Tuesday, May 31, 2011

hat making

When I was little, our school had an "Easter Parade" each year. Everyone made their own hat. The best was chosen, only one from all the grades in lower elementary, and the winner won free ice cream for a whole week! When you are 7 years old, that is like winning the lottery. At least it was in 1978. Maybe things have changed a bit.

Anyway, each year, I began planning my hat weeks in advance. My father would help me and together we would make the most incredible hats you've ever seen. I remember one in particular that started with a paper plate and finished up the most extravagant, beautiful hat you can imagine complete with a huge pink ostrich feather. It has always seemed like such an injustice that I never won the hat day prize. Not once.

So when I set about making a hat for Mary Engelbreit's birthday party this weekend, I tapped into my inner 7-year-old-self and created something of a masterpiece, worthy of a week of free ice cream for sure...

On Monday I'll have a Nutty Buddy...On Tuesday I'll have an Ice Cream Sandwich...On Wednesday I'll have an Orange Push-Up...

swap sign up closes today

Just wanted to remind you that the Birthday Treasury Shadowbox swap sign up closes today.

Sign up here.

I have one more swapper to match up whose style is "Rich, jewels, gypsy, velvet". Sound interesting to you? Sign up and I'll match you up.

p.s. All but one swapper has been matched up to a partner...if you haven't received a note from either me or your swapper, please let me know.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

party shoes

Embellished Shoes
from The Happy Birthday Issue

I finished only one of these shoes as a project for the birthday issue so I think I'll work on the other one and take them with me to St. Louis for Mary's big birthday crafting workshops next weekend.

To make your own, simply take a pair of fresh espadrilles and draw your design on them with Sharpie markers (see right shoe in photo) Mirror the same design on the other shoe (otherwise it might look like you're wearing two different shoes). Next start stitching! Use a narrow but strong needle. And I like to use button/carpet thread for sewing on the beads and sequins because it's extra durable.

The plain white espadrilles I used for this project are from Old Navy but are only available now in limited quantities and red stripes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Jill, you win!

Congratulations, Jill

You won the beautiful prize ribbon!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

House 8810

The other day Alfredo cuddled up to me on the sofa while I was stitching and declared "I want to stitch too!" I quickly put together a project for him to work on...With a fat Sharpie, I drew a quick picture of a house on a hill onto plain muslin fabric and put it in an embroidery hoop. I gave him a giant rather dull tapestry needle and threaded it with all 6 strands of embroidery floss. I knotted the ends together to make it easier for him (he couldn't pull the thread out of the needle if he tugged too hard). Unfortunately, I can't find the project now (it's hidden deep in his treasures somewhere!) But he did a great job and had so much fun stitching along with me.

It got me thinking about old fashioned lace cards and what a fun quiet craft they are...

And then I found these...

Aren't the wonderful? It would be fun to find some ready-made ones like these for a car trip or quiet time. But wouldn't it be fun to make your own? And wouldn't it be extra fun to take cool vintage illustrations and transfer them to fabric to make a step-up-from-lace-cards craft for kids.

So I found those cards at House 8810, a super cool online store. And just look what else I found...

Monday, May 23, 2011

prize ribbon giveaway

My friend Tracey Fisher shows us how to make this fun layered prize ribbon in the Happy Birthday Issue of Inspired Ideas. It's a super tutorial that shows how to make each layer, including the embroidered covered button!

And guess what...Tracey's generosity continues! 

She's giving away this fabulous prize ribbon!

To enter, leave a comment here. Contest ends on Wednesday, May 25 at 9:00 AM EST. Winner will be selected randomly by comment number using the true random number generator (www.random.org)

Good luck!

And be sure to visit Tracey's etsy shop and brand new blog.

Friday, May 20, 2011

shadowbox inspirations...

Did you sign up for the Birthday Treasury Shadowbox swap? Or, thinking about making a shadowbox of your own?

I love this shadowbox from One Lucky Day
...so inspiring! (click the link for fabulous details about this project)

Here's a list to get you inspired:
  • Search the scrapbook aisle for fun papers and stuff to decorate the box
  • Look to sites like Papier Valise and Speckled Egg for unusual materials 
  • Enlarge a photo to the full size of the shadowbox and then cut it to fit in the boxes
  • Use cabinet knobs, spools, game pieces, etc for feet 
  • Make or find miniature cakes, cupcakes, candies, etc. 
  • Use vintage dollhouse miniatures or make your own
  • Add a pennant banner or garland for dimension
  • Use jewelry bits to add sparkle 
  • Charms are great miniatures
  • Add a party hat to photos, cake picks, and figures
  • Use children's book illustrations or paper dolls 
  • Use Polly Pocket and other tiny doll toys
  • How about a tiny jar of sprinkles?
  • Use super tiny model railroad figures!
  • Background, foreground and even middle-ground...use it all to give your shadowbox real dimension
  • Mix scale within the shadowbox...a doll shoe is giant beside a n-scale railroad worker!
  • Vintage Cracker Jack toys, Barbie doll shoes & clothes, 
  • Think of the shadowbox as a 3-D art journal and include the same things you would there
  • You can hang things from tops of the boxes, too! 
I love this shadowbox so much 

And look at this fabulous shadowbox scrapbook 
found on Maya Road's design team blog:

And this fabulous shadowbox made by Katie Watson:

Don't you feel inspired? 
Comment with more inspiration if you'd like!

and we have a winner!

Four winners, actually!

Congratulations to
Lynne (Hoffman),

Thursday, May 19, 2011

craft suitcase

So here's what I'm thinking about...I would love to take one of the small vintage suitcases I have and make it into an organized craft suitcase. I did a little search and found some inspiration.

from BHG 

Doesn't that look like fun? I'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

gifts from the garden

I'm not a gardener. Not at all. But each Spring I get these fabulous gifts from the garden. The peonies were a bit beat up this year by all this heavy rain we've had. Some of these sweet beauties' branches were broken and they were hanging sadly. Others, heavy with rain, were dragging the ground. But can you believe their loveliness? I love them so much.

And these dainty little roses smell so amazing you wouldn't believe it. Peppery and light and wonderful.

Lots of fun friends are signing up for the swap. I hope you will too. I'm doing my best to match partners up.

And I'm so happy so many of you are buying the magazine. I'm really proud of it and I'm so pleased to share it with you. If you bought it, and you love it, will you help me spread the word?

Lastly, I've had a few questions asked many times and thought it would be a good idea to post the answers here too.

Each of the projects is available as a separate downloadable and printable pdf making it much easier to print out instructions and templates/patterns. The links for these downloadable/printable pdfs are listed in the index at the end of the magazine.

The other question is regarding a print copy of the magazine. It will be available but, due mainly to the size of this issue, it will be expensive. Look for details about the print edition here in the next few weeks.

Also I wanted to say that even though the theme of this issue is birthdays, the projects presented can be adapted for use in any celebration.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday Treasury giveaway!

I'm so excited about the Birthday Treasury Swap! So many really wonderful friends have signed up and I've already started pairing them up.

Tim Holtz's Configurations boxes come like this. (I used the 6.75" x 8.75" size for the Birthday Treasury project featured in the Happy Birthday issue. Swappers can use any size.)

All of the boxes are separate so it's super easy to decorate and arrange the shadowbox. 

When creating my Birthday Treasury project, I primed all of the pieces with gesso and then painted the "frame" with a wash of blue paint. I lined the inside backs of all the small boxes with papers cut to fit. I cut more papers than I needed in an assortment of patterns and colors and "auditioned them" as my friend Charlotte says. This is a very good way to start designing the shadowbox. It helps it feel less like a blank slate. 

What's really fun about these Configurations boxes is that you can arrange the boxes however you like them. It's sort of like a jigsaw puzzle...but one with dozens of configurations. 

Even if you're not signing up for the swap, I know you'll love playing with these shadowboxes. And the fabulous & generous Tim Holtz sent us some to share with you. 

Leave a comment here with a special birthday-ish idea for the shadowbox and you will be entered to win one of four Configurations boxes. Drawing will be held Friday, May 20. 

(There will be 4 winners, each winning one Configurations box. The sizes available are 1 small square (5.5" x 5.5"), 1 medium rectangle like the one I used for the Birthday Treasury project (6.75" x 8.75"), 1 long rectangle (5.75" x 10.75"), and one super big one (8.75" x 10.75"))

Good luck! And a special thank you to Tim Holtz for this fun giveaway! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Birthday Treasury Swap!

This Birthday Treasury Shadowbox is a project in the current issue of Inspired Ideas. I had sO mUcH fun making it! So much, in fact, that I want you to make one too. And share it! What do you say to a birthday treasury swap! Won't that be fabulous?

You in?

I created a fun and quick questionnaire for you to fill out so that I can pair you with the best possible match, someone who likes the same sort of stuff you do and who will absolutely love the shadowbox you create for her. Isn't that the best kind of swap?

p.s. Two things: 1. I made the Birthday Treasury project part of the free preview of the magazine. So even if you don't buy the magazine, you can see the project and get inspired. (Okay, really? You should buy the magazine...it is completely packed with great projects from really fabulous artists. It's just $3.30. I'm just saying...) 2. Watch the blog next week for a giveaway of Tim Holtz Configurations Boxes donated by the man himself. What a sweetie!

Oh I do hope you join the swap! We'll have so much fun. I pinky promise, you will love it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

cue the hallelujah chorus...

inspired ideas: The Happy Birthday Issue
Online Magazine celebrating the crafty life. 

Buy it.

Make something.

Be happy.

Some stuff for you to know: 
$3.30 buys rights for you to view this magazine online   
Not viewable on an ipad (fingers crossed that this will change)   
Adobe Flashplayer required (most updated version)  
If it doesn't load correctly for you the first time, try reloading it   
Upon purchasing you will be redirected to your private link  
You should also receive an email with that link. If you don't receive that email, be extra sure to bookmark the link upon redirection. (or just email me and I'll send it to you)
    Thank you so much!

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    close...so close

    We're having some technical difficulties but I'm hoping I'll have an announcement soon about when you can buy this new Inspired Ideas issue...on birthdays!

    You wouldn't believe how many hours went into making this issue so let me just say it was a lot. And I'll go out on a limb and say it'll be the biggest issue. Anything bigger would be insane. I mean, 250 pages, including covers? That is right there on the brink of insane.

    I'm feeling better today than yesterday. Better yesterday than the day before. And before I know it, I'll be back to feeling all the way better.

    Here are the things I'm going to do after this issue is published and I'm back to feeling 100%:
    • This sampler from Pam Garrison.
    • A proper pedicure. 
    • Paint a chalkboard wall in my kitchen.
    • Afternoon tea with my friend.
    • Make my hat for Mary Engelbreit's birthday party! 
    • Make popsicles. 
    • Plant something with Alfredo. 
    • Conquer Mount St. Laundry

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    to my mother

    I couldn't have dreamed up a sweeter, more loving, special mother.

    "I think my life began with waking up and loving my mother's face."
    -- George Eliot
    I love you! 
    Happy Mother's Day!

    (Photo taken by Alfredo when he was 2)

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    the ick in sick

    I see it all over blogdom...nearly every one of us seems to be under the weather these days. I've been fighting this latest bout for nearly two weeks. In between coughing fits and trying to work on the latest issue of the magazine (publication delayed slightly) and napping, I've been reading this delightful book: The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart. (I also read The Matchmaker of Perigord and adored every sweet enticing bit.)

    I've been reading it on my Kindle, which I totally adore. It really does feel just like reading a real book with pages. I even caught myself going to turn a paper page the other day. And this beautiful hardback cover makes the impression of reading a real book even more real.

    I finally went to the doctor yesterday and am now patiently waiting for the antibiotics to kick in. I am truly so tired of being sick.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    14 years ago...

    Thank you Rich for making this journey together such a fun adventure. Thank you for being the wonderful man you are. I love you more now than ever.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011