Saturday, July 12, 2014

Brilliant Burlap Crafts!

Designer Crafts Connection members were challenged to be creative with Burlap!  We each received a variety of burlap product to us, so let the inspiration begin!

Burlap is being used for all kinds of decorations and embellishments.  It's definitely the "go to" fabric this year.  You only have to walk into your local craft store, or search "Burlap" on Pinterest to know how popular it has become.  Since it's summer and we like to sit on our patio for morning coffee and quiet evenings, my project is a table centerpiece complete with sprigs of Rosemary - very outdoorsy...

To make the centerpiece, I cut a 12" x 12" square from red burlap yardage.  I cut carefully between the threads to create straight edges then I pulled threads away from each side to create a 1/2" fringe.  Don't throw the threads away yet!  I placed a mason jar in the center of the square then pulled the fabric up around the jar and used a rubber band to hold the folds in place.  I also received a roll of burlap trim in my goodie box, so I wrapped it around the jar and secured the end with lo-temp glue. 

The next step is to make the mat from natural burlap.  The mat is 14" x 14" which is the width of the fabric.  I cut the burlap at each end being careful to cut between the threads then pulled threads away from the edges on all four sides to create a 1" fringe.  Next step was to carefully pull out 2-3 threads at the 4" and 8" mark on 2 adjacent sides to create 9 squares.  To make the red lines across the mat, I used 3 red threads pulled from the edges of the red burlap and a tapestry needle with a large eye to weave them up and down across the lines on the mat.  I basically replaced the natural threads I'd pulled out with red ones. If you didn't have colored burlap, you could substitute yarn for this technique.

Now when the grandchildren come over we can pull out some old buttons and play tic tac toe.....!  How fun is that.......

And here's one more that was literally "Made in Minutes" using an empty bottle of water.  A great way to re-cycle!  Cut the empty bottle so the height is the same as the width of the trim.  Wrap trim around and secure with red burlap threads pulled from yardage.  The mat can be any size then fringed to create the 1" border.  If you love EZPZ quick'n EZ this is definitely for you!

There are 15 more designers participating in the Burlap blog hop, so please visit their blogs for even more inspiration.  You can find them by hopping forward via the DCC logo in each designer's sidebar, or go directly to the next blog on the list below:

Julie McGuffee    YOU ARE HERE!
Lisa Fulmer
Madeline Arendt
Marilyn Gossett
Michelle FraeCummings
Sue Eldred
Susan Brown
Angela Holt 
Carmen Flores Tanis
Cherish Flieder
Jennifer Priest

I'm sure you'll be inspired to start crafting with Burlap, so we have a prize package for you valued at $100 that includes a great variety of natural and colored burlap yardage, ribbons, embellishments and totes.
Select the link then enter to win! 

For more information on Burlap products available and social media sites to follow, check out these links:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Party Decorations!

It's First Monday and the Designer Crafts Connection theme for July is Party Decorations!

Who doesn't love to party!!!!  Especially kids.  As as child of the 50's, in England, I remember birthday parties being lots of fun.  We had balloons and party hats and, of course, a cake, but didn't decorate to the extent we do now.  In fact, I don't really remember decorating a whole lot for my kids in the 70's and 80's.  Oh goodness, they were so deprived........ LOL     The grandkids on the other hand........ oh my, we've had birthday party themes since they were one year old!

My granddaughter turned 6 last month and the theme for her birthday party was "Frozen" - go figure, we live in Texas.  Would have loved to have rented a snow blower, but that was going a bit too far.  Inside decorations were awesome, my daughter created color coordinated snacks, but I got the easy part and my granddaughter helped.  We covered the top of small Smoothfoam snowflakes with DecoArt® Clear Craft Twinkles paint then sprinkled them with clear glitter - can't have too much sparkle.  We put them on the wall with a simple glue dot, stuck them on the front of silver candle sticks and placed them on the table as mats for "crystal" wine flutes filled with the color coordinated candy.

 I also used my Cricut Explore to cut lots of snowflakes from clear crystal glitter card stock and blue glitter card stock.  I glued them back to back onto thin strands of silver sparkly yarn hung from the light fixture over the table.  I use yarn a lot for things like this.  It doesn't kink, it's strong, comes in all kinds of colors and textures and, best of all, it's economical - try it next time you want to string a garland.


My grandson's First birthday party theme was all about monkeys.  We made a balloon wreath for the front door with a garland and monkey, cut from card stock, plus we printed bottle wraps, banners, cupcake toppers, garlands and more.  Love this little bunting on his smash cake - something else my kids never got to enjoy......... hadn't been invented then... LOL


We even had a monkey face mask craft for the older brothers and sisters to make. 

It's amazing what we do for our kids these days.........  do they expect it, or are we just putting our talents to good use?  The latter I think...   There are so many opportunities to be put our creativity to the test:  Birthdays, weddings, showers, holidays and just because we can....  even something simple like these glass bottles with a little burlap and jute can add a little pizazz to a dinner, or lunch table.

I found the bottles at the craft store, wrapped jute around the neck and tied the ends in a bow, then bundled 3 Gerber daisy stems into a 6" square of burlap and pushed them into the bottle.  They looked so pretty outside on the the patio table.  I had one for each place setting and let each of the ladies take one home.  I love the burlap accent - it's my "go to" embellishment this year for sure.  If you like it too, check back here on Sunday, July 13th for more Burlap inspiration during the Designer Crafts Connection Burlap blog hop!  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now........

Yours truly,
 Julie :)


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recycled Grill

The kids came over a few months ago.  It was a gorgeous Spring day, so we decided to grill.


Unfortunately the grill did not co-operate and we ended up grilling inside.  The gas grill was pretty old and apparently the burners had a developed a few leaks.  Time for a new grill, I thought and was secretly happy - now I could replace the old gas grill with a charcoal grill.  I like food cooked on a charcoal grill a whole lot better.  I looked at a few grills, but wondered if I couldn't use the grill we already had.   This is what I did:


The next step was to remove the trays that covered the burners.  I basically removed anything that was removable.....  
I then placed an old oven tray/cookie sheet on top of the burners

 then covered the inside of the grill with heavy duty foil.

Following the directions on the bag, I placed the charcoal on the foil covered tray and lit them.

Once the coals are hot, spread them in an even layer on the tray then put the grill tops back in place and start cooking!

Clean up is easy!  Once the coals have cooled, turned completely to ash and there are no embers still burning, or hot (I wait until the next day), fold the foil up over the ashes and dispose of them in the appropriate manner.

Can't wait to grill hot dogs and burgers tomorrow on my re-cycled grill!  
HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE FOURTH OF JULY !!!   Y'all come back now........

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Friday, June 27, 2014

Sprinkles Cupcake

It's July 4th next week!  We live outside city limits, so, as long as there isn't a burn ban in effect, we're usually surrounded by firework displays.  We break out the grill, cook traditional hot dogs and hamburgers for family and friends then pull out the lawn chairs, sit back and watch the fun. 

I don't have a sweet tooth, but thought I'd share a special dessert with you this year.  It's a luscious "sprinkles" cupcake and 100% calorie free, so you can have as many as you like - to decorate your party table that is.  Doesn't it look yummy.....  Unfortunately it's only for decoration and not to eat!

 It's EZPZ Quick'n EZ to make and you can use this technique for all kinds of party themes by simply changing the colors. 

Here's how I made it:
    I glued half a 2" Smoothfoam ball on top of a Smoothfoam cupcake shape then "iced"  it with ModPodge Collage Clay. 



Collage Clay is a whipped, lightweight clay, commonly used for "Decoden", the art of decorating anything with doodads, trinkets, beads, etc.  It comes in a squeeze bag, similar to the ones used for icing cupcakes, together with 3 decorating tips.  I simply squeezed the clay around the half ball without using a tip to create the iced cupcake effect.  While it was still soft, I sprinkled the surface with red and blue Flower Soft Sprinkles then set it aside to dry overnight.

I made a cupcake wrap from silver, holographic cardstock, using a cupcake wrap I already had on hand as a template.  Make one out of paper first so you can adjust the size before cutting into your cardstock.  I cut around the top edge with large scalloped, decorative scissors then used a hand punch to punch a tiny star out of each of the scallops.  The stars were then sprinkled on top too. 

Before popping the cupcake into the wrap, I separated the top (printed) layer from a July 4th cocktail napkin then cut it into 4 squares using the fold lines as a guide.  I then layered 2 pieces together, put the cupcake in the center then placed it into the wrap.  I added three, 1 1/2" stars cut from glitter cardstock and stuck the points of those into the top.

Happy 4th of July everyone!  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.............

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Crafty Gift Giving

No matter how organized you are (or profess to be), things have a pesky way of sneaking up on you.  Especially when it comes to needing a gift for an occasion that has totally slipped your mind and "Do Do" list.  Falling back on the fact that "if it weren't for the last minute nothing would get done" philosophy, it's nice to have a few Quick'nEZPZ projects in your back pocket.  Since the DCC theme this month is "Gift Giving" I thought I'd share my projects which were featured in the Summer issue of Bella Crafts Quarterly.

The green jar is a vintage, green mason jar.  I added a wire handle so it matched the other 2 jars, which already had a handle.  All of the jars are available at your local craft store, and, if you have a Hobby Lobby in your area you can buy ready-made handles for mason jars.  They are part of the "Transform Mason" line.  You can check the line out here

The beads and findings are from Cousins available at bead and major craft stores.  There's really no right, or wrong way to embellish the jars.  You only have to do what you think looks nice.  Place an LED tea light inside and hang from trees for a garden party, or place them on a table.  Etching the glass (on the inside) gives the coloured glass a nice glow, while maintaining its sparkle on the outside.  My "go to" source for etching product is b&b etchall.  I love both the cream and the liquid. Both produce a REAL, not fake, etch and the best part is that it's REUSABLE!!! so yes, you can use it again and again!

These bejeweled jars are so easy to make and you can find the instructions in the magazine.  It's free to download, or you can view it online.  You'll find lots of other great projects and information there and you can view previous issues.

Don't forget to hop thru our webring using the blue DCC logo in my sidebar for more great ideas.  Just a reminder that DCC is an ongoing blog hop.  Our goal is to share great project ideas and techniques to inspire you to craft!  Enjoy!  Y'all come back now.....

Yours truly,
Julie :)


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dallas Gift Market - March 2014

I made my bi-annual trek to the Dallas Gift market in March this year.  I usually go in January, but there was waaaaay too much going on this time.  It doesn't change much between January and March.  The only difference is that there are no temps.  Major lines are in the permanent showrooms anyway, so it's not a big deal. 

Many of the showrooms have a "no photographs please" policy, but even if they don't, I always ask permission to take photos for my blog.  Most of them love the extra PR, but there are still a handful who don't want everyone to see what they have to offer, mostly the co-ops who offer a lot of handmade items from a variety of small business manufacturers. 

Anyway here are the photos, so grab a cup of coffee, glass of wine, box of chocolates, or whatever, sit back and join me on my walk thru many of showrooms at the Dallas Gift Market.

This blog post is all "eye candy" and for designers, a peak into what the gift stores are seeing for the upcoming Fall and Winter seasons.  I don't comment about trends - I like to let each of you draw your own conclusions, but I'd be remiss not to say something about "Katherine's Collection".  The displays in this showroom will take your breath away.  I think you could spend a whole day in here and not see everything.  The creativity will amaze..........




And that's the last of the photos from "Katherine's Collection".  Hope you enjoyed them......  now let's move on.

Yes!  This is an old TV set being used as a display!  How clever......

This "Brazil" display was in the "Two's Company" showroom.  Look for more design influences from Brazil as the 2016 Olympics get closer.

That's all for this trip, but I'll be back with more after the summer show in July - God willing and the creek don't rise.........  Y'all come back now.  Enjoy!

Yours truly,