Thursday, July 23, 2015

Christmas Crafts!

Christmas is coming!  In 155 days!  Are you ready?  I never am.  Each year I tell myself I should start earlier and be more organized, but it hasn't worked yet.......  This year I'm getting an early start by participating in a Christmas in July blog hop with the Robin's Nest and Smoothfoam..

I received Smoothfoam shapes and product from the Robin's Nest for their Christmas in July blog hop with DCC members. Our challenge was to create something fun. 


 and this is what I made.... 

Okay, I admit, this isn't quick, but it is pretty easy and it's different.  I love LED lights and my goal was to create something that would light up our home for the holidays.

There's also a giveaway, so if you'd like to win some Robin's Nest and Smoothfoam product and get a head start on your holiday decorating, all you have to do is comment on the participating blogs  - one entry per comment, so the more you comment, the more chances you have to win!

These are the products I used:
Large Smoothfoam Snowflake
6" Smoothfoam Disc
Christmas papers and DewDrops from Robin's Nest
Tacky glue
Paper glue
Clear crystal glitter
Craft Knife and/or sharp paring knife
Paper Trimmer
Versa Tool (Walnut Hollow)
Battery operated string of 20 LED mini lights

1. Coat the top surface of the snowflake with glue, then sprinkle with glitter.  Set aside to dry.
2. Mark 20 dots about 1" apart around the disc about 1/2" from the edge then use the tip of the blade holder in the heat tool to make holes in the ring for the lights.


Quickly push the tip straight up and down and work on a tempered glass surface. The tip will not go all the way thru the disc, so turn the disc over and open up the holes from the opposite side.

3. Cut a 4" circle from the center of the disc to create a ring, 1" wide.  Use a slow up and down motion when cutting for a smooth cut edge. Use a regular craft knife, hot wire foam cutter, or the knife blade in the Versa Tool. This is a HOT knife so use with extreme caution. Tip: A fabric softener sheet is great for cleaning up small crumbs of Smoothfoam on your work surface after cutting.


4. Glue a 1" wide strip of card stock around the outside of the ring.  Tip: Use a rubber band to hold in place until the glue is dry.
5. Glue dew drops on top of the ring to decorate.  Let dry.

Make a Rosette for the center:
1. Score a 4" wide strip from 12" card stock at 1" intervals. Tip: I use my paper trimmer and score along the cutting channel with a stylus.

2. Cut the strip in half to create two, 2" x 12" strips.  Accordion fold each strip then glue the ends together to create a circle.


3. Squish the folds together and push down in the center to flatten. Glue a 1.25"circle of card stock over the center on each side of the rosette to secure. Decorate the circle on one side with dew drops, or a star shape.  This is double sided paper, so you can display either side.


1. Push each LED bulb into a hole in the ring from the back.  If the hole is a little large and the bulb doesn't fit snugly, shim with a small strip of card stock inside the hole. To keep the wire straight, leave 4 or 5 holes between each bulb.


2. Secure the ring to the center of the snowflake, making sure the wire and battery holder/switch are at the back of the snowflake.  Smoothfoam is very dense, so I secured the ring by pushing quilt pins diagonally thru the inside of the ring into the snowflake.


The holder can be left loose at the back, or you can glue half a 6" disposable plate at the back to create a pocket to hold it in place.  It's important to be able to reach the switch to turn the lights on and off if there isn't a timer setting. 

3. Push the rosette into the center of the ring to finish.

Look for more projects from DCC designer members by hopping thru our webring using the blue DCC logo in the sidebar on our blogs.  You can also see a full selection of projects from The Robin's Nest design team on the DCC blog and the Robin's Nest blog.  Enjoy! Y'all come back now........ 

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Vacation Crafts

A vacation isn't a vacation unless we go to the beach.... I love the sea, sand, sunshine and shells.  I rarely leave without a pocketful.  When I get home, I wash and store them carefully in a shoebox.  I've been collecting shells for over 60 years and love to create with them, but more often than not, I end up using special shells from the craft store.  One day I'll make a Sailor's Valentine with my collection, but doubt that will be any time soon.

Here's one of my recent projects that hangs in my craft room.

It is really quick'n EZ to make.  I cut a piece of Smoothfoam™ the same size as the 5"x7", wood laser frame purchased at Michaels then, using a sponge brush, I painted it with light brown acrylic paint.  I used Smoothfoam because its smooth surface is easy to paint without any kind of prep and it's lightweight.

The laser frame was painted white.  I wanted to feature the Helmet starfish at the center, but needed some kind of backing.  Spring cleaning to the rescue.... I had saved an old dictionary, so I tore out the page with the definition of "Starfish" and trimmed it to fit the frame opening.  It was then glued to the center of the painted Smoothfoam and the frame glued on top.  I glued the starfish to the center and a few sea pearls to the frame to finish.  It only took about an hour, including drying time.  Now I don't feel so bad when I look up and see stars......  LOL

You can find more projects on the Smoothfoam blog.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Monday, June 29, 2015

Celebrate Red, White and Blue!

We live outside city limits and as long as there isn't a burn ban, which isn't likely this year because of all the rain, we'll celebrate the "Fourth" in style with hot dogs and fireworks!  We'll decorate too of course, and I recently picked up some red, glass votive candle holders.  My friends at etchall know how I love to decorate my patio in summer, so they recently sent me some spiral hangers for glass votive candle holders.  They're designed to be placed inside a wine bottle (with the bottom cut off), but I had a different idea.  Apart from the fact that I didn't have any colored, glass wine bottles, I kinda liked them hanging alone.  Need to add here that you can use empty plastic soda bottles instead of glass bottles. Just cut the bottom off with a pair of scissors, so you can add the votive candle holder like this.

I really love this look too, but I think I'd etch designs on the outside of the wine bottle, but that's a post for another day....... after I find an empty bottle.....  maybe after the Fourth.... wink, wink...

So here's my red votive candle holder.  

I use LED lights and they look really festive hanging around the patio, but I prefer a diffused look, so I etched the inside of each glass by filling each one with etchall® dip'n etch  


and now they look like this.

It was SO easy.  I poured dip'n etch liquid into each candle holder, then let it stand for 15 minutes.  Dip'n etch is reusable, so always return to the bottle, so you can use it again and again then rinse and dry the votives.  I love that now you only see the glow from the candle and not the candle.


I have clear glass votives that I can also use to decorate, all I need now are some blue ones!  The one shown below was etched on the outside and I used star stickers for the design.

Hope y'all have a happy Fourth.  Stay safe, stay cool and, in case you're wondering, we have Fourth of July in England too, but we don't celebrate............ wink, wink......  y'all come back now.

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pillow Talk

Designer Crafts Connection members were challenged to create pillows using pillow forms from Fairfield.  These are the supplies I received to work with:  2, 12" square pillow forms, a 6" x 20" neck pillow and Oly Fun fabric.


My mum always had lots of what she called "scatter cushions" on the sofa and chairs in our living room and lounge. They often changed with the seasons and although small, they always made a big impact on our surroundings.

Using the neck and 12" square pillow forms and 3 colors of Oly Fun I decided to create some fun scatter cushions of my own.

I love the bright colors of Oly Fun and it's a fabric I can use inside as well as out.  I especially liked the fact that I didn't necessarily have to pull the sewing machine out to make these pillows, although I must admit, if you end up using these in a pillow fight, the odds would be on the sewn pillow.  Mine are purely for decoration.

Here's how I covered the neck pillow:

1. Unroll the fabric and cut 2,12" pieces from width.  Wrap around one end of the neck pillow with about one half hanging off the edge.  Secure with a quilt pin.


2.  Tightly gather the fabric hanging off the end and wrap securely with a rubber band.

3. Pull the gathered end back over the end of the pillow.  It might be easier if you remove the fabric from the pillow to do this. Turn the cap inside out.

4.  Glue the overlapped edges together.  Place one "cap" on each end of the pillow.

5.  Cut 2, 5" wide strips of orange and place them across each end of the pillow, then cut a piece of pink, wide enough to cover the center. 

6.  The strips should overlap about 1/2".  Overlap the ends of each strip at the back of the pillow then glue in place.  The fabric is a little transparent, so I added jumbo rick rack from Decorative Trimmings over the area where the 2 colors overlapped.  The ends were glued in place at the back of the pillow.

7.  The square pillow is less complicated because there are no ends to cover.  I simply cut a 20" strip of fabric and wrapped it around the pillow form just like I was wrapping a Christmas present.


8.  I wrapped a complementary colored, folded strip of fabric and length of rick rack around the center then glued the overlapped ends together at the back.  This band held the fabric in place around the pillow, but for added security, I glued the folded ends in place.

You can see lots more ideas from other DCC members by hopping thru the webring using the blue, DCC logo in each designer's sidebar.  There's also a linky party collection on the DCC blog where you can add your own ideas!  So, come join the party!  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Friday, June 12, 2015

Ann Butler Designs

DCC members have two challenges this month.  Our first challenge is using Background Basics rubber stamps and ColorBox Crafts inks from Ann Butler Designs. Ann's designs are perfect for creating faux quilt projects and the inks are perfect to use on fabric as well as other surfaces.

Each designer received 6 colors of inks and a variety of the Background Basics stamps, which are either square or triangular in shape.  For my project, I also used JOY dyeable letters and rick rack trim from Decorative Trimmings; products left over from previous challenges this year.

For this challenge I created a gift that keeps on giving.  I had a small bag and decided to add a monogram.  I stamped the background pattern onto a separate piece of fabric then frayed the edges for additional texture.  Hope you can see how even the stamped pattern is.  I placed the fabric on a hard surface then after inking the stamp I positioned it on top of the fabric.  Instead of using my fingers or hand to apply pressure (I didn't mount the stamp because they are very sturdy) I used the domed lid from the stamp pad and rocked it back and forth across the back of the stamp.  Not sure how correct it is to do it this way, but it worked well for me.....

I also colored the letter with the same ink by pressing the ink pad onto the letter while it was still attached to it's backing then I adhered it to the center of the fabric square with glue.  (Easier than getting the iron out.)  I used narrow tacky tape to attach the rick rack around the edge and to attach the finished monogram square to the bag.  VoilĂ , I now have a small monogrammed gift bag......

For more inspiration, hop thru the webring using the blue DCC logo in my sidebar, then check out the DCC Blog for even more designer ideas.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.......

Yours truly,

Julie :)


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Let's Party!

Everyone loves a party and of course we have to commemorate the happy event with a photograph...  This was taken at a 21st Birthday party - a very special day, deserving to be framed!  

For this particular photo, I used a 5"x7", two part acrylic Deflecto frame and added a little doodling.  I love using clear frames because you can lay the top part of the frame over any design then trace over it with a marker.  You can trace images from a book, an image stamped on a piece of paper, or even artwork from a catalog. 

Paint markers work really well on acrylic, but for this frame I used the new line of Chalk Markers from Marvy Uchida.

The first thing you need to do is to separate the two pieces of the frame then place the top piece on top of the design/images you want to use.  I traced over some letters for the word "PARTY" then added the little drink glasses along each side.  I used the white marker for the outlines, but black would work well too.  I then added color to the glasses on the BACK of the frame and blocks of color behind each letter.  It was very simple and easy to do.....  Once the chalk paint is dry, I sandwiched  the photo between the front and back pieces, re-assembled the frame and it was finished. EZPZ...  

This is just one of the projects for this month's First Monday DCC theme.  You can see what other designers have created by hopping forward thru the webring using the blue, DCC logo in the sidebar.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Creating with Joy!

I love to personalize things - clothing, home dec items, signs, words on canvas, etc and for that I need letters.  Alphabet letters come in all fonts, sizes and surfaces from wood, to chipboard, to cardstock and then there are the embroidered letters.  These are available in a variety of fonts, colors and sizes and even white ones that are dyeable.  They can be found in craft stores everywhere and are so much fun and easy to work with. You can purchase them individually, or full alphabet sheets.

Designer Craft Connection (DCC) members were challenged this month to create with Joy® iron-on, embroidered letters.


We were all given a variety of letters to work with and we could use them on any surface.  Funnily enough, when working with such a versatile product, it's hard to decide what to do because there are SO many choices.  

I decided to use two of the sheets of letters to make a special T-shirt for my granddaughter. I call it a "Shy Shirt", because it speaks for you.  Not that she's ever at a loss for words, but getting started can be challenging sometimes.  Here is what I started with:

I removed one each of the alphabet letters from the pink sheet, except for H and I.  I picked these from the blue sheet then placed them on the front of the T-shirt.

The instructions come on the packaging, but basically you place the letters (shiny side down) in alphabetical order on the shirt, cover with a pressing cloth then press carefully with an iron, holding it in place for for about 25 seconds.  Turn the shirt over and press carefully from the back.  Do not use steam!

And there you have it!  A little conversation starter T-shirt and she doesn't have to say a word...

Look for more ideas by hopping thru the DCC webring then check out the "Creating with Joy" blog @ for ongoing inspiration throughout the year.  There's also a Facebook page @, so please "Like" us....   Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.......

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Light My Etched Glass Bottle!

It's been raining, windy and stormy for the past 2 weeks or more, so it's hard to think about backyard celebrations, but when we do I'll be ready - for the decorating part at least....  I have fairy lights hanging across the back patio and they're not just for Christmas.  They look so pretty, I keep them up year round together with lanterns and lots of votive candles.  I've recently been using the LED ones. LOVE them!  They don't blow out when it's windy and there are lots of ways to decorate them, but.... I'll leave that for another post because now I have something new to share.

A few days ago my friend at etchall® sent me this "Light My Bottle" stick and asked me what I thought. 

OMG, I just LOVE it.  I've put LED twinkle lights in glass containers before, but never really knew what to do with the battery holder.  Well the batteries are inside this light stick which fits perfectly into the neck of a bottle.  The rounded top is the switch.  It sits on top and all you have to do is to tap it lightly to turn it on or off.  It looks nice and twinkly inside any kind of bottle, but when the bottle is etched, the light is diffused and it looks just gorgeous.  I'm sorry my photos don't do it justice.

I used it with two bottles.  The first is a beer bottle.......  I removed the labels (they came off quite easily in warm water) and the second is a wine bottle.... we've obviously been partying at my house in spite of the weather.... LOL.  NOTE:  I used NAPTHA (from the hardware store) to remove the labels from the wine bottle - great stuff!  I etched the bottles with etchall® dip'n etch by placing them in an empty soda bottle (you can find detailed instructions in my previous post here  They would have been just as good if I'd left them plain. but for some reason I could see dragonflies dancing around the brown bottle and tiny stars on the green one, so I created a simple dragonfly shape and cut multiples from etchmask™ on my Cricut Explore®.  Obviously you can use any digital die cutting machine.  (I've uploaded the jpeg on my "images for personal use tab" so please feel free to use it for personal projects).  You can also find dragonfly peel off stickers.

I copied and pasted the image multiple times on the sheet then removed the etchmask from around the images, so my sheet looked like this making it much easier to pick up each dragonfly.

Carefully remove each dragonfly with the pick tool.  If you pull gently from the outside of the wing, the cutouts will remain on the sheet.

I positioned the dragonflies on the bottle before placing in the dip'n etch, so the finished bottle looked like this - without the lights then with......  I also had a small dragonfly punch, so I punched smaller shapes from scraps of etchmask and added those too.

I had a sheet of small Peel Off star stickers which I used to cover the wine bottle before placing in the dip'n etch.  EZPZ.....

NOTE:  Don't forget to fill the bottles with water before placing in the dip'n etch, or they will float.
After 15 minutes in dip'n etch, remove the bottles then rinse and dry the insides thoroughly.  They are now ready for the light stick.  

The brown bottle is shorter, so I wrapped the light cord snugly around the stick, (don't forget to put the batteries in first), then carefully inserted the stick into the neck of the bottle.

Since the wine bottle was taller, I only wrapped the bottom couple of inches of the stick, pushed the lights into the bottle then added the stick last.

See how easy it is to light up your life... you'll definitely be the "light" of your party with these decorations.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now....

Yours truly,
Julie :)