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Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my creativity and DIY projects. I'm four years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

FUN Halloween decorating


I had so much fun putting this display together, I just had to share it with you all. All of my kids and grandkids will be here this weekend, so this is ready for the gathering. It is the Halloween display at the end counter in my kitchen. It is also known as "pile it up central" most days of the week. Do you have such a place in your house? I see this counter every time I come in from the deck and I wanted something there that would make me smile.

So I used a bit of black velvet as a drape over a short shelf and started shopping the house. Here's the ingredient list....


My silver, blingy, button decor ball, my Halloween decor orbs, a Halloween tree of painted branches in a Dollar Store planter, mini pumpkins, one of my fat fabric pumpkins in a milk glass compote, a crepe paper rosette wreath, a Dollar store gargoyle and more....

Halloween tissue paper decoupaged over Christmas balls, black painted foliage in a milk glass vase, Dollar store vine balls, another fat fabric pumpkin, and.....

a galvanized tin lantern set inside a twig wreath, with black painted ivy and more of my Halloween decor balls. Peeking out back is an embellished tequila bottle full of bright red orange glass and trimmed with a black tassel. As for those decor orbs.... just take Mod Podge and colorful Halloween tissue and Dollar Store foam balls and voila! Cheerful Halloween decor on the CHEAP! But there's more....

Quivery spooky bats of crepe paper and the tiniest jewelry wire I had in my stash. Curl the wire up, hot glue the paper bats to the tips and watch them shake and "fly" with every passing breeze. PLUS, my crackle painted Halloween decor balls, gorgeous orange crackle over silvery balls. Love the look!



Here's a shot of two of my Dollar Store gargoyles and an apothecary jar made from a glass candlestick and a lidded jar, stuffed with more of my Halloween decor balls and vine orbs. In the back there's a peek at my black and white damask decoupaged box, I love the way it came out. The black foliage in a tall white vase is so striking that I'll be painting more fake greenery black, that's for sure.

I added my little witch from my Etsy shoppe and then piled a string of my Halloween garlands in a cut glass display stand made from a thrift store candle stick and bowl. You know, I could go on and on....this counter is over four foot long and three foot wide. But I'm going to stop right there.....and if something sells from my Etsy shop I can replace it. Besides, I've got other places I want to have some fun with....like the top of the TV cabinet....the bookshelf by the hearth....the shelves by the corner windows.

And if, by some slim chance I run out of stuff, I can always make/find/shop for more. That's the plan and I'm sticking to it!



What fun have you had with your Halloween house? I'll be sharing mine at the parties in my sidebar, come join the fun!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A little help???


I don't know about you, but when something gets my creative attention, I pretty much wear it out. That's the case with this crackle paint effect with Elmer's glue. I've been trying it out on just about any paintable surface, and these silver Christmas balls are my newest project/victims.

Here's a link to the cheap crackle finish with Elmer's tute.....

http://makethebestofthings.blogspot.com/2010/05/crackle-finish-with-elmers-glue.html




NOW I know that I can crackle paint glass Christmas balls! These came out so cool, I love the Halloween orange crackle with the silver showing through. I paired them up with some glass candlesticks. Purty!

I added some black painted candlesticks to the mix. OOOh, I like it alot!



How gorgeous are these? My problem, ladies, is I'm not quite sure what to do with them. Should I make more of them and hang them in twisty branches painted black? Should I put them in a tall hurricane on my table? How about clustered in a bowl?

Should I list them for sale on Etsy?

I really really like them, they are pretty and blingy and colorful, but what shall I do with them? Should I make LOTS more and switch over my Christmas tree to orange and black this year? lol!

Should I make bigger ones and not know what to do with them, either? Hey, big ones in an old punch bowl that's been spray painted black, that would look awesome!

Ladies, you are a creative and imaginative lot, what are your suggestions? I'll be linking to the parties in my sidebar. Talk about creativity and imagination, come check them out!

What's new this week.


I know some bloggers just hate it when any mention is made of Etsy, or Ebay, or selling of any kind, but hey, it's part of what I do and I'm sharing it with you all! Lots of pics, maybe you'll see something that will make you smile. Take a look and enjoy some window shopping! There's a link to my shop in the sidebar. ;0)


Yes, I'm still putting rosettes one anything that sits still! Tote bags are just so useful and so fun to "fancy up." I can't help myself. Maybe I have a problem? ;0) This one also has a pocket trimmed with ruffles and more rosettes.



I've listed some fun Halloween stuff so far! I LOVE orange and black and this time of year. The wonderful ideas in blogland are sparking my own creativity.

Here's a crocheted garland with Halloween flair in a single ten foot length. I've doubled it up in the pic. It has colorful discs every two inches, over 60 in total of a dozen different prints. Fun and cool for your holiday house.



More rosettes! But they're pretty ones, I promise! I made one of these to wear with a black turtleneck and got so many compliments I knew I had to make some for my shop. Come on, wouldn't this make you smile? I know it makes kids smile. Wouldn't a grade school teacher wearing this be the toast of the playground? The glittery pumpkin button inspired this one.

My first paper mache witch of 2010, with a sweet smile and very cool little details. For the collectors out there, I hope the vintage style charm of this little doll is just right for their collection. And I carved that tiny 1" pumpkin's Jack o' lantern smile with an X-acto knife, I have to get points for that!

This is the last peg rack I'll be painting this year, it turned out pretty cute and looks like a vintage piece. Love it's burgundy, burnt orange, rusty tones. With some fake cobwebs and bats and maybe a spider or two, this would look cool in that empty spot that never gets any Halloween decor lovin'.


And my LAST painted sign for this year's Halloween listings. Not too creepy, not too cute, with a vintage style mustard color and major distressing. Hand painted, not a vinyl decal and no, not stencilled. I always hand letter and hand paint each sign.

Yes, more rosettes! Sigh. But I love the way these necklaces come out, and the silver nest and pewter colored eggs just really set off the orange and black satin. BUT, wouldn't this look gorgeous with a black camisole under a short denim jacket with some skinny jeans and some sexy sexy boots? Come on ladies, this necklace would ROCK that outfit!

Man, maybe I'll keep it, lol!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Neat machine embroidered rose vines

You never know when an idea will strike, and when it does sometimes you have to just go with it! After I sewed rosettes to this black tote, I turned it inside out to clip all the threads and I saw this pattern made by the stitches and it got me to thinking......


What if I used contrasting thread and sewed this pattern directly onto the tote? I pulled a lime green tote from my stash and went to work with black thread. Unfortunately, this was one of those times (you know how it is) when I just went full speed ahead and didn't take process pics. But one thing I DID do was draw a light design in pencil where I wanted the rose vine to go as one continuous line of stitching.


I started slow and steady, and made sure that at each sharp curve, corner or turn that the needle was DOWN to anchor the stitch in place; such as the points of the leaves, the centers of the roses, etc.


I went over some parts twice or even three times, but as you can see, the design is very forgiving of multiple stitch lines. An abstract continuous rose design like this is surprisingly easy to do. If you do not like how it looks you can pick out the stitches. When you restart, be sure to go forward and backwards a few times at your restart point to keep the new stitches from unraveling.




For the veins in the leaves I started out by stopping and turning the whole tote and stitching them in but then I figured out I could just hit the reverse button and carefully stitch the veins in place. Going slowly and carefully I could see how the design was coming out. And you know, doing this made me grin like an idiot, because this was one of those times when it was working out better than I'd hoped!

I added the black pocket trimmed with real rosettes and contrasting fabric and some pretty black lace. I stitched one bit of leafy twig across the corner of the pocket.


Oooh! I like it, I like it alot! I could see using this technique on all sorts of things and even using it to quilt layers of muslin, batting and backing for a stylish and chic coverlet. Or how about at the bottom hem and up the side seams of blue jeans? And I wonder if it would be possible to stitch in some words or phrases, since handwriting is just one long line, isn't it? I've got to try it and I'll let you all know how it turns out!

I'll be joining up to the parties in my sidebar, come check out the neat ideas.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Look what I got! A most excellent Halloween doll!


Yup, the Queen of the Pumpkins from Candace Navarette at Howling Moons Designs for the Halloween swap at Rabbit Hollow Prims.

Check out my primitive doll blog for photos and links....

http://rufflesandcrows.blogspot.com/2010/09/queen-of-pumpkins.html

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You'll want to shop here, trust me.

I know you'll want to shop here because from the first time I stepped into the building that houses American Mercantile in Medford, Oregon, I knew I'd be shopping there again and again. I've taken lots of pictures for you to enjoy....


There's the wonderful seasonal display at the entrance which is always an outstanding collection of vintage, hand crafted and thrifted finds. Antique cherry picker's ladder, anyone? There it is in the corner.

And check out this booth with its shabby chic iron work and bundled lavender and wonderful music sheets pinned to ( look closely now) a baby crib spring frame hanging on the wall!


Every time I look at this pic I see something I've missed and it is even better in person. See the sweet cherry plate and the lacy doily lampshade?


Oh my, more silk greenery and folk art goodies than you can shake a stick at. Miniature wire chairs and french style birdcages and baskets and rusty buckets and prim dolls.

I call this the "door booth" because it has this tall skinny door that I love. I check on it every time I go in there.

Speaking of doors, isn't this the neatest reworking of a farmhouse door and table? Love the chippy paint, love the weathered box on the table, love the wall hooks, love the shelf. So, after drooling over all the neat stuff at American Mercantile, I spoke with Christa, the owner, and took the plunge.

Much sooner than expected she called me back and said she had a space available for me and my daughter and guess what?


This is our brand new booth at this wonderful mall! We've never done a space like this before so we're excited and stressed and thrilled and worried all at once. Take a look, some of these things will look very familiar to you, my wonderful followers.

Alot of what you see is already listed in my Etsy shop. I've had to make a couple of trips to pick things out of the booth that sold online and as long as I'm down there I tweak the space a little and then I look around at all the booths, over a hundred at last count!



I just love the way my daughter, Christy's, book page wreaths and frames look. They are so much fun! And her handmade words really stand out. The Welding Man made all the metal stars you see hanging around. Love them!


I have to admit that almost every time I go there I buy a little something. There are some booths selling wonderful selections of old lace and I can't resist. And design books. And old linens. There is always something old that is new and the friendly vendors keep their prices reasonable. It's an exciting place to visit, full of fun things. Didn't I tell you you would want to shop there? Hopefully I'll be blogging about American Mercantile again and highlight some of the lovely things on display there. Maybe even BEFORE I've bought them! ;0)

So do you have a favorite place to shop? Someplace interesting and not expensive and full of wonderful things? Please share!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cheap chic organizer boxes for my craft room



Here is one of the 3 counters in my studio. It looks pretty good in this photo because I was cleaning it up and trying to get better organized in there. When I'm working on a project I usually trash the joint, so this is looking acceptable.

I have alot of stuff crammed into my studio. ALOT. I love the multi drawer units for all my small stuff and I've never met a glass jar that I couldn't use for lace, buttons, flowers, ribbons... the list is endless. I also have five bookcases full of fabric, I kid you not. But for the in between stuff I made do for a long time with an assortment of mismatched dollar store baskets, priority mail cardboard boxes, shoe boxes and what have you. I can store alot of stuff that way, but my craft space wasn't looking too pretty or organized. And I wasn't going to spend a bundle on matching containers!

So with all the Mod Podge projects blazing their way thru blogland these days, I knew I could make a big difference in there.



Here's a sturdy box with a lid flap that will fit excellently on my high shelves. I sat down with a cup of coffee, an ancient and dilapidated paperback thesaurus and some music on the CD player and a while later I had this.....




I know, it's a painful sight. But this old tired thesaurus was in such bad shape that the pages tore even when you just opened the book. At least I gave those pages new life with this project! Soon, I had this....






LOL! I guess the paper was flying every which way because at the end of the day I had 18 boxes that look like THIS....







I made some labels from card stock and chalkboard paint and there ya go, changeable labels on my super cheap organizer boxes.


Ahhhh, much better! I have more storage than I can shake a stick at now and the boxes look good and make me smile. The Mod Podge actually brought out the golden hues of the paper edges really well, so they look all mellow and vintage. I like that alot!

I even added a book page panel to the right hand space on my waterbed headboard that I use as a wall display unit. I just Mod Podged the pages to a piece of foam board and voila, a coordinated background to go behind some of my stuff.

AND, that project for my studio led to this project for my Etsy shop. I thought with a little more effort and some finishing details like muslin liners and better labels, these would be a nice addition to my store. Take a look....

And then, because the look of the vintage book pages was just too compelling, I did this....
I like it. I like it alot! It looks like old bakelite and it really disguised the flaws in this old glass piece. Now I'm wondering what else I can do with old book pages....hey, that old shelf is looking kind of shabby......

I'll be linking up to the fun parties on my sidebar this week. Come join me there!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What is this?

This would be the Raven's Tea Party, my very first Halloween piece for an invitational craft swap thru Rabbit Hollow Prims on Etsy. The theme was Halloween tea party and I had a blast making this!

For more info on how and what it's made of, click over to my Folk Art blog, Ruffles and Crows. I think you'll be glad you did!

http://rufflesandcrows.blogspot.com/2010/09/ravens-tea-partymy-first-halloween-swap.html