Monthly Archives: January 2012

Awesome Valentine Project

My friend Eileen received this awesome Valentine from her husband, Dan, a few years ago.  It is a heart-shaped box made of vinyl.

Did I mention that Dan made it himself?  He does custom car upholstery and he created this wonderful see-through box out of vinyl, piped in red, complete with zippers.  I love it!  It even has little locks on it.

The card inside is pretty adorable too.  A picture of a dog with the caption: “I know I’m just a mutt. Could I be yours?”  Awww.

Dan: I salute your creativity and craftsmanship!

Even their kitty, Jakey, admired the work that went into this Valentine.

Let your creativity shine!

Thanks for stopping by.

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Itty Bitty Cards

I’m terrible.  The last thing I need is more craft supplies.  But I saw these two tubs of little mini stamps at Joann and I couldn’t resist!

Each tub has 18 rubber stamps and a small stamp pad.  The stamp pad is pigment ink which isn’t my favorite – it is more painty than water-based dye ink and slower to dry.  But no worries, I have plenty of other stamp pads.  Plus loads of colored markers for coloring in these little images.

The stamps are only about 3/4 of an inch by 1 inch and the designs are sweet and whimsical.  “Hoppy Birthday” and “Bee Happy” are just two phrases that come to mind.

We just had Jean Steel, a wonderful speaker, as a guest presenter on the campus where I work and she spoke engagingly about choosing your attitude, having more fun, etc.  I went into the program with a bit of an eye-rolling skepticism but she won me over with her humor, personal stories, and her extremely positive attitude. Some of the things that really stood out for me during Jean’s speech  and ideas that I am working on including in my life are:

  • I choose my attitude – my attitude doesn’t have to match my circumstances
  • Share my gratitude (like with itty bitty cards)
  • Practice positive self-talk and affirmations (ooh, boy, I need to do more of this)
  • Keep flowers and/or plants on my desk or in my office
  • Offer assistance
  • Ask for help
  • Be respectful
  • Create kindness rituals (I love this idea)
  • Maintain a sense of humor
  • Practice self-care
  • Accept, value & appreciate differences

I decided these cute stamps would be perfect for making adorable mini-cards for my co-workers. Maybe I am just adept at finding the right reason for buying new crafting goodies, but  I have already cranked out a batch of cards and shared them with people at work to let them know I think they’re wonderful. I’m planning on keeping some of the stamps in my desk and I’m looking forward to making and sharing another bunch of cards.

It’s fun and fast making little cards.  I have some small envelopes and I measured card stock to fit inside.  It’s a great way to use up odds and ends of paper.

Did I mention fun?  They’re fun to make and from the feedback I’ve received they’re fun to receive.  I try not to underestimate how one small card might be just the thing to lift a friend’s spirits or give someone a smile.  I always benefit from some crafting time (or craft therapy as I like to call it) so it is really a win-win situation.

Thank you, Jean, for your wonderful presentation.

Thanks you, readers, for the visit – you’re awesome! 🙂

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Heart Strings

Pretty Strings of Hearts

I’m in love with these strings of paper hearts.  Instead of a horizontal garland, these hang vertically with individual hearts twisting and turning gently at the slightest breeze.  They’re another use for pages from old books and sheet music (see here for a past project using vintage paper) and because they aren’t red or pink or too frilly and flowery, they don’t shout Valentine’s Day.  Which in my case means these beautiful heart strings will be hanging over my couch past that holiday.

Heart Strings Silhouette

What I really love about these heart strings is the story that goes with them.  My mom, seeing that I used some vintage sheet music in a previous post (the Punched Heart Garland, linked above) asked if I would like some of the pretty, old sheet music she had.  I said yes, but only if it was ok to use it in craft projects.  She said it was fine – better to have it put to some use.  She rummaged around and brought out a stack of old sheet music, most of which had belonged to her mother.

Old Sheet Music

When my mother’s mom, Norma Williams, was about 15 years old, she moved with her family to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  She started taking piano and organ lessons from the organist at the Presbyterian church. She also worked in a music store for a time and when someone wanted to hear what a certain piece of sheet music sounded like, she would play it for them.  She was an accompanist for vocal soloists and other instrumentalists.  The stack of music my mother gave me included pieces for voice and violin.  “Norma Williams” is written in careful script on the top corner of each piece.

After a time she became the assistant to the church organist.  Norma Williams married the pastor’s son, Hugh P. Cooper. When they married in 1924, the choir gave them a clock as a wedding present. Eventually the organist moved away and my grandmother took over the position.  The name of the organist?  Jennie Stevens Faw – my great-grandmother on my father’s side!

Sheet Music Covers for Some Hearts

I love that our families had this connection before my parents were even born.  I have an image of the invisible strings connecting all of us together.  My parents, Nancy Cooper and David Faw, were married in 1954, in the same church as her parents. The clock given to my maternal grandparents as a wedding present, sits on my parents’ china cabinet.

Now back to the crafting: this is another project that I saw on Pinterest and one that was stitched up on a sewing machine.  Since I still don’t count sewing as one of my strengths, I did this with vintage paper, double-sided tape and Baker’s twine and I’m very happy with how it turned out.  If you’d like to try the sewing version, please go here, to Dottie Angel, a very cool spot that tells about the peachy crafty life of Tif Fussell, the person from whom I adapted this project.

Closer Look at Vintage Paper Hearts

Heart String

Supplies:

Vintage Paper such as old sheet music

Colorful Covers from Old Sheet Music

Decorative Paper

Double-Sided Tape (I used Scotch brand permanent double-sided tape)

Glue Stick

Bakers Twine or other string

Scissors

Pencil (optional, to trace heart shapes)

Scrap Card Stock (optional, to cut out and use as heart templates)

Large Heart Shaped Punch (optional for punching out heart shapes instead of cutting)

Directions:

Either freehand or using a template, cut various sizes of hearts from vintage paper.  Cut them in two’s because you use pairs of hearts stuck together with the string in between. For every 6 or 8 hearts that are black type on paper, cut some from the pretty artwork on the covers of the sheet music or from other colorful decorative paper.

I make some strings from all the same size and some I mix up. Get a length of string and a stack of hearts.  Decide which surface of paper for each heart will be facing outward.

Stick a piece of tape down the center of one of a pair of paper hearts.   Put a few pieces of tape near the top of the curved parts of the heart or use a glue stick  for getting around the edges.

Lay the string over the tape down the center of the heart and press the string into the tape. Put another piece of tape over the string.

Lay the second (same sized) heart on the tape (or tape and glue) and press to adhere the paper hearts together with the string inside.

Intersperse a colorful heart or two in between all the black and cream hearts created from the vintage sheet music  or other vintage paper.  The sheet music front and back covers are good sources for pretty paper and interesting graphics.

Repeat until you have a lovely string of hearts.   Tie a little loop at the end of the string.

Tape the string up and make some more heart strings.  I like to lie on the couch under my heart strings and blow and watch the hearts spin gently.

Thank you for stopping by.

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Happy Blog-Anniversary to Me!

Today is my one year blog anniversary!  I have a special anniversary request to everyone reading this: if you really want to make my day, post a comment and say hi or let me know where you are or something about you. That would be really be fantastic!

My other request is for those of you who receive this in an email:  please click on the site.  Even if you don’t feel like posting a comment I would love to see the stats for EVERYONE who reads this post.  I love looking at my stats and seeing how many people are reading my posts, which posts are popular and what people click on. But I’ve learned that the stats don’t count those of you that read the post in your email, and I don’t want to miss any of you.

Last year on January 16th I hit “publish” on my very first post.  Since then I’ve published 118 posts! More than I could have imagined.  The positive response has been tremendous and I find every aspect of blogging very satisfying.  Coming up with things I want to blog about, researching ideas, trying out crafts and recipes, taking pictures, writing about it and editing my posts and choosing the photos to illustrate it.  It is truly craft therapy for me.

The picture at the top of this post is a birthday candle in a celebratory Coffee Cake in a Coffee Mug – much like one of my earliest posts: Brownie in a Mug.  I’ll be posting my version of the recipe soon.  In the meantime, here is link to the recipe that I adapted.

Speaking of statistics, here are my top five most-viewed posts from the last year, starting with the fifth:

Art From The Heart. This post celebrates some of the handcrafted Valentine projects Rem and I make for each other.


Day 22: Fabric Covered Notebooks.  During 30 Days of Creativity in June I covered some notebooks with fabric and fusible webbing.


Mother’s Day Hat Card.  A hat-shaped card with swirled paper roses is very pretty and a bit different.


Marbleized Paper with Shaving Cream.  This technique is lots of fun and has really beautiful results.  It continues to get hits thanks to Pinterest.

Sunprint-Paper & Packing Tape Transfers on Decoupage Boxes. I was so excited when WordPress featured my blog with this post on their homepage Freshly Pressed. It generated TONS of traffic from all over the world, lots of comments and a bunch of new subscribers.

Ta da!

I also take pictures and work on things that ultimately don’t make it into a blog.  Some still might in a future post.

Here are a few pictures that haven’t made it into a post:

I’ve got loads of ideas and look forward to a new year of blogging.

Thanks for reading, your support means a lot to me.

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Needle Felted Heart Garland

A little crocheted heart garland inspired this project. I loved the sight of the little red hearts along the natural cord. I knew that I wasn’t going to learn how to crochet in order to make the crocheted version. So I decided to try something similar with needle-felted hearts.

Needle felting is a method of interlocking and compacting wool fibers by poking them over and over with a special barbed felting  needle.  If you decide to try needle felting, please be very careful with the needles because they are quite sharp (speaking from experience).

Needle Felted Heart Garland

Supplies:

Wool Roving (clean, combed and carded wool that hasn’t been spun into yarn – in this case, dyed pink or red)

Barbed Felting Needles I use single needles and a “pen” with a trio of needles in it

Dense Foam Pad

Scrap Card Stock or Cardboard for Heart Templates

Heart Punch (optional) or Scissors

Wooden Skewer (optional)

Bakers Twine I found lovely twine in a local shop but you can get it here: (Divine Twine)

Large Needle  with eye large enough to fit bakers twine, for threading the twine through the hearts

Directions:

First make two templates for your finished heart.  I used a heart punch to make a one-inch heart out of card stock.  I also used it to put a heart-shaped hole in a small piece of cardboard.  I used these two templates along the way to guide the size and shape of the finished hearts.

Pull off two tufts of wool roving.  Fold the end of one piece in half over your index finger, pull it off carefully (still folded) and fold it lengthwise.  Set it on the foam pad and poke at the folded end repeatedly with the needle pen (3 needles held together in a pen-like handle) or with a single felting needle. Leave the unfolded end un-felted. Move the needles up and down into the wool. This causes the wool fibers to start becoming interlocked together.

Fold the second piece and start to felt it the same way.  Now lay one piece over the other crossways.

Give it a few good jabs with the needle.  Flip it over and poke it a few more times.

It’s starting to look a bit like a heart.  It is still pretty loose and I want a more solid, firm shape.  Take the cardboard with the heart-shaped hole in it and put it right on top of the wool you’ve started felting.

Jab your felting needle into the wool.  I find it very satisfying  just working away at it.  It makes an interesting little crunchy sound as you poke at the wool and the foam block.

Turn the heart over, put the template over it and felt the other side.

With a single needle I pay particular attention to the center top part of the heart (the cleavage, for lack of a better description), defining it with some well-aimed jabs.

When you take off the heart-hole template you’ll find the edges aren’t very cleanly defined.  This is when you use the heart made of card stock.  Set the paper heart over the wool heart and carefully felt the edges of the wool heart to align them with the paper heart.

Wrap the loose tails around the shape and felt them in place.  Go all around the shape, trying to make it fairly even.

Sometimes while doing a larger shape I use a wooden skewer as a tool to help fold the wool in place although with this small heart it isn’t needed as much.  You can also use the tip of the skewer to hold your shape in place, keeping your fingers away from the sharp felting needle.

If you find a part of your wool heart is flimsy or too thin, get another small tuft of wool roving and wrap it over the thin part and felt it in place.

Once you’ve got a wool heart you are satisfied with, you can trim it for a somewhat smoother, less fuzzy appearance but for this project I didn’t think it made much difference.

Keep making hearts until you’ve got a bunch.

Now thread your large needle with the bakers twine and thread the needle and twine through the hearts.  I left a space of about 4 inches between each heart.  Once I had them where I wanted, I felted in the area where the twine went through.  This helped to keep the hearts in place along the strand of twine.

If you don’t have a needle large enough for your twine, you can lay the twine over each heart and add a tuft of wool over the twine and felt it in place.

Now find a sweet spot in your home to hang up the garland.  Doesn’t it look great?  Or share the love and pass the garland on to  someone else.

Thanks so much for the visit!

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Crayon Wax Paper Hearts

It’s been a long time since I smelled this oh-so-familiar scent: melting crayons.  It is a scent from childhood and it brought back memories: the taste and texture of graham crackers dunked in apple juice, the smell of play-doh, the distinct taste of white paste (you know you tasted it too!).

I think most of us have made wax paper and crayon creations in the past.  Mine have been of the autumn leaf/crayon-shavings variety. These hearts are even more elemental than that.  Layer crayon shavings between two sheets of waxed paper.  Sandwich the waxed paper between sheets of parchment paper (or brown paper shopping bags) to protect the board and iron.  Once they’re cool, trace and cut out hearts in a variety of sizes.  Tape some bakers twine to each heart and hang it in window.  That’s it!

These hearts look so pretty in a window with sunlight shining through them, or hanging in front of a mirror.  I saw the beautiful originals on Pinterest and they’re from Martha Stewart.  Try as I might, I just can’t achieve the same results as Martha.   The ones on her site aren’t blotchy and are more evenly colored.  I think I should have used more crayon shavings.  To be honest, I’m also not going to sew a red silk thread on each heart to hang it up, like Martha did.  Tape and string works fine for me.

Crayon Wax Paper Hearts

Supplies:

Crayons

Hobby Knife to shave off bits of crayons

Wax Paper

Parchment Paper – Large brown paper bags will also work

Iron & Ironing Board

Scissors

Pencil

Scratch Paper  optional: to make heart patterns for cutting

Bakers Twine

Tape

Large Heart Shaped Punch (optional)

Directions:

Set iron to medium-high heat.

Lay a large sheet of parchment paper on ironing board.

Pull out a long length of wax paper and fold it in half.

Fold back the top layer of wax paper and shave crayons onto bottom layer of wax paper. For a more Martha heart, use only one color crayon per heart or colors that are analogous (very close together on a color wheel) and use plenty of shavings. Mine all had several colors of crayon.

Fold the top layer of wax paper back over the shaved bits of crayon.

Carefully clean off any bits of crayon that have dropped onto the ironing board.

Cover wax paper and crayons with another piece of parchment paper.

Iron the layered papers, moving iron constantly.  Keep ironing until all the the wax is melted and spread out.

Let cool.

Trace and cut out different sized hearts.

If desired, punch smaller hearts with a heart-shaped punch.  It works best with the punch if you layer a piece of card stock with the waxed paper before punching.

Cut bakers twine in different lengths and tape to hearts.

Tie lengths of bakers twine with hearts to another piece of bakers twine.

Hang in a window and enjoy the sun coming through the hearts.  I put mine in the window next to my dad’s recliner.

Thanks, as always, for your visit and comments.

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Ideas for Valentine’s Projects: Revisiting Previous Posts

I know some of you have been reading my blog from the earliest posts (and I am so pleased and tickled that you do).  But other readers have only started reading more recently, so may have missed these older posts with great projects for Valentine’s Day.  Click on the highlighted links to go to the specific posts.  Even if you saw them when I first posted them, they’re worth another visit.

The Alphabet Valentine  isn’t too sugary or flowery. You will need a set of alphabet rubber stamps.

The Doodle Heart Background would make a wonderful Valentine.  Write a sweet love note for your Valentine and surround it with doodled hearts.

Chocolate is always a winner and a  Brownie In A Mug  (or two) would be a nice Valentine treat to share.

The Paper-Strip-Heart Valentine is beautiful and much easier than it looks.

You could make a beautiful card using the Vegetable Printed Paper technique.

A small Embossed Tin would be a lovely way to present a small gift or a love note.  Or both.

If you want a more elaborate Valentine, the Tri-Shutter-Card is it. You can embellish this design as much as you want.

Honey-Vanilla Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce is a decadent and delicious combination and a sweet treat for your honey on Valentine’s Day.

If you want to make a bunch of Valentine’s, the Masterboard Valentine Tag is a good way to go.

To finish up how about another chocolate recipe?  Chocolate is dear to my heart and these Mocha Guinness Cupcakes are a wonderful balance of rich, earthy chocolate/beer cake, filled with luscious semi-sweet chocolate ganache and topped with mocha buttercream. Delicious!

I am creating more Valentine’s projects for this year: stay tuned!

Thanks for the visit.

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