and animals) and jewelry pieces.  Linda definitely put that creativity in overdrive when she created the projects for this book.  From soda can tabs and empty plastic soda bottles to bicycle chains and inner tubes, there's something for everyone here, but more importantly it makes each one of us think twice about throwing things away.......

My hubby says I'm a hoarder, but I'm really just a born and bred Yorkshire lass who hates to throw anything away.  I know that one day I'll find a use for it - after all, that's what being "crafty" is all about.  Here's a recycled project I still have around the house:

We used to have the prettiest chandelier that hung in our entryway for many, many years.  After many, many moves however, it simply fell apart, but I couldn't bear to part with those pretty little crystals that picked up the sunshine and filled our home with rainbows.  So - I purchased 2 glass candlesticks and glued a "bowl" from the chandelier onto the top of each one. Then I simply added short strands of crystals around the edge.  I also gave some crystals to my brother-in-law to include in his stained glass pieces, but I still have quite a lot of crystals left just waiting to be given new life when I turn them into something fabulous! 

Now you know what I think about Linda's book, check out what other designers are saying using the links below:

Enjoy!  Y'all come back now............

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Gifts

November 3rd is First Monday and this month Designer Crafts Connection is sharing ways to say "Thank You"...  For more inspiration, hop thru the webring using the "hop forward" link in the DCC logo found in the sidebar of each member.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday.  Catherine Millard wrote: "We can trace this historic American Christian tradition to the year 1623. After the harvest crops were gathered in November 1623, Governor William Bradford of the 1620 Pilgrim Colony, “Plymouth Plantation” in Plymouth, Massachusetts proclaimed:
"All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings."
Although Thanksgiving seems to be more about getting ready for the Christmas holidays and looking for the best shopping bargains on Black Friday, I think the majority of families still remember this as the day to give thanks for our many blessings and to share with family, friends and neighbours.  Here's a gift idea using a large, clear glass mason jar with smooth sides:


 Step 1:  Etch the outside of the jar with etchall® by immersing the jar in dip'n etch up to the neck.  (See instructions for glass etching in the second part of this previous post, which will explain how to dip using an empty soda bottle.

Step 2:  To decorate the outside, I printed a photo (sized to 4" x 11") on to Craft Attitude printable film then wrapped it around the center of the jar. I secured the ends with tape, so the wrap could be removed later when the jar needed to be washed.  The photo I used was a pile of apples taken with my phone at the grocery store, but you can use any photo.

Step 3:  Cover the top and bottom edges of the wrap with 1/2" wide burlap ribbon.  Secure the ends with 3D glue dots then adhere additional embellishments to the front with glue dots.  Cover the rim of the lid if desired.

You can fill the jar with a mix to make an apple dump cake, then place it in a basket of red apples and your favourite dump cake recipe to give to a friend or neighbour, or simply place a small LED tea light inside and use as a decorative accent in your own home.  


For a different look, fill the mason jar with etchall dip'n etch then découpage the printed layer of a fall themed napkin onto the bottom half of the jar with DecoArt® Americana® DécouPage.  Embellish as shown.  Etching the inside of the jar will give the jar a milky look, but it will still be shiny on the outside.

              Etched on the outside of the jar                Etched on the inside of the jar
There are so many other designs you can create using these easy techniques.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now...........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Craft Fail

ROTFLMAO because this book is SO real!

Heather sent me a copy of her book to review a couple of weeks ago and I haven't stopped giggling since.  These are the stories that make crafting fun and they're an important reminder that none of us is perfect.  It made me think of more than a couple of times when things went horribly wrong for me.

I love decorative painting and in the 80's and early 90's I sold my painted pieces at craft fairs and craft malls. One of my popular pieces was this "Sweetheart Clock" designed by Scottie Foster.

It was carefully painted then antiqued.  Now the thing about antiquing is that you have to let the patina dry in a dust free environment for at least 24 hours before adding a sealer.  Dust free? In my house? That was a challenge until I came up with what I thought was the perfect solution - I'd put it in the oven.  Definitely no dust in there!  It was a pat myself on the back moment and in it went.

With 2 teenagers in the house plus friends, there was always something going on, so said clock was completely forgotten until I decided to cook pizza for dinner and - you guessed it, I turned the oven on......  it was the smell that reminded me what was already in the oven.  I should have taken photos, but Instagram hadn't been invented then, so I'll let you have the fun of visualizing the clock in all its glory.  The glue that held the wood pieces together had kinda melted and dripped and the paint had cracked in places, but I have to say, it was the BEST LOOKING ANTIQUE clock I ever made!

My story isn't in her book, but you will totally enjoy the ones that are and, yes, there are photos of what each project should have looked like and how they turned out........ The underlying moral of the stories is to learn from mistakes - preferably other people's......

You can follow Heather at Dollar Store Crafts a great resource for tons of great projects, with easy to follow instructions and supplies that won't break the bank!  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now......

Yours truly,
Julie :)

In true British fashion - KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON CRAFTING!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hebe Cord Beads

A few weeks ago I received some samples of Hebe cord with the request, "what can you do with this?"  I love a challenge, as do all members of the Designer Crafts Connection, and 13 of us accepted.  If you're not familiar with Hebe cord, it's a thin parachute type cord - strong, shiny and easy to work with.  Unlike floss, or some of the other types of cord, it doesn't ravel - a definite plus when making things like Friendship bracelets.  You can crochet with Hebe cord and also knit with it, using very small needles......  I can knit and crochet and there's an overwhelming number of Friendship bracelet techniques on Pinterest, so I thought I'd try to make something different.

For a number of years I designed and presented projects for Hands on Crafts for Kids, a TV show that airs on PBS.  The second series featured crafts from around the world and I remembered showing viewers how to make a Temari ball.  If you don't know what that is, submit a search on Pinterest and you'll see where my inspiration came from.  This is my version - a lot smaller and not quite as time consuming.


 I had a variety of colors of Hebe cord to choose from plus I used a 1" Smoothfoam™ ball (available at all major craft stores), some sticky dots (from my scrapbook supplies), silver jewelry chain, 2 silver beads, 2 Rondelles, a 2" eye pin, a jump ring, craft knife and a large eye tapestry needle. 

My idea was to wrap the Smoothfoam ball with the cord to create a bead for a pendant necklace. Smoothfoam is so lightweight, you could also make matching earrings...

It's as easy to make as this:  Cover the top half of the ball sparingly with thin glue dots, then starting at the top, wrap the cord around and around down to the half way point on the ball. You'll see that there is a mark all the way round the center of the ball. Make sure the strands of cord are nestled closely together.  Cover the remainder of the ball with glue dots (you can also use a thin, even layer of tacky glue) and continue wrapping until the ball is completely covered.  Holding the needle with a pair of jewelry pliers, carefully heat the end in a candle flame then push thru the wrapped ball from top to bottom.  Now you have a beautiful wrapped bead to incorporate into all kinds of jewelry pieces.

To make my pendant, I added a silver bead and rondelle to the eye pin, added the Hebe bead then another rondelle and silver bead then created a loop at the end of the eye pin.  Using the tapestry needle, I threaded cord thru the links in the silver chain to add a little extra color, then attached the ends of the chain to a jump ring at the top of the eye pin.  I also made a tassel of short lengths of chain and attached them to the opposite end of the bead.

With lots of cord colors to choose from you'll have an easy time making a custom piece of jewelry for any occasion.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now............

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Friday, October 3, 2014

Craft Your Stash!

"If you're crafty and ya know it clap your hands............."

 Love this book!  What I love most about it, is that it reminds us what crafting is all about.  We are so used to walking into a craft store and being completely overwhelmed with so many products to spoonfeed our creativity, we've forgotten how to be creative with what we already have.  Toilet rolls for example!  There are so many things we can make with these small, cardboard rolls.  We always saved them to take to pre-school and Kindergarten teachers to use in their classrooms. Now we're encouraged to buy them in the craft store!!  Seriously.............

I was a child in the 50's and loved to make things!  There weren't any craft stores back then, so it was all about using our imagination and things we had on hand that could be re-cycled.  (We didn't have a television either, so crafting was all part of making our own fun.)   Seems like children back then were inherently creative - and crafty, in all definitions of the word...  and we definitely didn't have books like this to help us along.

Lisa's book is filled with ideas to be crafty, using "supplies" you already have around the house.  You may not even recognize some of them as being "craft supplies", so I challenge you to put your imagination to work and create something without going to the store!  Craft your stash! This is what I did.....

The holiday season is a great time to put our creative caps on.  I make something new for Christmas every year.  For this project I started with a box of old, wooden spools (found in my mother-in-law's attic), some vintage silver tinsel, alphabet letter stickers and bamboo skewers.


A wooden spool is the perfect base for a tree, so I decided to cut triangles (4" x 4") from silver/gold glitter card stock, cover the edges with the tinsel and make some trees.  The letters could spell out a word - the shorter the better, so I decided on J O Y.  I liked the silver letters but didn't have a "J", so used the red acrylic letters and substituted the snowflake for the "O".  I really like the way the red acrylic lets the glitter on the card stock show thru.  I love it when a plan comes together, even if it's way off my original idea.  Instead of gluing the tinsel to the edge of the card stock, I used silver mini brads to anchor it at each corner.  The spools are wrapped with some leftover burlap trim, secured with a glue gun.  I pushed two,  5" skewers, side by side into the hole in the spool.  They fit perfectly and having 2 skewers makes a nice flat surface to glue the triangle to.  Didn't take long to make these at all - EZPZ, just like I like it....

You can purchase a copy of Lisa's book from Amazon, your local bookstore,  or order a signed copy at    You might even want to get 2.  This book would be a great holiday gift for a crafty, or even a non-crafty friend.

Check out more projects and reviews here as well as a list of participating designers: and you can also enter to win even more stash!

Here's one more quick idea for you for Halloween - découpaged votive candle holders.  I've posted these projects before, but that's the nice thing about Halloween and Christmas, some projects are timeless and it's okay to re-cycle.

You can find instructions and step by step photos here:  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now...........

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yours truly,


Monday, September 22, 2014

Glass Etching

I love glass.  I started my first collection when I was 7 years old.  My aunt gave me a glass animal for my birthday and I added more whenever I could.  My collection grew quickly and by the time I left home at the ripe old age of 18, I had more than enough pieces to fill a half dozen or so shoe boxes.  After so many moves, there are only a couple of pieces left, but those small glass animals were definitely the start of something big.

I also love decorative painting and it was at a decorative painting show that I discovered a product that would etch glass quickly and easily - the perfect surface for decorative painting!  There are a few other glass etching products available, but the products from B&B etchall® appeal to my "turn every penny over twice" Yorkshire upbringing - THIS product is re-usable, which means I can use it, put it back in its container and use it again and again and again!!  And you can believe, I do!  Here are a couple of plates I etched with B&B etchall® then painted with acrylic paint:

For these samples I used etching products to etch the surface of the plate to give it "tooth" so I could paint on it, but the product is far more exciting than that...  with etchall® crème, or etchall dip'n etch (a liquid) you can etch designs onto all kinds of glass pieces, plus china, ceramic tile, slate and more!  So, you may be wondering, how do I decide which one to use  - etchall crème or etchall dip'n etch?

Check out these two glass projects below.  The same design was used for both the mason jar and the framed glass.

I etched the design itself onto the framed glass - "positive" using etching crème, but etched the surface around the design on the mason jar - "negative" with etchall dip'n etch.  

Let me show you how easy this is to do.  BTW, don't be alarmed by the length of the post, I tend to write as if I'm talking......    We'll start by etching the piece of glass with etching crème. 

Glass stencils are readily available for glass etching, but will only allow you to etch a "positive" design onto your surface.  In case you haven't already guessed, designing is something else I enjoy.  The sugar skull, which I'm using as an example for this tutorial is one of my designs.  I uploaded the jpeg onto my computer, then using etchall etchmaskstencil material and the vinyl setting, I cut two designs side by side (one with lettering) with my Cricut Explore.  This setting creates what we call a "kiss cut".  It only cuts through the yellow part of the stencil material - not the backing.  It is this special cut which allows us to create either a positive or negative design.

Step 1:  Upload the design to Cricut Design Space then follow the on-screen instructions.  Place the etchmask onto the design mat then load when directed. Cut then remove the mat.

Step 2:  Remove the backing from a sheet of etchmask transfer paper then place the transfer paper on top of the etchmask.  Press firmly in place with the small, black Squeegee.  Do this while the etchmask is still on the cutting mat. 

Step 3:  Carefully peel the etchmask and transfer paper away from the cutting mat.

Step 4:  This design is 4" x 6" so I included a cut line around the design.  Using the cut line as the guide, cut the "Welcome Friends" stencil from the sheet then carefully peel the backing from the back of the yellow etchmask. The transfer paper will hold all the cut pieces in place.  With the edges of the stencil aligned with the edges of the glass, press carefully, but firmly onto the piece of glass.  Use the squeegee to press in place then carefully remove the transfer paper.  Set the transfer paper aside to use as a catch-all for all the little pieces you'll remove during the weeding process.

Step 5:  Use the Detail Pick Tool to remove (weed) the design pieces from the glass.  When removing pieces do not pick from the edge, always pick up from an area away from the edge so the edge of the design is not damaged.  When working with a small, detailed design like this one, make sure that the small pieces are not accidentally removed.  If this happens, use the pick tool to put them back in place.  All exposed glass will be etched.  I place all the pieces of etchmask I remove onto the transfer paper. This way they don't end up in odd places.

Step 6:  This design was 4" x 6" so when I centered it onto a 5" x 7" piece of glass there was a space between the edge of the stencil and the edge of the glass.  I did not want this to be etched so I covered all the edges with leftover pieces of etchmask.  As you can see, I also placed a piece of backing paper from the etchmask and the transfer paper under the top and bottom edges of the glass.  I then poured a large amount of etching crème at the bottom of the glass being careful not to let the crème pour onto the openings in the stencil.  You cannot use too much crème and it is very important that you don't use too little.  Don't skimp!  Use the squeegee to spread the crème across the stencil.  Don't drag the squeegee on the surface, stroke the crème gently across as if you were icing a cake.  Pull in one direction.  Do not go back and forth or side to side.  Cover in one or two strokes if you can.  Now set the squeegee aside and walk away for 20 minutes.

Step 7:  Now scrape the crème back into the container.  A plastic spoon is helpful for this part.  Once you've returned as much as possible to the container, wash away the remainder and remove all the etchmask.  Wash thoroughly then dry with a soft cloth.

Step 8:  Return the piece of glass to the frame, then admire your etched design.

This isn't exactly a "beauty shot",  but I wanted to show how cool the etched design looks!  I even added a couple of adhesive "jewels" for a little Halloween bling.

Now let's learn how to use the dip.  Here's a project I created recently using colored glass jars.  They were so quick and easy to make.  I poured dip'n etch into one jar, let it sit for 20 mins, then poured it into the second jar and so on until all the jars were etched on the inside!  When all the jars had been etched, I poured the dip'n etch back into its container to be used again.  I then added some jewel dangles for a little more pizazz.  I love the way the glass is still shiny on the outside while the etching on the inside gives the jars a milky look. 


The technique for the mason jar however, is quite a bit different.

I chose a large mason jar with smooth sides for this project because I needed a smooth area for the design.

You will need a plastic container when using the etching liquid.  The container should be a little larger in diameter than the item you want to etch and a little taller if you want to etch all the way to the top.  I had the perfect container - an empty soda bottle!

Cut the top from the soda bottle.  Don't throw it away, you'll use this as a funnel when returning the dip to its container.  You'll also need some pebbles, or a bag of dried beans or something to put inside the jar to weight it down when you place it in the liquid.  I use red, glass marbles.

Step 1: Position the stencil design on the jar then remove the transfer paper.  This is the same process we used for etching crème.

Step 2:  This time we will remove the etchmask from around the design.  For this project, the design will remain clear - it will not be etched. 

Step 3:  Fill the mason jar with glass beads (or whatever you are using to weight it down), then place it inside the empty soda bottle.  The next steps will determine how much dip'n etch we will need.

Step 4:  Fill the soda bottle around the mason jar with WATER up to the neck of the jar.

Step 5:  Remove the jar and dry completely.  NOTE:  It is better to complete this process before putting the stencil on the glass.  I placed the stencil on the jar first so the jar would be more visible inside the soda bottle for photography purposes.  

Step 6:  When the jar is removed the displaced water will sink to a low level in the soda bottle.  Mark the water line with a sharpie then discard the water and dry the inside of the bottle thoroughly.  Fill the soda bottle with dip'n etch up to the line only then carefully replace the mason jar.  The dip'n etch will rise to the occasion....  Leave for 20 mins then remove the jar, rinse thoroughly, remove the stencil then dry.  Remove the marbles and using the soda bottle "funnel", pour the dip'n etch back into its container.

I now have 3 mason jars ready to place in my window on Halloween.  I found LED lights that change color so this is what my jars will look like in the dark of the night........ hmmm it's kinda like a traffic light....

 IMPORTANT NOTE: When using these, or any products you are not familiar with, please read the instructions on the containers. For example, this product must be stored correctly at all times and you will find details on the container.  It is also recommended that you may want to use gloves when handling the product and wear protective eyewear when using the dip.  There is also a wealth of information, including step by step video tutorials at together with a full list of the B&B etchall product line.  Visit via this link or by selecting the logo in my sidebar.  You are also welcome to call their toll free number at any time and ask about a beginner kit - tell them Julie sent you and they'll know exactly what you will need.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial, even if it was a little lengthy.  I'll keep future projects short and sweet now that you know all the basics, so don't forget to bookmark this post.........  enjoy !  Y'all come back now..........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Sunday, September 7, 2014

DCC Blog Challenge: Kunin Felt/Beacon Adhesives and Buttons Galore & More

Felt is one of those materials that has been around for-ev-er........  I remember making an embroidery project with it in elementary school in the 50's and also a doll.  Now it's all grown up, just like me, and definitely not just for kindergarten any more.......

DCC members have been challenged this month to create something with felt, glue and buttons.  When I started to write this post however, and was looking for the code for the Rafflecopter Giveaway, I noticed 2 little words that had gone completely unnoticed by me before - "Home Dec".   I had felt, I had buttons, I had glue, what more did I need to know, right.......  So, my project isn't exactly Home Dec by any stretch of the imagination, but I hope it will inspire you anyway........  You have been warned, okay.

This is what I received to work with:  EcoFi felt from Kunin, Felt Glue from Beacon and buttons from Buttons Galore and More.

I think you'll understand why my head immediately knew that it wanted me to make this purse for my granddaughter.... I mean - just look at those perfect little girl colors!!!

It was quick to make (except for waiting for the glue to dry) and I didn't have to set up the sewing machine.  I used these tools and extra supplies instead:


If you think they look like paper crafting supplies - you are right!!!  Do you recognize the eyelet setter?

Here's how to make it:

1.  Fold the printed piece of felt, right sides together in half then glue the sides together; about 1/2" seam on each side.  Let dry.

2.  Use the ruler and craft knife to cut two, 2" wide strips of green felt across the width.  TIP:  Lay the felt on the craft mat then use the measurement guides on the mat as your measuring guide.

3.  Starting about 1/2" from one end, use the eyelet setter to punch holes at 1" intervals about 1/2" from the top edge of each green strip.  Set a white eyelet in each hole.  Glue one green strip to each inside edge of the top of the folded purse so the eyelets show.
4.  Cut a strip of orange felt about 3" x 6".  Round 2 adjacent corners which will be the front.  Glue on top of green felt then trim the green felt around the orange, about 1/4" from the edge.  Use the eyelet setter to punch three holes across the straight end then glue to the back of the purse on the patterned felt only.  Do not glue to the green strip.  Let dry then use the point of the craft knife to carefully poke through each hole all the way thru the layers of felt.  Insert a large colored brad in each hole and secure on the inside.

5.  Cut a flower from a second piece of the patterned felt and two circles, different sizes, different colors, to layer in the center.  (See photo.)  Layer together, then to make them a little "pouchy" (not flat) at the center, make a hole with the eyelet setter and fasten together with a small brad.  Glue a button on top of the brad then glue the flower to the closure as shown.

6.  I used a piece of 5/8" gros grain ribbon for the handle and anchored each end to the side seams.  I glued them in place and also used a brad for extra security.
7.  I had some iron-on embroidered letters from JOY USA, so I also added her name to a strip of green felt, matted the strip with yellow felt, then secured it to the ribbon with glue and a brad at the opposite of where the handle is attached to the side.   

So why are there eyelets around the top edge you may wonder....  Well, my original idea was to make a drawstring top, but the felt wasn't flexible enough for a 6 yr old's little hands.  I'd already added the tassels to the end of the cord though (1.5" x 1.5" pieces of felt, trimmed into strips to within 1/2" of the top edge, then rolled around the knotted end of the cord), and really like the way they looked, so I trimmed the cord and wrapped it around the center of the flower.  And voilà, there we have it - my non Home Dec, home dec project...............

I'm sure you'll find a lot of Home Dec inspiration as you hop thru the other DCC member blogs.  Use the hop forward button in the sidebar of each blog and enjoy the ride!  There's also a giveaway via Rafflecopter; details below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Y'all come back now..........

Yours truly,
Julie :)