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 :)


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

String Art for Paper Crafters - Instructions

These are string art embellishments and this is where you'll learn how to make them!

If you came here from the Craft Paper Scissors blog, welcome!  If you didn't, you might want to hop over there first so you'll have a better idea of what's going on here

This post is essentially part two of my post about string art embellishments for paper crafters.  I shared a little history in my post on the Craft Paper Scissors blog, but this is where we get down to the nitty gritty of the "how to".

1.  You need shapes.  The most popular shapes are round, but they can be any shape as long as they have a notched edge.  You can purchase "Spirelli" punches at Ecstasy Crafts for punching round shapes from lightweight cardstock, cut shapes with decorative edge scissors, or, if you have a digital die cutting machine, you can use the shapes I designed.  These shapes are in jpeg format and you can find them under the tab "String Art Instructions" right here on my blog.  Drag each shape onto your desktop, then upload to your cutting software.  I uploaded the jpegs to Cricut Design Space then cut them from medium weight cardstock on my Cricut Explore.  The shapes were sized after being uploaded.  The large ones are 2.5" diam and the small ones are 1.5" diameter.  Ideally you will need small - 1.5", medium - 2", and large - 2.5" shapes for layering.  The sizes can be any size you like, but for layering you will need graduated sizes.

2.  You need thread:  I have an assortment of spools of thread in lots of different colors and thicknesses.  The shapes are wrapped with thread to create your embellishment.  Please see the wrapping instructions under the "String Art Instructions" tab.

3.  Layering:  As you can see in the samples above, I wrapped small, medium and large shapes with one layer of thread.  For a different effect you can also wrap one shape with 2 layers of the same color of thread like the ones below:

You can also use more than one color of thread on one shape.  For the sample below I started by wrapping with blue thread, separated by 8 petals, then silver thread separated by 6 petals and finally with green thread separated by 4 petals.

You can also layer different sized shapes like this.  I used a brad at the center to secure them:

Here's an example of layering using 3 shapes.  Note, only 2 of them are wrapped:

This is an example of a flower shape on top of a square, matted with a plain square:

Once you've mastered the art of wrapping, which takes about 3 minutes, it's fun to cut lots of different shapes in different sizes from different colored cardstock.  I will usually place an adhesive jewel at the center of the top shape, or punch a tiny hole at the center and insert a brad.  I layer the shapes using 3D glue dots, or small, adhesive foam pads for a little extra dimension between the layers.

Finished embellishments can be used on scrapbook pages, cards, bookmarks, even wall art.  (If you saw my earlier post this year on String Art, you can see a photograph I took of this type of embellishment on the wall of my local Anthropologie store.) 

Here are a few samples for inspiration:

The most exciting thing about these embellishments however, is that they are fun, easy to make and, dare I say, very addictive.  

I hope you enjoy this string art technique as much as I do.  Please let me know in the comments if you do and I'll post more ideas and shapes for you to use.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now......

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Sunday, May 3, 2015

iRock Sparkle!

I've been Spring cleaning and in one of the boxes I uncovered, I found some inspirational projects from the time when I was demonstrating the Fiskars Ultra Shape Express and templates for fabric.  I had ironed adhesive stabilizer onto the back of a variety of fabric and was using the heart template to cut out some hearts.  I then layered the hearts and ironed them onto T-shirts, aprons, pillows and the brim of  a denim hat.  It didn't take long for my grandaughter to claim the hat as hers.  "But Nana", she explained,  "it needs some sparkle.  Can we put some jewels on it, pleeeeeze?" I'd also found an iRock, battery operated adhesive jewel setting tool and some jewels, so we set to work.  This is what the fabric hearts originally looked like:


With the jewel setting tool I outlined the inside of each heart with clear crystals then added a single strand of Connie Crystal jewels around the edge of crown. EZPZ......  fit for a princess.

And here's my granddaughter rocking the sparkle like only a 6, almost 7 yr old can......


In case you haven't already guessed, the Designer Crafts Connection theme for this month's  First Monday post is - All About Bling.  Use the DCC logo in my sidebar to hop thru our webring and see what other designers created.  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.......

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Decorative Trimmings Blog Hop!

Who doesn't like trim!  You can use it to update, upcycle, refresh and renew within minutes....  For example, I bought a cute dress for Easter Sunday - my daughter politely informed me it would be okay to wear over leggings, but even though I wore mini skirts in the 60's (as in the 1960's) it might not be quite so cool for a mum IN her 60's..... hmmmm.  Guess I need to get some lace (wide lace) and sew it around the bottom...

In the meantime I received a box of trim from Decorative Trimmings for this month's Designer Crafts Connection blog hop.  Designers love to play with new product and I am no exception.  Unfortunately I received white lace trim in my goodie box - I needed black to lengthen my dress, but at least I now know where to get some!

Spring is wedding season and nothing says "wedding" like lace, so I pulled some additional supplies together and set to work.

Weddings + lace + candlelight = romance, so I pulled out some tall and short LED candles and simply wrapped them with the lace.  There was additional narrow trim in my goodie box, so I wrapped that around the top edge of the lace on the tall candle, added a bow and a flower and voilĂ , a quick'n EZ candle decoration fit for the church and/or wedding reception.

I wanted to do something a little different with the shorter candle, so I added the narrow trim around the neck of a glass container I found at the dollar store then placed the shorter candle inside.


Simple, elegant and made in a jiffy.......  I think it looks great just like this, but you could also put it in the center of a floral candle ring.

Outdoor weddings are also popular this time of year and I've noticed a lot of burlap being used for that "country feel", so here are some additional ideas using the same lace and trim.


I covered a rectangular shaped glass container with burlap then added the lace and the trim along the top edge of the lace.  The table number is also burlap, decorated with the trim (and a little lace brad at each corner that I found in my stash of stuff).  I attached the burlap to a piece of acrylic (from an old frame I think) with double sided tape and the iron on number at the center with glue dots; (quicker than getting my iron out).  This was then glued to a bamboo skewer and placed between the flowers.  You could also prop it up against the container.

There are lots more ideas to look at.  Use the blue, DCC logo in my sidebar to hop thru the webring to see them all, then don't forget to check out our post on the DCC Blog.   Enjoy!  Y'all come back now....

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Monday, April 6, 2015

Designer Crafts - Flowers

April showers may bring May flowers, but Designer Crafts Connection members are bringing them to you in April for their DCC First Monday project.

Flowers are everywhere, and not just in your garden.  You don't have to look too far for flower themed projects, especially now that Mothers' Day is right around the corner (May 10th, in case you need a reminder).  You can easily find ideas for paper flowers, painted flowers, molded flowers, fondant flowers, etc, etc......  but my flower project is all about magnetic flowers......

I usually visit the Dallas Gift Market in winter and summer and one of my favorite showrooms is Demdaco.  I think I could spend the whole day browsing their creative displays.  One of the companies they represent is "Embellish Your Story" by Roeda.  This company has designed a whole line of metal frames, boards and embellishments for every season and family celebration you can possibly think of.  You can imagine how delighted I was to see that this company was a new exhibitor this year at the CHA trade show in Anaheim.

I've been dying to work with their product and the representative offered to send me a few samples to play with.  Each item is already perfect, but, what can I say, I'm a designer and, like everyone else, I can't resist adding my own personal touch.  Here's what I received:

2 large magnetic boards - one black chalkboard and one aluminum
2 sets of 4 small flowers (yellow and teal) and
a set of green magnetic flower frames.

As you can see from their booth photos, this is just a smidgeon of what they have to offer.

Since our theme this month is flowers, I started with the chalkboard.  I have 3 grandchildren, so I was immediately drawn to the flower frames (I used the stock photos that came with the frames for this project), but needed to add just a little touch of my own.  It had to be quick'n EZ, so I added brush handle dots around the edge of each frame.

To make the dots, you need a paintbrush with a small handle and some white craft paint.  Squeeze some of the paint onto a disposable plate, or piece of wax paper, then, holding the brush straight up and down, dip the end of the brush handle into the puddle of paint.

Lift then place a dot of paint onto the edge of the frame.  Dip the handle into the paint each time you want to make a dot, so all your dots will be the same size.

I also wanted to add a touch of white to the small, yellow flowers.  Using the same technique, I placed a dot at the outer edge of each petal, but instead of lifting the handle up again I dragged it toward the flower center to create a short line.  You can also do this with a toothpick if you want a narrower line.

Once I had all the embellishments embellished, I used chalk to to draw straight lines and leaves for flower stems on the chalkboard, added my saying, lines around the edge and it was done.  It was so easy!

Chalkboard art and lettering is very forgiving and it's supposed look as if it was made by hand, so no one can go wrong here - and if you do, wipe it off with a damp cloth and start again.

I created something completely different with the aluminum board.  I love photography and am fascinated by the look of photos on metal.  I don't have whatever it is that one needs to print directly onto metal, but I have the next best thing.


My sister took this photo of my daughter and granddaughter, so I printed it onto Craft Attitude a printable film for inkjet printers that is perfectly clear and adheres to any surface.  I also have a Cricut™ Explore™ digital die cutting machine, so I used that to cut out the title in vinyl and added it to the bottom together with a thin black strip to underline.  I'm sure you can do this with any die cutting machine that will make intricate cuts.  There are tabs on the back of each board, so all I have to do now is add a ribbon and hang it my room.

You can find more information about where to buy this product here:,default,pg.html?title=Embellish%20Your%20Story&brandId=B2C

Watch how everything clicks together here:

 Hope you enjoyed my introduction to this new "craft" product....  y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :)