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 :)


Thank You Card

This is the project I entered in the FaveCrafts Blogger Contest. If you like it, please consider voting for it here: Thank you.

Art coloring books are one of the hottest trends in the crafts industry at the moment and I was excited to receive coloring books from Leisure Arts. I love to draw and have a large collection of markers, colored pencils, pastels, paints and more from many different manufacturers.  Unfortunately however, I'm not someone who can sit and color.  For me, coloring has to have a purpose so I decided to work with the sheet of border designs then use them as embellishments for this Thank You card - the perfect project for the manufacturers who sent me the product.

 I used the following manufacturer product samples:

        Fairfield - Metallic Oly*Fun™multi purpose craft material - Silver
        Leisure Arts - Art of Coloring Books - Patterns
        Therm O Web - iCraft Gold Deco Foil, Adhesive Pen, ZOTS™ Clear Adhesive Dots
                                   & 3 D Foam Squares
        Sakura of America - 3-D Ink Glaze and 3-D Soufflé Opaque Puffy Ink markers
                                            & a KOI WaterBrush
and supplies and tools I already had on hand:
         Craft Glue (stick), Cream Card stock - 8.5" x 11", Water Color Pencils
         24" gold ric rac trim, paper trimmer, small tag and 4" silver thread

Step 1: Color the areas of the leaves as shown with the green glaze marker. As you can see on the left the glaze produces a shiny look.  Color around the glazed areas with a light green water color pencil. Use a light touch when coloring with pencils.

Step 2: Use a yellow water color pencil to color the center of the flowers, purple and blue glaze to color the outer petals of the flowers and orange soufflé for the small center ring and dots at the end of each stamen.

Step 3: Color the large petals with dark pink glaze and light blue soufflé on the outer circle of the round flower. Use a damp paintbrush, or the water brush to lightly blend the areas colored with water color pencils.

Step 4: To add even more dimension, I colored a second, small flower as follows: Trace the outline of the petals with the adhesive pen. After about 30 seconds, place the gold foil sheet with the gold facing UP on top of the design. The gold foil will stick to the adhesive to give those areas a look of gold leafing. I love the look of foiling, so I outlined some of the leaves with the chisel tip of the adhesive pen and added foil to those areas too.

TIP: Each adhesive pen comes with two tips. A bullet point and a chisel tip. The tips are easy to switch out, but I was concerned that the adhesive would dry in the tip I removed, so I bought 2 pens and put the chisel tip in the second one and keep both tightly capped when not in use. And, I have 2 replacement tips when needed!

Step 5:  Lightly color the petals with dark pink water color pencil, then blend with a damp brush. Dot the tips of the stamens with dark purple glaze. Note: The color on the 2 petals on the lower left was not blended to show the difference blending makes.


Step 6:  Cut all the colored pieces apart!

Step 7: Make a card by cutting the sheet of letter sized card stock in half to create two, 5.5" x 8.5" pieces. Set one piece aside. Score then fold the second piece in half to create a "quarter card", 5.5" x 4.25". Cut a 3.75" x 5" piece of silver metallic Oly*Fun, center then glue to the front of the card. Attach one end of the ric rac trim to the back of the front of the card. Wrap around the front of the card twice, crossing at the center then glue the end at the back.

Step 8: Assemble the cut pieces of your colored design starting with the leaves at the base using glue dots. Overlapping the base of the leaves, layer the large flower and the round flower and attach with foam squares. The design will remain the same except the pieces are pushed toward the center so they overlap. Snip between the petals of the pink flower and turn up slightly around the center. Glue on top of the larger flower then add a jewel at the center.  To finish, I added a small tag and 2 additional strips of ric rac at the bottom right for balance. I also added one of the leftover squares of gold aluminor under the leaves and trim.  The photo below is to show how prettily the foil and glaze colors shine.

Not just for cards, you can use these techniques for many kinds of paper and mixed media projects. There are so many coloring books available, but not all can be colored with water color markers and pencils, so always look for books with good quality paper.

Enjoy!  Y'all come back now........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


CHA Prime Publishing Blogger Event

Each year Prime Publishing (FaveCrafts) holds a networking event for CHA designer and blogger members.  This is where we gather to get to know each other and generally have a wild and wonderful time!  Not just for networking with each other, the event is sponsored by manufacturers as a way to meet industry bloggers and introduce them to their latest products.  After the show each one of us receives a "goodie box or bag" of sample product so we can add a sprinkle of our own creativity - after all, a product is only a product until a designer shows us what we can make with it and shares it on their blog.  It's all about creativity and inspiration!

It's like Christmas when the boxes arrive on the doorstep! I received sample product from Design Master Color Tool, Fairfield, Leisure Arts, Plaid Enterprises, Sakura of America, Testor Corporation and Therm O Web, Inc.  My mission now is to create something with the products I received.

I'm still working on product I received from Design Master. I love the colors and it's perfect for coloring chipboard and Smoothfoam.  There's also a white texture spray that I think will make the most amazing Snowmen.......... thinking ahead of course.

Here are two projects I came up with to enter in the "contest" which will run March 31st thru April 6th. Hope you like them as much as I liked creating with them. You can find full, step by step instructions by following the link for each project.  All the designer projects are featured on the FaveCrafts website here.  Please vote for the one you like best - you can vote once per day and, of course, I hope you like one of mine.

Canvas Bag

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

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter Projects

It's almost Easter weekend and I'm scrambling to decorate the house for Saturday. That's when we have our family Easter Egg hunt for the grand kids and traditional dinner.  These are so quick'nEZ I'm not sharing detailed instructions, just photos with a few notes.

First up is our Easter tree.... These are artificial Forsythia branches placed in a old glass vase wrapped with grapevine.  The branches are decorated with Smoothfoam eggs, découpaged with the top, printed layer of a variety of napkins.  Paint each egg first with a coat of slightly diluted white glue or Mod Podge. Separate the top layer from the napkin then gently pat pieces onto the surface of the egg.  Cover with another coat of glue.  Sprinkle with clear glitter while the glue is still wet if you like a sparkly look.  Secure a ribbon loop at the top with a quilt pin to hang.

This topiary was also made from a larger Smoothfoam egg.  I decorated the surface with small florets from a silk hydrangea. You can find detailed instructions for this project by following the link.

Easter wouldn't be Easter without tulips and "Peeps"....

To create this arrangement, I placed a small glass jar inside a larger glass vase then pushed 2 rows of peeps between the 2 glass pieces and added a layer of foil wrapped, chocolate eggs around the top. I added twigs from the back yard to the flowers and decorated the branches with tiny rabbits. If you use artificial flowers, you can use an empty tin can in the center instead of a glass jar, which is how I made this arrangement using a square vase.  I found the small glitter eggs at Target - 6 for a dollar! I snipped the ribbon hanger then pushed the base of the egg onto a white floral stem....

If you look closely at the "Tulip" vase photo, you can see this Happy Easter Garland in the background. Follow the link for instructions.


Peeps are really fun to use for decorations. Push them onto the top of a bamboo skewer then add them to vases of candy, or flower arrangements. I usually buy a bunch after Easter, when they're practically being given away and save them to decorate the following year.   
TIP: Let your peeps harden before pushing them onto the skewer... much easier than when they're soft and squishy.  

Here are two more ideas. Peeps on skewers in a vase filled with Easter grass and candy and a rectangle shaped glass with a Smoothfoam block inside, cut small enough to allow a layer of peeps around the outside.

Hope you enjoyed this Easter "Peep" show!  Have a fabulous weekend...... y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :)