Friday, November 20, 2015

Creative Lettering

From 1996 to 2003 I had the privilege of working with EK Success, specifically their line of ZIG® markers.  I have always loved to draw and my dad taught me that handwriting could be beautiful. I took a calligraphy class in the late 70's and quickly decided that Copperplate wasn't for me, but learned the techniques of using wide nib pens to create beautiful lettering. I still have my brause nibs and wooden pen holder, plus the fountain pen I used in school.  Yep, I was born in the 40's and still remember inkwells in the school desk.  Ballpoint pens were a definite "NO NO" back then. 

I loved working with all the different types of markers and wrote "Creative Lettering", a regular column in Scrapbooking & Beyond magazine.  Each issue featured a fun alphabet.  Here's one I created for a Winter issue - SNOW CAPS:

The ZIG markers may not be available any more, but all you need is a fine black marker and a white opaque marker. There are lots of brands available in craft and office supply stores and they don't have to be "acid free".  You'll also need a glue pen.
It's an easy alphabet, just follow the steps shown below.  Have fun! Next time I'll show you how to create a Candy Cane alphabet.......  enjoy!

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

Yours truly,
Julie :)

                                           KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON CRAFTING

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Decorative Holiday Pillows

Say it with pillows!  

A decorative pillow is a great way to add a seasonal touch to any room and they are SO easy to make. Cover a pillow form with your favorite fabric, or purchase ready made, inexpensive pillows in a solid color.  Add Joy 3-D embroidered letters and voilà, you'll have a holiday pillow in no time at all.

To create this pillow you will need:

JOY 3-D, Embroidered White Varsity letters


18"x18" Pillow Form from Fairfield World and fabric to cover (or a purchased pillow)
Felt Snowflake Embellishment
Tulip Color Shot Fabric Paint - Silver
Holographic Silver yarn
Silver Thread
4 Decorative Silver Beads with large holes (or pony beads)

1. Spray the letters with silver fabric paint (or other color) if desired, but white letters look just as pretty. Remove the backing then press in place on the pillow.

2. Add a silver yarn tassel to each corner to finish.  

Tassels are easy to make as follows:
1. Wrap yarn around your fingers, a 3" wide piece of card, or a quilt ruler.

2. Use a tapestry needle to pull a 6" piece of silver thread thru the loops of yarn at the top. Knot the ends together to secure.

3. Slide the loops of yarn off the quilt ruler then cut the loops at the opposite end. Slide the bead onto the threads used to tie the loops at the top.

4. Pull the bead down over the loops, about 3/4" from the top to create the tassel.  Use the threads to attach the tassel to the corner of the pillow.

Decorative pillows are fun to make for your own home, or a friend's........  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.....

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Handmade Holidays

It's that most wonderful time of the year when
we're making lists and checking them twice... 
remembering friends who have been really nice.... 
and racking our brains over the choice of a perfect gift. 

As I said in an earlier post this month, there is nothing more special than a gift you make yourself and it's the perfect way to share your talents with family and friends.  I love decorative painting so this is the time of year when I pull out my brushes and paint and get to work.  Before you start to feel inhibited by the thought of having to use a paint brush, this project is something you can do - I promise.

My sister-in-law loves cherries, so this vintage style milk bottle is for her.

I started with an inexpensive bottle


and supplies from the following sponsors:

Paint, paint markers, paint brushes and daubers from DecoArt,

 Bakers twine from the Twinery and buttons from Buttons Galore & More to embellish.


I also used a few general supplies from around the house - paper towels, toothpick, disposable foam plate, (or wax paper) for a palette, etc.

NOTE:  I love working with glass and DecoArt has a line of glass paint that you can use directly on a glass surface. For this project however, I wanted a "milk" glass look, so I etched the bottle by immersing in etchall® dip'n etch, a reusable glass etching liquid. For readers who don't know how easy and quickly this is to do, instructions are at the end of this post.  Because my bottle is now etched, I can use any of the DecoArt paint lines and chose Americana Multi Surface Satin colors.

STEP 1:  Pour a small puddle of  Red Hot paint onto a disposable plate, or piece of wax paper. Holding the dauber upright, dip the sponge end into the paint then press onto your palette and twirl to spread the paint evenly in the sponge.  Press gently onto the glass to create a circle.  Make 3 sets of 2 circles, evenly spaced around the center of the bottle, then an additional 3 sets around the bottom. 


STEP 2:  Pour a puddle of Dark Scarlet onto your palette then dip about half of the surface of the sponge into the darker color. Pat gently to blend then press on top of the original circle. The darker color will create a subtle shadow on your "cherry", so always make the shadow on the same side of each one.  Use a pencil to draw lines for the stems and make a simple outline for a leaf.

STEP 2: I used a liner brush to paint the stems Coffee Bean, but you can also use a glass paint marker, no problem.  

STEP 3:  Outline the shape of the leaf Apple Green with either a liner brush or marker, then fill in the center. Use white paint to make the highlights on the cherries. It's easy. Dip the end of a small paint brush handle into a puddle of white paint. Press on top of the cherry then drag to create the "swoosh". Practice on your palette first. Let dry overnight then use a dampened cotton swab to remove any visible pencil marks.

FINISH:  I wrapped black & white Bakers' twine around the neck of the bottle then used a lo-temp glue gun from AdTech to attach a cherry button to one side.  I think my sister-in-law will love it!

Thanks to DecoArt, The Twinery, Buttons Galore & More and AdTech for sharing their wonderful products with me.  I wish I could have created projects with supplies from all our amazing sponsors.

You can find even more Handmade Holiday projects by visiting the following blogs.  Be sure to visit all of them so you can enter our amazing giveaway of over $600 in craft supplies donated by our blog hop sponsors. 

Here are instructions for etching the glass bottle.

You will need:
    etchall® dip'n etch, re-usable glass etching liquid
    Empty soda bottle.  Cut the top off as shown, so you will also have a funnel.

Step 1.  Fill the bottle with water (so it doesn't float), then place it in the soda bottle, or other plastic container.  Fill the container with water up to the rim of the bottle. Remove the bottle. The water level in the soda bottle will drop.  Mark the water level then empty the soda bottle. Dry the inside of the soda bottle and outside of the glass bottle thoroughly.

Step 2.  Fill the soda bottle with dip'n etch up to the mark.  Fill the glass bottle with glass pebbles, or something to weight it down then carefully place it in the etching liquid. The liquid will rise, stopping at the rim of the bottle.  Leave for 15 minutes, then remove the bottle and rinse thoroughly. Pour the dip'n etch back into its container using the funnel you created when you cut the soda bottle.

Etched glass has "tooth" which makes it a perfect surface for acrylic paint and rubber stamping.  If you haven't etched glass before, please read the directions carefully. This product produces a REAL and permanent etch so don't use near porcelain sinks, granite or other glazed surfaces.  It will etch them permanently too.  If you're interested in glass etching, you can purchase dip'n etch and more at Use the code JULIEMC to receive a 10% discount on your purchase. 

Happy holidays!

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Monday, November 2, 2015

Handmade Gifts

'Tis the season for gift giving and nothing says, "I was thinking about you", more than a gift that you made yourself.  When thinking about what to give, it's important to consider what you do best.  For example, I can do all kinds of things: knit, crochet, sew, embroidery, jewelry, sing - no not really, but my family and friends who really know me, know that I love to paint. I'm not what someone would consider to be an artist, by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love decorative painting with emphasis on the "decorative" part. In fact, my first book, published in the early 90's was Basic Steps to Painting. It was the first of many of my books to feature both decorative and craft painting skills and my goal in each one, was not to show how well I could paint, but to show others that they could paint too.  I was all about teaching techniques, so that others could be successful.

I've had a lot of projects featured in books and magazines over the past 25 years or so and I've kept a few favorites packed away in boxes, until the holiday season rolls around each year.  Here are some glass ornaments I've painted for friends and family over the years


and a wine glass and plate from one of my books, Garden of Glassware, published by Leisure Arts.

This is the base of the wine glass. One of my favorite techniques is to paint on the front and the back of the glass pieces.

If you're wondering why I'm sharing things I've painted in the past, it's to whet your appetite for a project I'll be posting on Saturday, Nov 7th as part of the annual Handmade Holidays Blog Hop. I think you'll enjoy the one I'm working on now - I promise it will be something you can do too!

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

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Little B LLC Blog Hop

Just look at all this crafty goodness that arrived from Little B LLC...  I hardly know where to start. There are punches, dies, flower kits, washi tape in different widths, and lots of dimensional stickers. Each Designer Crafts Connection member received a different assortment - this assortment definitely said "baby"....

I had some Smoothfoam™ Fake Cake forms from a previous hop, so I decided to make a decorative cake for a baby shower.  I used the stickers, flower petals, washi tape and the border punch.

Step 1: I covered the sides of the cake form.  I used Washi tape with the tiny, gold foil hearts around the top and bottom edge, then added the 1/2" Washi tape with the pink baby feet design.

Step 2: To cover the open area between the washi tape, I punched a border from pink card stock as follows:
        Insert the paper into the punch with the edge of the paper aligned with the edge of the design on the punch lever.  Punch then slide the paper to the side until the punched paper is aligned with the pattern on the base.  Continue sliding the paper to one side and punching until you have a complete strip.  Cut enough strips to go around the cake form then adhere with glue dots.


Step 3.  Punch 3 additional strips of pink border paper.  Cut each strip in half lengthwise to create 6, narrow strips.  Using the pattern as a guide, accordion fold each strip, then run a length of cord through the bottom holes. Bunch the pleats together and tie tightly with the ends of the cord.



Fan the pleated strip into a circle, then glue the ends together with a small dab of tacky glue to create a rosette.  Make 6.  Adhere gold Washi tape on top of the punched strip around the cake form. Always overlap the ends of washi tape and add a little glue for extra security.  Push a quilt pin with a white, pearl head through the center of each rosette to attach to the sides of the cake form.  Add a baby shoe sticker to the area between the rosettes.


Step 4: Adhere the medium sized pink petals from the flower kit around the top of the cake form overlapping as shown.  Note, the petals already have an adhesive at the base of each petal. Cover the area at the center with a small, white doily.  Following instructions on the package, create a small flower from 4, white petal strips, then place (don't glue) on top of the doily.


 Step 6: Add stickers from the baby package as follows:

        a.  Adhere a craft pick to the back of the stork sticker for stability, then push the end of the pick through the center of the white flower and the doily into the center of the cake form. Cut 2, white, petal strips apart then adhere the individual petals around the doily. 

        b.  To make the banner, cut 2 bamboo skewers about 6" in length then wrap with narrow washi tape.  Push the skewers into the top of the cake form, one at each side of the doily then attach white cord across the top. Tie at each end then hold in place with the sock/clothespin sticker.  Hang the letter stickers on the cord and additional stickers at the base of each skewer to finish.

You can see even more inspiration using Little B products by visiting the Designer Crafts Connection blog and hopping thru our webring using the DCC logo in the sidebar,  plus there's a giveaway!  Just look at all this product! Valued at $150, there's enough product for you and a friend.

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter feature below. All you have to do is "like" Little B on Facebook and comment on our blogs. The more you comment the more chances you will have to win.  Open to residents of the US and Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.........

Yours truly,
Julie :)

                                    KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON CRAFTING! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Etched Glass Halloween Jug

Chug-a-lug, here's a jug
Of Witches Brew just for you!

Halloween is the perfect time for special tricks and treats - so how about etching a unique glass jug for your favorite spooky libations.

You'll need etchall® re-usable etching crème, etchmask (to cut your stencil), etchmask transfer paper, a Pik tool and a squeegee. IMPORTANT! Double check colored glass!  I purchased an amber colored cider jug to etch my design, not realizing that the color was only a coating on top of clear glass. Coated glass will NOT etch, so I went back to the store and purchased a clear one.

Step 1.  Cut your stencil.  I use an electronic die cutting machine and uploaded my own design. If you like it, you may use it for personal use only.
Step 2. Cut a piece of transfer paper large enough to cover your design, remove the backing paper then cover your stencil with the transfer paper. Lift the stencil and transfer paper from your cutting mat.  Remove the backing sheet from the stencil then transfer onto the side of the jug.  Smooth the stencil securely with the squeegee then remove the transfer sheet.  Use the pik tool to remove the areas from the stencil that you want to etch. The wording at the top of the design was going to fall right over the curve at the top of my jug, so I cut the words from the stencil and etched them separately to prevent wrinkles.

Step 3.  To prevent rolling, place the jug on a towel, bunching it up on each side under the jug, then attach pieces of leftover backing paper around the edges of the stencil folding them upward to create a barrier. You don't want the etching crème to migrate down the curved surface of the jug and etch uncovered areas.  Cover the open areas to be etched with a liberal amount of etching crème and spread gently with the squeegee. You can't use too much of this product - remember it's re-usable. Wait 15 minutes then scrape the crème back into the container.  Rinse away any residue then remove the stencil.  NOTE: You can find videos and tutorials at for more detailed information on this process, or here on my blog.  Search "etched glass" in my sidebar.

Step 4. Now let's etch the wording.  While the stencil is still on the backing sheet, use the pik tool to remove the letters being careful not to lose the tiny pieces - dot for the "i", etc.  This process is known as weeding.  When you have finished weeding, cover with transfer paper, remove the backing paper from the stencil then position on the jug.  Carefully remove the transfer paper, making sure that the tiny pieces for your stencil are still in place.

Step 5.  Use your fingernail, or small craft stick to smooth away any wrinkles away from around the openings for the letters, otherwise the etching crème will seep under the edges.


Step 6.  Cover the edges with scraps of etchmask, or painter's tape.  I covered the etched design below with a large piece of backing paper, then taped and re-taped everything in place, making sure that only my lettering could be covered with etching crème.

Step 7.  Cover with etching creme then leave for 15 minutes. Scrape the crème back into the container, rinse away the residue, then remove the stencil, tape, etc.  PLEASE remember that this is etching crème - do NOT rinse in a porcelain sink!! It will etch the glaze......

Glass etching is a great way to upcycle inexpensive glass pieces.  You can personalize items for your home, for the holidays, for special occasions and to give as gifts.  It's easy to do, but if you haven't etched glass before, please read all the directions on the container and check the etchall website for more information before starting your projects.  You can also find lots of inspiration on Pinterest.  Remember that etchall® etching crème and dip is RE-USABLE, so it will last a long, long time.  Etchall provides the glass etching product for my etched glass posts, but you can order online directly from their website - use the code JULIEMC for 10% off.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now........

Yours truly,
Julie :)