Busy Bee

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Today I entered this Tuesday Brag Day on the Tip Junkie Blog… http://www.tipjunkie.com/homemade-projects-228/

Tip Junkie handmade projects

AND I also entered Wednesday’s Made By Me Linky Party on JAQS Studio… http://www.jaqsstudio.com/2012/02/made-by-me-20-linky-party.html

I have actually been very busy these days – got one project 3/4 of the way done, and have ordered fabric for two other projects – will post pictures ASAP!

Hope it has been Spring-like weather in your neck of the woods!

A hint of things to come:

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Family Treasures and Change in the Air

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Today is raining. Which is cool, we need the rain, fo shizzle! So I was going through a (small) craft box full of interesting things. Elastic, unopened (THAT’S where I put that! Just replaced it last month. Sigh) trim and edging. Some raffia, some round plastic canvas pieces. AND, a rich finding of booty! Not pirate’s treasure (and not that other bootie either,) but close. Pieces of Lace, Tatting and Embroidery belonging as far back as my great-grandmother – and who knows, now, maybe further!

Family Dresser Scarf Linen, with Embroidering & Tatting (Left and Right)

Next up… A lone Square for a Quilt project that is now defunct. I probably have others, enough for a few pillows, a scarf or something equally benign! I made this myself, one of my first forays into quilting, back in the late ’90s.  (below)

I found a pile of pieces of tatting, embroidery and lace, again, handed down from mother to daughter. My mother always used handkerchiefs, and her greatest treasures were the ones she inherited from her mother, often with little flowers embroidered on them, and hand-tatted edging.  What lovely projects will I be able to find to use these? I memorialized some of these in a gift to my sister Betty. I have asked her if she has a picture of it, or will take a picture of it, so I can share that process with you in a later posting.

Last but absolutely definitely not least,  I found a gorgeous piece  of crocheted tatting a square collar – so creamy in color, with nary a rip or tear in it, and with no visible stains either! I have a picture somewhere of my mother wearing it over a navy blue dress – simple elegance at its best. Will look for that picture (may have to tap my sisters on that one too!) Kind of got a pilgrim look about it, doesn’t it? Appropriate, since I am one of 35 million Mayflower descendants! 🙂

Now, for the news. I am working on creating a new webpage/blog for my craft pages – it will be a rather inclusive blog, with books for sale, crafts for sale occasionally, and craft products for sale (occasionally) as well as reviews of crafting books. My other blog (Readerwoman Redux) will stay where it is (click name to the left to reach) for the foreseeable future. And the Crafter’s Cafe will stay open – but stagnant, with past articles available, and such, with a link at the top to the new site. If you are a subscriber to this blog, you WILL HAVE TO RESUBSCRIBE to the new one! It may take me a month or so to get it up and open – so keep your eyes open and your fingers ready to click over to the new site! Thanks for all your support! I am moving my site so I can (1) sell things (2) have sponsors and (3) appropriate advertising (4) have almost everything in one place (5) save my sanity. (Oh. too late on that one. Oh well…)

Thanks for joining me today at The Crafter’s Cafe. The new site will be called (Tentatively) Crafts and Books and Stuff ~ Oh MY!

Til next time! Happy Trails!

The Year for Fabric Arts

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This year I am going to focus on FABRIC. I still crochet when I am watching TV, but I want to improve my applique and quilting skills.

So far this year, I have made an owl – stuffed one mounted on a lovely piece of driftwood I found…

And, today, I finished a pillow I have worked on for some time. The centerpiece is a square from a quilt my grandmother made me over 50 years ago. The quilt got so shabby and well-loved that I, oh-so-carefully, cut it apart to use as craft projects. I found an old chintz flowered fabric for the back, and since I wanted to use a 14 inch pillow form, I used that pansy fabric around the edges of the quilt block too. Each corner of the quilt block is accented with antique lace, made by my great-grandmother, and I added small dragonflies to the corners as well, since I love dragonflies.

I am so pleased with the way it came out. Next time I make my bed (!!) I will show you how it looks with the other pillows I have made. I had so much fun making this though, that I may sabotage the pillows I made before, to create other pillows with yet another family quilt that is too ratty to use anymore.

Below is a closer look at the corners of the quilt square and of the back:

 

I really do love coming up with ideas to use the materials I have on hand – I have a serious problem with letting go of toilet paper rolls, meat trays, tin foil, old pictures, fabric scraps and much more. I honestly thought I was doing better – until I finally admitted that I was still keeping S**T, I was just HIDING it better! ROFL

What’s on your plate (or crochet hook, knitting needles, sewing machine etc.) for this year? Are you going to try any new crafts? Are you going to fine tune some old ones? Share!

Creativity in the Bedroom

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GOTCHA! No, this is not a sex blog! ROFL. I have been puttering in my bedroom, which is also my office and my craft workroom. We have a king-sized bed, necessary for two people and two dogs! It takes up most of the room, so it is for sure the focal point.

I bought a lovely tapestry pillow, but it looked so naked by itself on the bed that I had to do something to perk it all up. So I took two pillow forms (one from a tacky-looking pillow that I wanted to re-cover anyway) and covered them. And not a bit of sewing involved!

For both, I used solid color pillowcases that matched the colors in my Amish quilt. I put the pillow form inside the case, in the lowest corner. Carefully folding the excess fabric to the back, I tied a scarf around each.

           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Easy Peasy. Pictures aren’t really great, but you get the idea!

Over my bed I have a family quilt – made, I believe, by my great-grandmother. It is a very dark navy (almost black) and cream. My hubby, Ed, hung it folded so both sides showed. Isn’t it beautiful?!

Today I found a great site to share with you – called WHERE WOMEN CREATE They are running a twelve days of Christmas giveaway right now, and although I really don’t want to share it with anyone, because I want it all for myself – there will be TWELVE winners (it started November 30, but you still have time to get in on the last 5 days!)

Next blog will be more about great sites that I have found – there are so many creative people out there – I am often humbled by the talent!

Holidays are Here – Are you doing Homemade Gifting this Year?

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I am. I almost always do. My kids (30 and 31-1/2) don’t really appreciate it much, so I tried harder this year to meet their interests – or at least my daughter’s. I think I will end up buying things for my son, because homemade is definitely not his gig, unless it is out of the kitchen. Sigh.

My sisters will both get handmade gifts – as will my landlord, neighbor and the friends I share gift-giving with. I am giving gifts of charity donations this year as well, donations to my sister’s charity, Oma Village, and to a green organization that will send a magazine and ideas on living green to my recipients. Please, if you are considering charitable giving this year for your gift list, please remember, giving and doing good deeds are in the spirit of the season for most religions holiday beliefs.

Here are the crafts I have begun for giving. My daughter and I have begun, in the last few years, exchanging small gifts on each Sunday of Advent. We are behind this year, since our move has kind of gotten in the way of making things. But here is the first gift for her; a handmade Santa shelf sitter:

Pinned together ready for hand stitching

 

Blanket stitching completed

 

 

 

This pattern is based on a pattern in an older craft book I own. Called Homemade Gifts Under $10, it was published in 1998 in the Clever Crafter Series from Leisure Arts Inc.

You can see the Santa I am making on the cover

Because I am a buttonoholic my Santa only shares a pattern with the book – I have added buttons for a belt clasp, the snowflakes on the hat are buttons, and the holly leaves and berries on the hat is also a button.

Cute little guy all done!

For my favorite sister, I am making some things from the kitchen – pound cake to go with the luscious Pomegranate Sauce I am making from the pomegranates on the tree in our new back yard. I have also made her a clever little crocheted sunflower towel holder – different from the ones that cut a towel in half and crochet a topper, this one will hold any towel. The back, hanger part, will be plastic canvas. Glad to know I could find a use for all the leftover plastic canvas I have! J It comes from the same book.

^^BOOK PICTURE              ^^MY WORK

Hope your holiday season is filled joy, family and creativity!

Microcrafts – Book Review

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I love little things. I live in a little house, surrounded by my treasures, and many of them are small things tucked into my bookcases betwixt and between the books, or nestled on tables in whimsical profusion. I even have miniature dachshunds! 🙂 When I had an opportunity to review Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share, I jumped at it! Compiled by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz and Friends, it is a splendid look at the things you can make yourself to give as gifts, or tuck into your own bookcases.

This is one of those books where reading the How to Use This Book section is imperative. It gives you some perspective on how the book was compiled, and how to use the book to get the most out of your creative spirit. 25 projects are given in the book, all with great photos, directions, patterns and even some key tips and tricks. If you have never created in miniature before, you will be both challenged and delighted in the works you can make.

One of the things I enjoyed reading about was the things that are highly adaptable to using with children. Boats, for example, created with shells and leaves, are so reminiscent of my childhood that I can’t wait to share them with Xavier and Xander, my grandsons! The tiny creations called “Candy Charms” are delightful – earrings, necklaces, pins and more can be created with some “blobs of polymer clay…” and items you should have in your craft supplies.

I must admit that my favorite section was the one on Books. I collect miniature books, but none are as small or as clever as the little, tiny treasure books here. I don’t have all my craft supplies unpacked yet, but believe you me, making some of these are at the top of my list. Each item on the list of supplies is delineated carefully and in detail – not just a sheet of scrap paper, but one -1×1-1/8 inch sheet! There are even marvelous instructions on how to miniaturize the project even further to make tiny little earrings to match the necklace project. The actual size of the completed books is a mere 1×1-¼ inch, and the earring books are ¼ of that size! Tiny treasures indeed!

If you are a cat or dog person, there are crafts in this volume for you as well. You can create tiny dogs and cats with felt and fabric scraps – they would be great attached to Christmas presents or made into jewelry. The microtaxidermy made me laugh out loud, and the deer heads are absolutely adorable; the details and instructions make it simple even for those of us not experienced in working with polymer or modeling clay. The whimsical abounds here, and the possibilities are endless. The book has wonderful hints and tips (“Use a toothpick to apply small beads of adhesive to microcrafts without risking a giant glue blob emergency”) and appendix sections include Supplies and Techniques, Ideas for Modifying Microcrafts (adapting the instructions in the book to make the projects into jewelry, mobiles, toys and more.) There is a good column on Resources for various materials, tools and ideas.

Take the time to read the amusing and delightful miniature biographies. They will give you blog, website and contact information, and pictures of the talented designers and crafters who love working with “mini!” And don’t forget to take a look at the photo on the last page! It will make your day – and make you smile. Quirk Books and the compilers have done a terrific job in this book, so if you love creating or collecting tiny things this would be a charming book to add to your bookshelf. ENJOY!

 

Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share

Quirk Books, (quirkbooks.com) Philadelphia

978-59474-521-8 Hardback

 

 

NOTE: Reviewer received no compensation for her review, although a copy of the book was provided for review purposes.

Decorating with Crafts

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Finally settled, more or less, in our new home. I have my finished craftwork displayed where possible, and have a bit more organizing to do in order to set up my work table. There is something uniquely joyous about having my own handiwork around me – not because I think my work is so fabulous, but because they are of my own creation – a bit of me on the wall, so to speak!

Remember the wooden plaque I found hiking in Arizona? It is hanging on the wall now, and is absolutely perfect where I have it. IMHO. It is below a treasured find, a b/w photo of John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, at Yosemite, during the time of the formation of the National Parks system.

Here is a closeup >>>

Such fun, having it on the wall, where I can see it every day!

In my previous life in Rio Vista CA, I collected driftwood, as we lived on the Sacramento River. Two of these I have made into Candle holders. I found the globes in a dumpster, and was tickled to death to be able to recycle them this way!

Not the best pictures, I admit, but you get the idea!

                                                                                        ^More driftwood I have saved for later projects!

  One of my favorite projects. A found glass bottle, a piece of driftwood, and some collected sea glass, sea shells, a turkey feather, a dragonfly (one of my totems,) some lavender from my sister’s garden and a small snake pin (my other totem.) These reside now on the shelf under the window above my kitchen sink, and it makes me smile every time I see it! (closeup below)

<decoupaged on the wood, and then the word “mother” in different languages written around the petals of the flowers.  We use it by the door to hang the dogs’ leashes on – it is a fun memento of a job I loved.

>>Next up is  some of my painted houses. I was on a real kick for a while of painting on rocks. I quickly discovered that this was NOT my forte. Yet these little houses possess a piece of me, and have a charm and l that I simply adore. I didn’t make them to sell, or even give as gifts, but to experiment with a new craft, and create something that was original and “me.”

My home has lots of character and whimsy around – and that is the way I like it. You probably won’t find pictures of my living room in a decorating magazine, but neither will you see many designer magazines that show homes that are created by mixing family treasures, homemade crafts and a simplistic comfortable style meant to embrace doggie footprints, the smells of homemade baking, and piles of yarn and crafts in the making. Does your home make you smile and feel as if it expresses you and your family? If it doesn’t – you need to get busy crafting!

Some of my favorite handmade scarves live on this rack by the door, when they are not being worn.

Crocheted, dyed silk and fabric all have a place in my life…

I LOVE SCARVES!

Great Links and a Pattern!

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We leave Arizona to return home to California in 2-1/2 days. I should not be blogging. Yet here I am! It is called work avoidance. I indulge in it regularly, how about you?! I decided to take a break in the saying goodbye to new friends here, and getting ready to greet my old friends in California to share some links and project ideas with you. I haven’t jumped on the Halloween bandwagon because I simply don’t have time – maybe next year.! But these links will give you some fun ideas for gifts and for the upcoming holidays.

First up – click on this cute picture to go to the site where you can create your own Owl Calendar – FREE!

Owl Lover 2012 Calendar

Totally Kewl, Right?

Next – a quick picture of the last ruffle scarf I completed this week – an easy project, a variation on a pattern I found online.

Two shades of dusky blue…

Here is MY pattern

downloadable PDF

My first project (after unpacking and all the Crap that comes with doing that!) is to use this to make decoupage art.

and here is the map I want to use

http://www.donmeth.com What a strange mind! 🙂

I am waiting to hear back from Dan Meth on whether or not he will allow me to use this map… if not, I will go to the fabulously creative Karen over at The Graphics Fairy. EVERY day she posts printable graphics for decoration and creativity. Totally love her site, I have 127 graphics/pictures downloaded that I want to use!

A few other great links for blogs, designs and creative ideas that I have found in the last month or so:

Bugs and Fishes by Lupin has some fun felt projects – I am really into using felt right now! Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and all that jazz!

Stitched in Color has some great tutes – mostly quilting things – and I love her writing too – her blogs are always interesting and thoughtful.

Bits and Bobs is a family effort – I am going to try the Bobble Crochet Pillowcase Edging!

Do it Yourself Divas have a tute (for making your own decoupage glue!) I will be putting to good use when I get to decoupaging on my wonderful boards-find (as above…)

and the last one for the day:

I love this advent “calendar” on The Feminist Housewife   – this was published almost a year ago (this particular post) but she has much to offer and a fun outlook on her busy yet creative life.

That’s it for now – hope you enjoyed my notes – until sometime in November, I remain yours truly, the craft maven of The Crafter’s Cafe!