Thursday, July 21, 2016

Baby Shower!

My son and his wife are expecting their second child (our 4th grandchild) in a few days, so my daughter and I recently hosted a baby shower for them.

As you can imagine, I love to decorate, but over the past few years I've learned to make it easy...  I still add my own special touches and make quite a few of the decorations, but I don't mind admitting that I also take advantage of the fun, color coordinated, special occasion decorations available at Party City.   Check out the photos below and I'll share how it all came together:


The white tissue decorations - honeycomb balls, garland and fans in the window were part of a white multi pack for $9.99. The metallic twirly thingies hanging from the chandelier over the table came in a $4.99 pack which also included the "It's a Baby Boy" signs. I glued one of these to the center of one fan and clipped another to the top of the the 3-tier cupcake stand on the table. The romper embellishment at the center of the other fan was also part of the pack. I punched some stars from silver and blue glitter card stock and glued those to the center of the smaller fans.

We purchased a helium tank and a package of white pearl balloons which we inflated about 3 hours before guests were due to arrive. I attached a length of thin, silvery yarn to each balloon then glued raindrop shapes, back to back onto the yarn to make it look like a rain shower - the balloons were the clouds.  I cut the shapes from silver glitter card stock on my Cricut Explore. 

To make the banner I created nine, 4" rosettes from blue card stock.  They're easy to make. Score a 12x12 piece of card stock edge to edge at 1/2" intervals, then cut into 2" wide strips across the folds. Accordion fold each strip, then glue 2 strips together, end to end. Glue the opposite ends together to form a cylinder. Crimp the folds together at the top then push down to form the rosette.  Glue a circle of card stock over the center to hold the folds flat - this will be the back.  I punched a white, scalloped circle for the front, layered a smaller, silver scalloped circle on top, then added letters.  You can either cut your own, or use alphabet stickers. (You can see instructions on how to make a rosette here: if needed.)  I punched a small hole at either side of a top fold, then threaded the rosettes onto thin sparkly yarn to hang.  You can make three, 4" rosettes from one 12x12 sheet.

Sofa Table:


You can find complete instructions for the lighted "It's a Boy" poster on my blog here:   I also made the diaper cake.  I started by gluing an empty snack container to the center of a silver, cardboard cake round.  The newborn diapers are about  5" wide, so the container should be at least 4" taller than that for a 2-layer cake. The one I used was about 5" in diameter and 9" tall.  Layer the diapers sideways, one on top of the other around the outside of the container. I hold each one of them in place with a small piece of tape.  They can be rolled if you like, but I leave mine flat.  I keep layering until the bottom layer is about 12" across then I add a second layer of diapers. I covered the outside of each layer with holographic white deco mesh and light blue satin ribbon, embellished with decorative washi tape.  I pushed tufts of white tulle into the top of the diapers, and added a bunting at the top using blue and white striped straws with sticker letters strung between using tiny clothespins to hold them in place.  The container was then filled with baby socks, a small hat, pacifiers, etc. then topped with a small, plush bear holding a Babies R Us gift card.




A celebration isn't complete unless there's food and drink.  We had blue punch with little yellow ducks floating on the top, plus dips, fruit salad, mini quiche, my DIL's favorite - a Sprinkles cake and mini sprinkle cupcakes on the decorated, 3-tier Deflecto dessert stand, topped with color coordinated, blue wrapped Hershey kisses.  The outer edge of each tier was decorated simply with the same washi tape used on the diaper cake.  I topped the stand with the clip and added a dimensional stork sticker to the front.  


My granddaughter completed the decorations with this cute giraffe which we anchored outside the front door. 

Baby and wedding showers, birthday parties and more are occasions just waiting to be decorated - a great way to showcase your creativity.  And remember, you don't have to do it all.  Take advantage of inexpensive decorations and add your own personal touches.  You'll save time, stress and $$$$$$$... how fun is that!  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now..........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Friday, June 3, 2016

Father's Day!

It's Father's day in 2 weeks, so here's a gift you can make in jiffy that dad will definitely enjoy!


You will need the following supplies:
        Glass mug (I got this for about $2 at Walmart)
        etchall® glass etching crème (link in sidebar)
        etchall® etchmask & transfer paper
        Swivel knife and pik tool
        Pattern or stencil

1.  Create the design using fonts installed on your computer, or die cutting machine software (best option) then cut. You can also create the pattern in Word, print then trace onto the etchmask.  Cut with a swivel blade.


NOTE:  Measure the area where you want to etch the design then center the design on your stencil. This will help when it's time to position the stencil on the side of the mug. For example, if you want the design to be 1" below the rim of the glass and 2" to the right of the handle, make sure there is a 1" border above the design and 2" from the left edge on your stencil. 

2.  Cut a piece of transfer paper the same size as your stencil. Remove the backing paper then cover the top of the stencil with the transfer paper.  Remove the backing from the yellow etchmask.


 3.  With the top edge of the stencil aligned with the rim of the glass mug, place the stencil on the side of the glass. Press firmly in place.  Carefully remove the transfer paper.


4.  Use a pik tool, or point of a craft knife to carefully remove the letters to reveal the design to be etched. Use the transfer paper and pieces of backing paper to cover all other areas of the glass to prevent accidental etching.

5.  Balance the mug so it doesn't roll then cover the open areas in the stencil with a liberal amount of etching crème.  I use a plastic spoon to to add the cream.  NOTE: This product is reusable so you can't use too much! 

6.  After 15 minutes, scrape the etching crème back into its container then rinse the mug under warm, running water. DO NOT do this over a porcelain sink!  This is an etching product and it will etch your sink too!  Be aware of your surroundings when working with etching product.  Do not work on a granite, quartz or slate countertop, or they may be etched too!  I work on a laminate countertop.

7.  Remove the stencil then polish with a soft cloth to reveal your perfectly etched design.  Fill with dad's favorite drink and enjoy!  Cheers y'all!

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Long Live the Creative Heart

I wrote this article for the CHA designer group a few months ago and thought you might enjoy it too!

  "I was asked to review two books recently, Craft Your Stash, by Lisa Fulmer and Craft Fail, by Heather Mann.  I’m still giggling at the last one – it is SO real.

What I love most about Lisa’s book 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 spoon feed 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…  There were a few books to help us along, but nothing like the books that are available today, and Pinterest was unheard of.

Heather’s book is a laugh on every page, but it’s also a great reminder to designers and teachers about what to expect from the average crafter who reads our instructions in books and online and follows directions in the workshops we teach.  I’ll never forget the lady in one of my classes a few years ago.  She had 2 identical wood hearts for her project.  One needed to be painted pink and the other white.  She was quite serious when she asked me, which heart should she paint white.

As an educator in the industry, I always found it important to emphasize that there is no right way or wrong way to be creative.  It’s important to follow directions when using certain products, but it’s always fun to experiment and to do what you want to do – think outside the box and off the project page.  Some students will want to follow instructions to the letter and are mortified when their project doesn’t look like the teacher’s so, once the class starts, I put my project away so they can’t compare.  I especially love the rebels, who add their own personal touches; students like me who only want to learn techniques.  I remember how horrified the teacher was when I took my first decorative painting class and saw the paint colors I’d purchased. We had a list of traditional colors to use for the project she was teaching, but they didn’t match my kitchen, so I’d chosen colors that did!

Creativity is a very personal thing.  As designers in the industry our goal is to encourage each person in whatever they want to do – who knows, you may inspire a future Picasso!"

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Monday, April 25, 2016

China Plate - Mother's Day Gift

It's Mother's Day in less than 2 weeks, so when the grandchildren spent the weekend, we decided to make something special for mommie.

I had a white lacey china plate, which was already pretty, but I thought it would look nice with a monogram in the center. It was also a good way to show the grandchildren that etching creme can be used for china too!  It's SO simple and SO pretty and only took us about an hour to make.

1. The first step is to either use a stencil you already have, or create a custom monogram with a digital die cutting machine.  I have a Cricut Explore and I used a font that was in my font folder on the computer.  We cut the letter "M" from etchall® etchmask (adhesive vinyl) inside a 4" square.  TIP: Centering it in a square is helpful when centering it on the plate.

2. Cover the stencil with a 4" square of etchmask transfer paper, then remove the backing from the etchmask. Place the stencil at the center of the plate then carefully remove the transfer paper. 

3. Use a pik tool, or point of a craft knife to carefully remove the letter "M".  Do not push the tool in from the cut edge, since this may damage the outline. Always find a thick spot to insert the tip and lift from there.  Make sure the etchmask is firmly on the plate.  Smooth away any bubbles that may be around the opening, otherwise the etching creme may creep under the edge. 

4. We then covered the area to be etched with etchall® etching crème. I usually pour the creme onto a different area of my project, then spread it across the open area to be etched with a squeegee, but it was easier to let the children use a plastic spoon to dip creme from the container and place it onto the opening. They used the back of the spoon to gently spread it over the area to be etched. They were very careful not to get any creme on any other areas of the plate.  It would have been better to cover the rest of the plate completely with pieces of leftover etchmask and/or transfer paper, but we were excited to get to the etching part and we forgot.... silly Nana.  Luckily it worked out just fine.

NOTE: In case you are wondering why I am comfortable letting my grandchildren use this glass etching product, etchall® etching products are ACMI certified, which means they have gone through rigorous testing and meet strict requirements. A copy of the certification symbols are in my sidebar on the left. This product has no noxious, or harmful fumes and, as with other craft materials and tools, they are supervised.

5. We let the creme sit for 15 minutes, then used the spoon to carefully scoop it up and put it back in the container. I have to admit that I did this part, since they had gone on to other things at this point. Waiting is not a strong suit with 7 and 10 year olds..... even if it is only for 15 minutes.

6. I washed away the remaining residue, but left the stencil in place for the next step. Rub'n Buff is a great product for adding a gilded look to etched areas; you only need a little.  Following directions, massage the tube a little before opening to mix the product. It has a tendency to separate like some paints.  Squeeze a small amount onto a soft cloth, or paper towel then, using a circular motion, gently rub the cream over the etched letter.  (A stencil brush works well too.) There are a few colors to choose from, but I used gold for this project.

7. After coloring, remove the stencil to reveal your gilded monogram.

8. I'm sure mommie will love this plate, especially since the children helped to make it!

If you read my blog regularly, you'll have seen other etched projects here and know how much I love etching all kinds of surfaces. Etchall has kindly provided me with product to work with, so I can share my ideas with you.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now...

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

It's a Boy!

Guess what, we're expecting our fourth grandchild at the end of July! My son and his wife are having another little boy and I don't need to tell you that we're so excited.  My daughter and I are planning a baby shower for them at the end of June and it's never too early to start working on the decorations.

So, where to start. They're having a boy, so I'm working with blue, white and maybe a little green. They haven't chosen a name yet so my first project will be a tabletop poster and I have the perfect idea for it. A few weeks ago I received a Chibitronics Chibi Lights kit. I'd seen these at the Craft and Hobby Trade show in 2015 and again this year and was thrilled to receive a sample kit for the Designer Crafts Connection April blog hop.


I love to add lights to projects and these little LED circuit stickers are amazing! They are easy to use on a wide variety of surfaces.  Here's how I used them for this project.

This is the kit I received and what was inside.

I also used a 9" x 11" piece of foam board, patterned paper, glitter cardstock in blue and gold, a 1/8" hole punch and glue.

1. Cut the paper the same size as the board, then adhere to one side. 
NOTE: A Xyron® machine works really well for this step.  The adhesive covers the paper from top to bottom, edge to edge; perfect for adhering to the foam board.

2. Cut letters to spell out "It's a Boy" from blue glitter cardstock and 6 stars from the gold. I used my Cricut Explore to do this.

Before adding the tape and sticker lights, please read the instruction booklet that is in the kit. There are also video tutorials on their website at Working with circuits was totally new to me, but watching the video made it really easy.  

3. Starting with one end of a 17" piece of copper tape on a 1 1/2" square of paper at the back of the board (as shown below), wrap the tape all the way around the board ending at the back.  Place the end of second piece of copper tape 1" above the first on the square. The two rows should only be 1/8" apart on the front of the board, so you will have to fold the tape at the back as shown. These rows are 2 1/2" from the bottom edge. 

4. Punch an 1/8" hole at the center of each star. Place one star on the copper tape at the center of the board at the front and the other stars evenly spaced on either side. Make a pencil mark thru each hole in the star to show where you want a light sticker to be placed. Set the stars aside. Place a light sticker over each mark with the points facing down. Press firmly in place on the tape. NOTE: The top row of tape is POSITIVE +  and the bottom row is NEGATIVE - .  

5. On the back of the board, fold the square of paper diagonally. Unfold then place the + side of the battery over the end of the top tape. Hold in place, while you fold the paper down so the negative side of the battery is touching the bottom tape. The battery is now sandwiched between the top and bottom ends of the tape. Use a binder clip to hold the battery securely in place. Turn the board over to check the lights are lit. If not, check that the battery is touching both ends of the tape, it is the correct way round and that the lights are pressed firmly on the tape.  You will add lights to the other end of the board in the same manner.

6. If you want to cover the rows of tape on the front, cut a 1/2" wide strip of card stock and lay it on top of the lights. Make a mark where the light shines thru. You can either punch a hole at each mark, or simply cut the strips to fit between the lights. Glue in place.

7. Glue a star over each light so the light shows thru the hole in the center then glue the letters in place.  As long as both sides of the battery are touching both ends of the copper tape, the lights will be lit, so simply remove the clip when not in use.

You can make lighted boards like this for all kinds of celebrations. The light stickers are available in different colors too, so let your imagination run wild!

Enter to win your own Chibi Lights Kit by commenting here and on the Designer Crafts Connection blog, where you will also find the Rafflecopter widget to record your entries. The winner will be selected at random on April 29th.  There's also the list of designers participating in this hop, so check out their projects too.  Enjoy! Y'all come back now.....

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Canvas Bag

I received a bag of product from Plaid while at the Craft & Hobby show in January. Inside was a fun selection of block printing stamps including this sweet elephant. I loved the image so much, I decided to use it to decorate the bag it came in!

I used the following manufacturer product samples:

        Fairfield  - Metallic Oly*Fun™multi purpose craft material - Silver
                          aluminor™ faux quilted craft material - Gold
        Plaid Ent - Folk Art Multi Surface paint - Charcoal Black
                           Mixed Media Foam Applicator
                           Fabric Creations™ Block Printing Mat
                           Fabric Creations Block Printing Stamp - Elephant
        Therm O Web - Fabric Fuse™
      and supplies and tools I already had on hand:

         Adhesive back jewels, 24" gold ric rac trim
         Craft knife and metal ruler, or paper trimmer

Step 1. Stamp the elephant image onto silver Oly*Fun as follows. Squeeze black paint onto a disposable plate then dip the foam applicator into the paint. Pounce lightly on a clean area of the plate to spread the paint evenly on the applicator.

Step 2.  Dab the paint evenly onto the stamp. Place the fabric on top of the foam mat then press the stamp onto the fabric.  I received 12"x12" pieces of Oly*Fun, so I stamped the first image at the center, about 4" from the bottom edge then an image on either side. 

Step 3.  I created a border by cutting 1" above the images and 1" below using a craft knife and ruler and the grid on my work table mat as a guide.


TIP: If using a paper trimmer, always cut from the back of the craft material. 

Step 4. Glue the gold trim along the top and bottom edges of the border, then glue to a 12"x12" piece of gold aluminor.  Embellish the elephant images with strips of adhesive backed jewels.

Step 5.  Trim the aluminor along the faux quilted design as shown in the photograph, then adhere to the front of the bag.

Oly*Fun craft material is available in 4 metallic colors and a rainbow of non-metallics. Used for projects both indoors and out it is amazingly versatile as you will see in another project where I used it to create a card.

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

Yours truly,
Julie :)