Friday, April 30, 2010

What do you call a squashed tomato?

Ketchup! Or catch-up in my case. :)

The house (and blog) have been so neglected this week!

In two weeks my friend's daughter turns one and I'm making all the decorations - fabric bunting banner a la Martha, some Dollar Store apothecary candy containers, a cutie little paper name banner and tons of other stuff I'm stealing from fab party decorators I find at Swanky Tables and other party websites. Anyone else ever become entranced by beautiful party photos?

I've also been working like a fiend filling the shop - my bits o' shine are going to be represented and sold at boutiques and I've been getting it all ready.

I have a crafty project and two decor projects and a "decrapification" project to quote TDC. So don't give up on me while I catch up. :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Make some space for entertainment

I like watching movies but I don't like watching movie cases fill up boxes and cupboards like I have nothing better to put there. Awhile back I mentioned my trick for saving space in the movies department.

While I was visiting my friend Karen and helping out with improving the fireplace she decided she wanted to try my space-saving trick as well.

We emptied boxes and boxes of DVD's...

much to the cat's enjoyment...

I fit! I fit!

Cats are so weird.
Although the baby is responsible for moving the boxes and lids all over the family room. :)

We removed all the papers to prepare the cases for recycling...

And even organized all her movies, by genre, into a case that only takes up this much room:

An entire sack FULL of garbage and several trips to the recycling bin later, all her movies are safe and secure and organized for easy access.

Also on the plus side, this is a great solution for when you completely lose the DVD case and have nowhere to keep it safe. Not to mention the portability factor! Next time a friend asks to bring over a movie, instead of a tough mental debate on which one to bring, you can just bring along the whole bunch and decide together. Nice.

Linking to:

Making the World Cuter

A Soft Place to Land

Silly Little Sparrow

FYI - the FaveCrafts Mother's Day 2010 ebook is available for downloading and features a project by yours truly! There are so many great things in it that you can make for the moms in your life.

And guess who is the last person to sign up for Twitter? Me! Good guess! You can follow my antics by searching for MollythePirate.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mosaic Monday - out the back

(click image to enlarge)

This is the view out the back of my property - two varieties of apple - yay for blooms! There was only one. single. apple. last year - there's the fence between me and that luscious green field where the adopted mustangs roam...and a creepy llama... and there are the beautiful sunsets in the treeline.

I just love my view out back!

Be sure to visit Little Red House and all the fabulous mosaics!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010 - tutorials to reuse and recycle

Tell me I'm not the only one who is secretly amused at all this talk of going green. I understand that to some this concept may be new but isn't it what we financially challenged people have been doing the whole time out of necessity?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Free goodies for Mother's Day

Here in the U.S. Mother's Day is fast approaching! If you are looking for something great for mom - or just a woman who inspires you - there are plenty of great tutorials the web over for making these ladies feel extra special and appreciated!

(click the images to be taken to their respective sites)

Ruffles and Stuff is posting tons of turorials until the big day:

And Made is collaborating on that project as well!

FaveCrafts has put out ebooks in the past and is planning another edition coming out soon (featuring a project of mine even!) - simply search for "Mother's Day."

Or if you want to give something handmade but don't have the time or inclination I'm hosting a giveaway on my etsy shop's facebook fan page:

Hurray for moms!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The curse of the brass fireplace

My friend Karen and I both love Nancy Drew so when she asked me to re-do her fireplace it seemed like it needed a Nancy Drew mystery-esque title.

Karen's house looks like it was owned by the same couple for years and years and years...and it shows. You can see the tone of the wood paneling and guess when it was put up (sidenote: her husband won't let her paint or take down the paneling because he likes it....he's also colorblind so can we forgive him?). But take a look at that fireplace - it stuck out like a sore thumb in the room.

I remembered Centsational Girl dealing with a bit of fireplace brass using the high heat paint - thank you Kate!
Karen and I got this quart for a mere ten dollars. Foam brushes were my applicators of choice since I didn't want brush marks in the paint.

Three coats later...

The best part? It doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. It blends in which was the whole point! Yay! Also, even after three coats I barely used any of that quart of paint. Barely any! We could high heat paint the neighborhood with how far that stuff goes.
I really enjoy simple changes for bringing a room up-to-date.

Tips: Use spray paint if you can get the insert to come out. We couldn't seem to get this one to come out so my second choice was the quart of paint and sponge brushes. If you're painting indoors make sure you can open up some doors and windows, this stuff smells like solvent. Yuck. I think I also would have preferred a teeny paint roller - I think it would have applied a little smoother. This paint is very thin so make sure you use thin coats so your paint doesn't run.

For gratuitous cuteness I'm posting a photo of her daughter. Because she's adorable and I couldn't resist. :)

Linking to:


A Soft Place to Land

The Shabby Chic Cottage

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mosaic Monday - vintage horses part II

(click image to enlarge)

I discovered quite the plethora of family photos that feature horses in my project the last couple weeks. I guess when you have a weird generation gap (like how most of my first cousins are nearly twice my age) you end up with lots of old photos that don't seem that old to you.

I also discovered I am a country girl way back to my roots! :)

Somewhere in that top left photo is my great grandpa Pete driving group of wagons loaded down with bags of wool. (yes sir, yes sir, three bags full) to Shaniko - now a "ghost town" - that was once called the "wool capital of the world."

The top right photo is my paternal grandmother.

Bottom right photo is my maternal great grandfather and one of his draft horses (the same draft horses that my grandpa was racing in last week's mosaic photo).

Bottom left photo is my maternal grandparents and my three uncles.

Be sure to visit Little Red House and see all the beautiful mosaics!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adventures in cardmaking

I choose not to card shop much anymore. Last time I tried I think I created some frown lines reading those awful and ridiculous lines that you just can't believe someone got paid to write. My cousin gave me a package of cardstock pre-cut and creased into card shapes and even includes some envelopes and I've been using those for all my special occasion needs. Plus it's just way more fun. :)

My brother's birthday was in March so I made him a card of some of his favorite things, diamond plate chrome and tire tracks. The "diamond plate" is a scrap of scrapbook paper - I used it as my base, layering a piece of rippled carstock covered by...

...another piece of cardstock that I made tire tracks on. Super easy! Just use a toy car, roll the back tires over an ink pad and vroom vroom your way to a custom pattern. He loved it. :)

Several couples I know recently announced engagements with weddings set for this summer. I've been dying to make a cute layered cake using this tiny pom trim I bought from Christopher Pines so this is perfect! This one is a work in progress, just so you know. :)

The layers: I cut the oval out of the white card and layered the pink behind it, window style. For the cake layers I first embossed strips of paper using the "vintage rose" distress powder. The cake stand and topper are rub-ons by Heidi Grace Designs (found in scrapbooking locales all over the place). Around my oval I put a piece of my ever-present dictionary page - I'm not sure I'll ever use them all up!

Inside the front cover of the card I used the "love" dictionary page with a pair of rub-ons highlighting the important part.

So, any fabulous ideas on what I can use to cover the gap between my dictionary page and pink oval? I've been pondering it a good month now and I'd appreciate some ideas!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Attack of the cute! A good use for scrapbook scraps.

I am always on a mission to make even the most mundane item something fun and enjoyable to use. These right here are my absolute most favoritest (I know that's a made up word but I just get so excited) pens in the whole world. The Pentel RSVP in fine point. Ahhhhhhh so wonderful. I swear it is responsible for making my handwriting look amazing and I actually got hired at a job once because the manager said I had "really nice handwriting" - true story!

As wonderful as they write they are a bit...stark. Solely utilitarian (see? I know real words). So that combined with my ridiculous mass quantity of scrapbook paper scraps and a plan comes together! These pens easily come apart and since the main part of the pen is clear it makes the perfect canvas for my sudden "stripes and polka-dot" obsession.

My beautiful Paper Wishes scraps.

If you are going to use these same pens you only need a piece of paper that is 1 inch wide and 3 and 3/8 inches long.

I find that rolling the paper around something (like the pen insert) helps curl it up and makes it easy to pop inside.

What an easy way to use up those little paper scraps you hoard because you just can't bring yourself to throw them away. I know I'm not the only one! :)

Linking to:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mosaic Monday - vintage horses

(click image to enlarge)

My project the other day inspired me to go through some old family photos and find as many "horse" photos as I could. There were considerably more than I could fit in this mosaic! I may have to make a two-parter.

The top left photo is my mom's great uncle, the top right photo is my mom's other great uncle watching a herd of wild horses. The bottom right is my grandpa and his brother (and someone else I don't know) taking their team of horses racing even though they weren't supposed to. :) Bottom middle photo is my great grandpa's brother and family (very proud of their horse I guess!), and the bottom left photo is my mom's uncle.

Be sure to visit Little Red House to see other beautiful mosaics!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Eco-Felt needlebook tutorial

Constantly losing needles? Pincushions not working for you when you travel about doing sewing/embroidery/quilting? That was my mom's problem. She was always losing a needle, or she'd go to a quilting group and have trouble transporting what she needed. That's when I decided she needed a needlebook! And then one of the ladies in her group noticed it and commissioned me to make her a few.

As fair warning this tutorial does not offer specific measurements - I used scraps for all of the ones I made so just use the ideas to make what you have work.

For the first one I started with a rectangle of eco-felt that, when folded up, would fit comfortably in the hand yet not something so small it would get lost in a quilting bag (you can see the measurements on the grid).

And for aesthetics I trimmed the corners off the side that will make the closure.

Once you've got your size figured out and how it will close, sew on the button and sew on any appliques. I did hearts for this one and I recommend using a felt glue to stick them on before you stitch around them, just so they stay in place evenly and don't end up crooked like mine. :)

I stitched around each heart all the way to give them a "poufy" sort of look and to make sure they were securely attached.

Now that you know how big your book is, cut the rectangles that will make the "pages" of the book. I recommend five pages - two to line the covers and three that will be loose.

Using a felt-glue I adhere a piece to the inside of each cover - this will add some thickness and help stiffen it while it also covers the stitches from your button and applique.

And don't forget to cut your button hole! :)

You can also cut your cover support as one chunk it just so happened I forgot to do that with this one. Each book I make ends up completely different, but they all work.

I like leaving just a bit of space between my interior cover and the outside edge.

Carefully line up the three interior pages and close the cover - now you're ready to stitch the whole thing together!

For all my stitching I use embroidery floss that I've divided in half. The regular size is a combination of six indivual threads...

and dividing it will give you three - still strong but easier to work with and doesn't look so bulky.

The first needlebook I made I hid my knots inside the last page and the back cover, but I found it made my binding really uneven, so if you are more expert in this area than myself (and that wouldn't take much!) it keeps your cover nice and clean. This time around I put my needle through back to front and made a series of six stitches like so...

My subsequent stitches placed so as to cover my knot. I think it was easier!

My finished needlebooks made using only supplies on hand (woohoo destash-along!):

Some variations I made:

Instead of making the front cover have a huge flap I used an extra scrap to make this which I adhered using felt glue and then stitched to secure.

I put my stitches on an angle. And don't worry they weren't this big or horribly spaced that's just as well as I can draw using MSPaint.Another variation was to make a pocket in the back for storing those long needle things (you can tell I know what I'm doing when I use terms like that) or maybe a small pair of scissors. I simply cut my piece extra long, then folded it up and stitched the sides together.

This piece is glued to the back as the back cover support.
There you have it! No more losing a needle in the carpet and finding it with your foot! Or going to a quilting group and digging around your bag thinking don't I have needles in here somewhere? Ow, ow, ow. Found them.

Happy stitching!