Homemade is Always More Fun

I know there are wonderful cards out there to buy and some of them are amazing (I love looking through the cards when I have a chance and I always think what a fun job it would be to come up with them –but not have to make them!).  But I have to admit, I also enjoy making them, even tho I always seem to be doing it at the last minute and they are sometimes late.  I like to think the recipients appreciate the work and thought that goes into them (they seem to).  I do get a few home made cards and they always mean a lot to me.  I keep them and I keep thinking one day I’ll make an album to make it easier to enjoy them.  My Dad makes wonderful birthday cards for the family.  I think I have every one he’s sent me through the years.  I always look forward to them.

Anyway, enough chatter.  Here are my Valentine’s Day Cards that I made.  I didn’t make many.  One of these days I will actually be ahead and maybe make up some, but I usually end up making them especially for each person.  Maybe that’s better anyway.   These were fun, although the photos aren’t great.  The lens I used doesn’t auto-focus on my D60 so I had to focus and a few of them were a little out of focus (they looked ok when I took them).  By the time I realized it the cards were in the mail and gone.  Oh well. 🙂

You can see what I did at Valentine’s From This and That.  You still have time to make some before tomorrow.

It’s a New Year!

I guess the first thing I need to do is apologize for not posting more regularly the past several (as in maybe 6 or so) months.  I was out of town for quite a bit of the second half of 2012, helping with my new grandson (oh what a joy!) and then visiting and helping with my 2 step grandchildren (who are older but every bit as much fun).  Then I went and spent some time with my Dad in New Mexico after a few days (not long enough) with my brother and his family.  When I finally got home for good it seems like it was time to prepare for a Thanksgiving visit by my new grandson (he brought his parents along too) and then it was time to get ready for Christmas.

Of course I could have blogged in the meantime but somehow I just got out of the habit –for some reason good habits break far more easily than bad ones.  But, my only New Years Resolution is to get back in the saddle and start blogging again.  I really HAVE  missed it.  It’s not that I haven’t crafted or cooked at all, it’s just that I haven’t done all of the work involved in getting things onto the blog, that is photos and writing.

Now, for today, I will share some of the few Christmas cards I made this year.  Like last year I made them, but I didn’t send out nearly as many.  I got such a late start I used more stickers and stamps than I did before, but I discovered that there are so many beautiful choices that I still liked the way they came out.  You can be really creative and still add your own touches.  And because I was so late getting started most of the items were already on sale!

If you see something you like and have any questions about how I did it, please ask, I will be glad to share.  I’m not going to blog any instructions since they weren’t all that special.  For almost all of them I used prefolded card stock that I already had and sticky dots for most of the gluing (to make things go faster).  I wanted them to go out before Valentines Day!

Now, I’m going to go over to Handmade Harbour  and see what everyone else is up to.  I’ve been away so long, I hope they remember me!  You should go too, I know everyone has been busy.  I really need to check back and see what they were busy with for the holidays, I can’t believe I missed all of that!  See you soon.  I want to share the Moose Blanket I made for my nephew!

I’m Back!

Oh my goodness, I’ve been gone.  I had thought I might blog while out of town but I didn’t.  I am still not really back into the swing of regular life yet, so I’m going to share something I made while I was at my Dad’s house.  I actually made 3 of these, one for each grandchild, but didn’t take photos of the process and in fact only took shots of the last one because I didn’t get it mailed off yet.

First, I had a wonderful 2 months visiting family in Texas and New Mexico.  I got to remember what it was like to take kids to school and activities (oh yes, you do get right back into the swing of that!) and cook for a family etc.  It was hard to leave them but I then went on to visit my Dad and we had a great time eating all of the Mexican food we could hold and I got to meet some family from that area I had never met and see some I had not seen in a long time.  All in all very fun and satisfying.  However, now, back to regular life and my very neglected blog.  🙂  I will likely post some of the many MANY photos I took while traveling, too.  But not today.

So, the project is made from the paper mache mash you can find here.  I used that and just free-hand shaped it into Christmas tree shapes.  I cut a little piece of wire, made a loop and stuck it in the paper mache at the top and made sure it was anchored in there.  I also made sure the ends of the wire stuck out to the sides (not out of the paper mache) instead of down as I thought this would make it more secure.  This made a nice sturdy hanger (I put a piece of ribbon but you could use those ornament hangers). Oh, and being made of paper, this ornament is really really light.

You can see the wire loop at the top.

You can see the wire look at the top.

I let them dry at least overnight and then finished drying in the oven (about 200 or so degrees F –I think my Dad’s oven runs a little hot tho –keep an eye so they don’t burn or get too crispy).  They didn’t take long since they were fairly dry after sitting out and being partially dry.  I just wanted them to be thoroughly dried before I painted them.

Then I painted them green.  I had to mix blue and yellow since the green I had bought was dried out!  Yes I took it back but later and yes, they gave me my money back, but I had already painted my trees, so I didn’t need more paint.  The color was great but I was glad I had bought a few colors when I was at the craft store.  Anyway, I put on 2 coats to make sure it had a nice strong color. I did put a coat of Mod Podge over it too, just to give it some protection and shine.

I had bought all of these cute little buttons at Hobby Lobby (we don’t have one here so I really kind of went crazy in there!).  You can see in the picture some of the cute ones they had. I really like the glittery stars. For my Granddaughter’s I had ones that looked like flipflops and I forget some of the others, but they had such a great selection I bought quite a few different sorts.  Some of them had loops on the back and wouldn’t lay flat but I just nipped those off and they worked just fine.  I glued it all on with just regular white glue.  Since they are just ornaments and not toys I think it will hold.

If the holes in the buttons bother you you could find other items to decorate with.

I forgot to take a photo of the back, but I put their names and the year and Christmas and who it’s from on the back too (Sharpie!).  I always did ornaments for my kids and now for my Grandchildren, every year.  This way they will be able to remember when they pull them out (hopefully) every year.

These were SO easy and fun to make.  You could easily make them WITH kids too.

Now, I’m off to check on Handmade Monday, which I have sadly neglected for way too long.  I hope the rest of you will check them out because they have some amazing things and I KNOW they are all making beautiful things for Christmas by now.

And I hope that you all will be back soon, I promise to get right back into my normal routine (and post some fabulous vacation photos).

Oh and recipes!

 

 

 

 

Changing Horses Midstream

This post doesn’t have anything to do with horses, but the title is apt.  I was going to Mod Podge the frame as a gift, and didn’t pay enough attention when I bought my materials.  I was disappointed to discover that the glass didn’t come out but was affixed permanently and so I was going to have to work around it.  In addition it wasn’t “glass” but some sort of plastic or acrylic, so it wasn’t going to be as easy to clean without scratching or ruining.  Wonderful!

I’m not going to go into great detail, since I didn’t take photos along the way and most of it was just tedious stuff and things I don’t really like doing.  I had to cover the glass so I could spray paint the wood frame, as I was afraid it would soak too much Mod Podge.   I used the paper that came with the frame and cut it in pieces to fit in the front “glass” areas.  Then I sprayed 2 coats of black paint on the wood and let that dry overnight.  I ended up leaving the paper over the “glass” while I did my Mod Podging because I figured that would be a real mess to get off of the plastic.

After that was dry I let my husband cut the paper out with an Exacto, (I could have done it but he offered and he has s steadier hand).  As it was, the edges weren’t very neat on the inside, so I had to “change horses midstream”.  I hadn’t planned to do anything on the inside of the edges, but they didn’t look very good.  I decided to use hot glue and put some gold piping I had in my stash around them.  Another tedious thing, but it turned out “okay”.  Of course I got hot glue all over the “glass” which was a minor pain to clean off.

Finally done, but I won’t do another one with glass that is not removable.  I’ll check from now on.  BTW I do love the paper I used for this.  It’s actually a Christmas tissue paper I got about 10 years ago and it’s almost all gone.  I love it because it ends up looking very Americana instead of Christmasy.  Oh, and I almost forgot.  I sprinkled a little glitter onto the frame after each coat of Mod Podge and let it dry.  I love the glittery look.

 

And now, on to Handmade Monday!  I’m sure everyone there planned out their crafts better than I did.  Let’s go see.  🙂

Glittery Mess

I am very late for Handmade Monday, I made something earlier in the week, and should have just waited and posted it today, but couldn’t wait.  You can see it here. (It’s a musical security blanket for a baby).

Today I did a simple birthday card for a friend who has a birthday coming up. I had done something similar for Thank You cards. They are really easy, altho I’m not all that good at anything that takes really steady hands. All I do is paint glue (either white glue or in this case gel school glue) on my stamp, stamp on my card stock and then sprinkle the glitter over the glue. I let it set and then tap off the excess.
I stamped the sun on some yellow paper and cut that out to glue on and hand wrote the “Happy Birthday” (not my strongest skill set!). It’s pretty amateurish looking but this is an old friend, and I think she’ll like it anyway.
Now, off to Handmade Monday to see what everyone else has been doing.

Snips and Snails and New Tools

 

I did a few small things this week, no big projects.  But it’s Handmade Monday again and there is only one more before Valentine’s Day! Plus it’s the 52nd one, which means we’ve been doing this for an entire year. I got in almost at the beginning of it, so I’ve been doing this for just short of a year too. I’m sure everyone has made all sorts of cute things with hearts and things, and I can’t wait to go see what they’re doing.  Click the link and check it out after you’re done here.  🙂

I posted a candle in a cup I did using Penny’s method, so if that interests you, please check it out here.  It turned out so well, as you can see from the photo here (I did finally light it!) I’ll share it again!

I get so many good ideas from other bloggers.  Penny, at Planet Penny has such a fun blog, and in addition to good ideas and beautiful things to look at, it’s always fun to read.

I have also been working on a little jar for a young boy for Valentine’s Day.  It’s a little difficult to make things for boys for this particular holiday.  Girls are easy, jewelry and well, everything just fits.  I ended up making something not all that Valentine-like but it came out cute enough to share anyway.  I didn’t take photos as I went, but it wasn’t rocket science so, I’m really just going to share a photo of the best part.  The jar is a plastic jar that shaving cream comes in, then Mod Podged with green tissue paper.  I put the boys name on one side and “Stuff” on the other –both cut with the Cricut of course because I could never cut letters out by hand.

I then made a little snail with Sculpy and made him some antennae with copper wire I had in my jewelry making box.  I used 2 little beads for eyes.  I made the shell and body separate so I could paint them different colors easily, using acrylic paint.

I attached him to the lid with hot glue, but he came off once, so I cleaned the hot glue off of everything and reattached him using hot glue and then put white glue around the edges.  Hopefully he will stay put.

He is so cute, I’m thinking of making some more and maybe painting a little smile on his face!

I also made a Valentine’s Day card.  I’m not going to mention who it’s for in case they see this (and this person does sometimes read my blog!).  I’m not quite done with it, but I wanted to share what I have done so far because I thought it turned out not too bad.  I really didn’t have much in mind when I started except that I had a bag full of red hearts of various sizes I had cut with my Cricut and I had a new tool (which I will tell you about in a minute) and some red ribbon.

I started with a precut white cardstock (the kind that comes in sheets with 2 cards per sheet and you feed them through a printer–I have a package of them for making cards on the printer).  I used my cool new tool and cut out a heart “window” toward the bottom.  I had a piece of red woven something that is, well, I don’t really know what it is.  It feels like something between paper and fabric.  I can’t remember where I got it, but it’s been in my “stash” for a long time.  I glued it behind the heart “window” and then decided to try cutting a heart out of it with my new tool.  That worked, altho it left the edges fuzzy and I had to trim it a little.

Then I just added hearts until I liked the way it looked.  I put the heart from the “window” inside one of the bigger red hearts, and let everything dry.  Then I made a bow with some organdy ribbon and sewed it on.  I hope I can mail this without crushing the bow too badly.

Oh, my new toy, er, tool is a Fiskar’s Squeeze Punch.  They are a little pricey, but they were on sale so I bought a couple of different ones.  I love them because you can cut “windows” OR you can cut shapes.  Just one more fun thing, and very, very easy to use.

Only one more week until Valentine’s Day, so I had better get these things in the mail!

Joy

Joy
One more card. This one sort of made itself. I had the letters for JOY made from Mod Podge and food coloring –I think I need to do a blog on that, but not today. I wanted to do them in simple cut outs in the card, and it just started from there. It kept just needing *something else*. 🙂 That’s really my favorite way to work.

I ended up using ric rac and lace and glittery ribbon (behind the cut outs) and some snowflakes left over from making gift tags.  I glued the lace down on the dots, and amazingly that worked.  I cut it big enough to go all the way around the other side so it’s very secure.

Make a joyful noise.  And some cards!  🙂

Christmas Cards

I am closing in on the cards, and hopefully by the time you read this they will be in the mail –at least most of them.  But I am writing this a little early so that I can get it posted and get back to work.  I have most of them finished, so I thought I would do a few photos before I put them into envelopes and realized I was short a few (or maybe not a few!)

I won’t go into details about the making of them, since eat one was different.  I will just admit to using my Cricut (and I will post a photo of it soon for those who don’t know what it is) to cut the cards and the words and some of the shapes.  I also cut out things from wrapping paper, and leftover Christmas cards from other years, ribbon, and fancy pens, colored pencils (altho sadly I cannot find my good artists colored pencils, they have managed to hide themselves somewhere in the craft room mess, but I know they will turn up).

I wrote the messages on vellum paper that I had from another project because I was afraid if I tried to write directly onto the cards I would mess up and have to throw away cards I spent a lot of time on.  I spent a great deal of time deciding how to affix the vellum into the card, but finally settled on the little corners you can buy to put photos into scrap books.  This has the added advantage of not only looking nice (they basically disappear on the page if you use the clear ones) but the recipient could recycle the card if they wanted to by removing the greeting and putting their own in there! Or, even replacing it with a photo.  It was an accidental idea, and I have to give my husband credit for pointing it out to me.  I should also mention that he’s the one who cut out all the vellum for the messages too.  He’s a wonderful partner because he never seems to mind those mundane tasks that make me crazy!

I’m pleased with the cards.  Some of them look a little whimsical (that means they look like a small child made them!) but hopefully the people who get them will enjoy them.  I know I had fun making them.  I would have had more fun if I had started them in August.  🙂

Now, go and check out the other Handmade Monday crafts.  I am going to, and then I hopefully will post a few other things over the next week.  I have done a few other Christmas Crafts.  Once the cards are in the mail, and I have my Christmas shopping done (closing in on it!) my only other big project is little kitchen thing that is going to disrupt the entire house, I’m afraid.  So, I will either have lots of time to blog, or I will be nowhere to be seen.  I’m not sure which.

 

A Cupa Christmas

I do love Christmas and I have always loved making Christmas decorations.  I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for a couple of weeks, in fact ever since I ran across these little china cups while cleaning out the attic.  These were some little blue and white cups I had collected back in the 1980s.  I think they were one of those premiums the grocery store gave away, and while they were pretty, they are really pretty nondescript and rather worn. I looked them up online and they aren’t worth much (I wanted to make sure before I did something else with them).  I don’t need more cups, so when inspiration struck I decided to go for it.

It also just so happened that I had read in several places about a product that this was a good opportunity to take out for a test drive.  I love Mod Podge, but it’s not water proof.  I often have ideas for things, but I would like the item to withstand moisture.  So, I thought, you know what?  I’m going to try that stuff and just see.  It doesn’t matter if these cups are water proof, but I can see how that stuff goes on, how it looks and how well it works.

At any rate, I have to say, I’m really pleased with my little Christmas Cup.  I have only made one, but I really wanted to share it with you for Handmade Monday. So, before you head over there to check out what everyone else has done, I hope you will take a look at what you can do with a little tissue paper, some Mod Podge, an old china cup, gold thread and that mystery ingredient!  Just click on Christmas Tea Cup.  Then head over to Handmade Monday and see what everyone else has been up to!  🙂

Starting Christmas

I am still cleaning out and organizing my craft room.  One thing I ran across was some Christmas ornaments I made before we moved to Florida that I put away and never did anything with.  I don’t need to take up that much space, and honestly, someone needs to enjoy them, so I finished them up with some ribbons and will get them into the mail to my sons and their wives.

They are very simple to make, so I thought I would share them here.  Obviously I didn’t take photos of the process.  However, it’s just torn tissue paper and Mod Podge on glass Christmas balls.  You can use either the clear ones, or the colored ones you buy to decorate a tree.  I actually used gold balls I bought a box of because they were cheaper.

Buy pretty Christmas tissue paper and tear it into manageable pieces (about 1 or 2 inches, random sizes).  Brush Mod Podge onto the ball and smooth the tissue onto the ball and brush more Mod Podge over the paper.   I like to buy cheap one inch paint brushes from the hardware store to use.    This is messy, by the way.  I don’t know if I do many things that aren’t.  You will have to do one side and set it on something like a small glass jar to let it dry and then do the other side.

Overlap the paper as you go, and just keep working it until you like the effect you get.  On some of them I wrapped gold thread for an interesting effect and on some I sprayed gold glitter spray.  I’m sure there are other things you could come up with.  Add a few coats of Mod Podge and let it dry thoroughly.  Add a nice little ribbon and that’s it!  These cost next to nothing.

When my boys were growing up I gave them an ornament every year so that when they left home they would have at least 20 or so ornaments for their tree.  Some years I bought them something if I found one that was perfect, like the year I found Santas with various sport’s themes.  Other years I made something.  Do any of you do this for your kids?  I think it’s such a nice tradition.  I even have a few ornaments made by my Mother in Law that will pass down too.

Oh, and don’t forget to also go check out Handmade Monday.  I’m sure everyone has done some really amazing things!  They always do.  🙂  Thanks for stopping by.