Monday, April 18, 2011

Treasures from the Past

As I drifted to sleep in my grandma's bed, I would memorize what hung on her walls in the warm lamplight.  The collage of smaller friendship and "mom plaques" hung to the right of her closet, a picture of a bare tree blowing in the wind with a quote written in German hung above Grandpa's side of the bed, and this branch with youthful leaves was above her dresser.

I now have that branch. It is nice to have reminders of the kind, gentle, generous, and reliable woman who shaped so many of my warm memories of childhood.  

Yes, it was hard to find just the right spot for the branch in our house as the style is not something that fits perfectly into our decor.  However, our bathroom is done in many shades of green and leaves to make it feel like you are outdoors.  That is where I hung this piece but I wanted to give it a more modern feel.  I cut a stencil of the word "Believe" with my Cricut and painted it with dark taupe wall paint. 

Sometimes our decorations can be so cookie cutter with the stock pieces of art we hang on our walls.  It is nice to tell a story with items that are meaningful... items that are treasures from our past that tell who we are.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Click Here to Print

I have this right by my computer and read it often.  I love each line.  I thought you might like it too.

Posted By Scoutie Girl - Tara Gentile

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Owl" Make You Feel Better

This is a fun, whimsical project that isn't just a cute owl... it is a rice heat pack!  I was so proud of myself when I figured out his title, "Owl" Make you Feel Better.  I get a smile on my face when I see this guy twirling in my microwave - it warms me inside and out.

On another note, tonight I taught my very first "How to Make Felted Sweater Mittens" class through Community Education.  This project goes out to the wonderful ladies who attended - here is funny way to use up some of the scraps you will be creating this week.  Thanks for the fun evening and good luck with your felting. (I mean it when I said you can call me for help!)

Felted Wool Sweater Scraps
Black, White, Yellow and Orange Felt Scraps
Scrap Material for Lining
Long-Grain White Rice (Do Not Use Instant)
Fabric Glue
Sewing Machine

Make this guy whatever size you would like, but the pictured owl turned out to be 4x6 inches.   If you want to make him exactly like I did, cut out two rectangles from your sweater about 4-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches.  Cut the same size rectangles from a piece of scrap material (preferably cotton).

With right sides together, sew a 1/4" seam around the three top edges of the sweater rectangles and again on the cotton rectangles creating two pouches.  Fill the cotton pouch with long-grain white rice about 3/4 full and sew the last side of the bag shut.  No need for fancy seams - place the cotton pouch inside the sweater pouch so nobody will ever see it.  Gather the opening of the sweater pouch with your thread and cinch it shut.  This is the body of your owl.

Next, cut out two hearts for the feet from your black and orange felt (making one heart slightly smaller than the other for a layering effect).  Glue them together; then glue the feet to the bottom of the owl where the pouch was cinched shut.  You may want to add some stitching to secure the feet in place.

Next, cut two large circles out of white felt, two small circles out of yellow felt, and two smaller circles out of black felt.  Glue all three sets of circles together just as the picture above shows.  Glue the eyes to the owl.  I added stitching with white thread around the whites of the eyes but it is not necessary.

The last step is to add the beak. Cut two tear-drop shapes from your black and orange felt (make the orange drop slightly smaller) and glue them together.  Glue the beak on the owl just below the eyes.

Microwave and Washing Instructions:
Heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave and spot clean as necessary.  (He doesn't like baths.)

Go ahead and make him - it's a hoot!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wool Earrings?

With the great selection of jewelry making supplies at most craft stores, you can make beautiful creations that are exactly your taste at a very low cost.  But really...wool earrings?  Absolutely!  (It fits my taste - I love felted wool!)

Wool Roving
Felting Needle
3/4 Inch Head Pins
4mm Jump Rings
Earring Hooks
Jewelry Pliers

Start by placing a small amount of wool roving on your sponge and gently stab it all around until it starts to take the shape of a ball.  Add more wool roving and continue this process to make the ball your desired size.  The more tightly your ball is felted the better so it doesn't slip off the head pin.

Once you have made two similar sized wool balls, take your head pins and push one through each center. With your jewelry pliers, begin to turn the very tops of the head pins to form a hook.  Slide on jump rings and finish turning the hooks you formed until the loops are closed.  You can add as many jump rings as you would like to add length to your earrings.  Finally, attach your earring hooks at the top in the same manner that you added the jump rings.  Make sure all openings in the rings, hooks, and pins are closed and you are done!

P.S.  What is your favorite?  Take the poll to your right so I know what projects will be of interest to you.  Your answers are confidential!  Thanks my friends!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Create Organization

I don't know about you but I always get ornery when I feel like things are out of control... especially with "stuff."  My husband knows that one of the best things he can do for me is to pick up the toys at the end of the night.  (Read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  My top love language is "Acts of Service.")

A couple of years ago, we had a back porch added onto our house and with it came a huge coat closet... hooray!  However, I knew that if we didn't stay on top of "managing" it - it would become a monster.

I am a firm believer that every item in a house should have a home.  When cleaning up, it is easier - every item gets put back in it's spot.  In order to create "homes" in our closet, I decided to buy these durable baskets from Target.  They were big enough to house plenty of items but not too big to take down from the shelf.

I labeled them with black vinyl which I cut with my Cricut machine using the "Don Juan" cartridge that came with it.  I picked the top four reasons why items would collect in our back porch and created labels accordingly:

Returns (to the store)
Give Back (when friends and family are getting ready to go, I dig through to see if anything is theirs)
Savers (similar to Goodwill) and
Garage (items that came in but need to go back out)

Tis the season for spring cleaning!  Good luck!