Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lavender Dreams

I believe, if the stages of our lives were fanned before us as paint strips found at the hardware store, we would recognize immediately the colors that belonged to us and those we love. Bold colors for a father's remembered tie, riotous colors for a mother always in motion, lavender for a young girl's dreams.

My mother so carefully and lovingly decorated my childhood bedroom for the young lady she expected me to be. Gradient ruffles of lavender spilling over the edges of my bed to pool on a floor of soft blue. Furniture in white trimmed in gold, crossed gossamer hung from windows with casements in white to let in the breeze.

A bed always made and clothes neatly hung, it was as though the room itself expected me to act in a certain way.  When I left it's confines in the morning for school, it's quiet dignity seemed to cling to me as though it expected others to recognize immediately from where I came.

Homework hours and spend the nights, joyful days and heartsick worries, lavender dreams before I closed my eyes. Would True Love ever find me. My mother said it would.

When I think back now to the Courtship Days of my life, I think of the room my mother decorated especially for me. Vases of flowers and paper declarations of love, gentle manners matching my own. Someone who was looking for the occupant of a room just like mine.

Special Delivery characters made to recall the sweetest days of my life.

Hat band will be half width of one in pattern. Please do not Pin pattern on Pinterest

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"It's a Holly day!"

Look closely in the background of this photograph, and you will see evidence of the many parties that are celebrated by the characters of my craft room. Apparently they have decided it's not necessary at all to be tucked away until their own celebratory month appears upon the calendar. It seems for them that every day is a holiday, but today is extra special as it is a Holly day!

I can only begin to tell you how happy I am to have found my crafting sister at heart in Holly of Cotton Pickin Fun. Someone who loves holidays as much as I do, and someone who loves to craft in felt. EAK! How lucky am I to be the recipient of this adorable Leprechaun and his sidekick companion.

Holly says she has loved very small things since she was a little girl. We are all glad for this as she has created and shared with us the most wonderful patterns of tiny little characters to make. These Tweethearts do melt my heart!

If it is impossible for me to put away the things I make for each holiday as it comes, it is doubly so for the Cute as Can Be characters made from Holly's patterns. Look again in the background to see her Valentine's Day Shakers right where I can catch sight of them from where I sit.

 A smile I can be sure of each time I visit her sweet blog. How absolutely clever is the Shamrock Shaker pattern she has created wearing his very lucky hat. The Easter shaker is made from Holly's Snowman Shaker pattern with ears from my own rabbit pattern added. I know, we are becoming symbiotic! Where there is one of us, you will find the other cheering her on.

"Hello! My name is Elizabeth. I love to craft with felt and I love Holly days!"

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Who's The Boss?"

With the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and my mother's budding independence, my brother and I found ourselves "in charge" of own selves more frequently than not. Our parents seemed to be resolute in their confidence that they would return from their own day's agendas to a home still standing and children as they had left them.

 As the oldest sibling I considered my self the Boss of my younger brother, John.

He considered himself, unbossable.

So I really was surprised one morning near Easter to find upon opening our front door, the largest raccoon I had ever seen standing on his hind legs looking as though he wanted to come in. I called my brother to the door, "John, Mom and Dad have gotten us an Easter Raccoon. Come and get him." And he listened to me!

As soon as my brother stepped onto our front porch, the raccoon began to chase him. My brother on two legs was not fast enough for the raccoon on four. A tackle, a tumble, arms and legs flailing, a brother bitten to pieces upon our parents arrival home. Shots in the stomach for Easter a reminder never to listen to his sister again!

Please do not Pin patterns on Pinterest

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"It's A Girl!"

Despite the pink wonderfulness of my craft room, it has a distinctively Man Cave attitude being that all of the characters I create are of the male persuasion. With the never ending holiday parties in the making, and the ever present quest for True Love, I decided it was time to insert some female influence.

Intimidation is precisely what I felt at the thought of creating a girl character. Why? Because she doesn't wear pants that only require striped pipe stems! My own Paper Clay tutorial inadvertently provided the answer. A rope of clay around the bottom of the figure, pull clay back towards body.

Oh My Gosh! I am tickled PINK!  A girl character to join in the fun.  Her little jumper is just too cute!

Hmmmmm..... There may be a period of adjustment needed. This little fella doesn't quite know what to think.

Joy. Sheer Joy is the blessing I feel that I have a such a place as a craft room where the characters of my imagination can come forth, and I am most grateful to have those of you who happen here and allow me to share such things.

The wonderful pattern that is covering my "E" is  from the vintage wrapping paper seen in the first photo. I used my pinking scissors to cut the white from the pink. The white portion was used to cover all of the edges of the letter. Oh! And who is that handsome Scottie seen in the background?

He is a Poorbaby Payday Pooch who has come to reassert the male majority!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine Keepsake Tutorial

My most favorite days working were the years spent at Gooseberry Patch. I couldn't wait to pick-up conversations left unfinished between the calls I took from customers. Laughter buoyed our spirits late into the night. We forgot we had families and homes waiting for our return.

With each new publication shared with my customers, creative images filled my mind's eye waiting for the opportunity to come to be. You have seen in nearly every photo posted my Christmas Keepsake Frame, a project featured in "Gooseberry Patch Christmas All Through the House", finally, one for the other Red Holiday on the calendar, a Valentine Keepsake Frame.

SUPPLIES: 8x10 white frame (I painted a wooden document frame), printed paper cut to size of glass, cardboard, Valentine Hankie (one half, cut in half), fat-quarter fabric, med. sized rick rack, embellishments, hot glue.

STEP 1: (Steps 1-3 preform on ironing board) Iron fat-quarter in half lengthwise. Pull fabric one inch from center (finger) towards center creating a pleat, iron. Repeat left of center.

STEP 2: Lay frame on top of pleated fabric to determine how wide fabric pocket should be. Push outside of fabric towards center of fabric to create a pleat just inside frame edge, iron.

STEP 3:  Position hankie in a pleasing way. Fold hankie edges under itself to match pleat edges (finger), iron edges.  Excess hankie will go behind pocket front and between pleats in back of pocket.

STEP 4:  Position frame over pockets to determine to how deep you want them to appear in relationship to  the open space above pockets.  Cut two equal pieces of cardboard measuring from inside edge of frame. Slip cardboard between layers of fabric.

STEP 5:  Place paper on top of glass, position pockets (cardboard edge flush with bottom of glass), fit within frame, tuck fabric towards exposed glass, replace frame backing, push down metal tabs. Now for the fun part - EMBELLISH to your HEART is CONTENT!

OH MY GOSH! I did not notice at first that I had chosen a Valentine and cookie cutter that tells the story of my photograph of my very first boyfriend. "Rain or Shine, Benny. Won't you Be Mine?"

Of course my frame includes my lifetime's Valentine, my husband. How cute is his First Grade photograph! Do you notice the little tag I have created from a greeting card Maker's Mark? "Forget-me-not". So sweet!

Oh how I loved my days at Gooseberry Patch, and oh how I do love my Valentine Keepsake Frame!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Paper Clay Tutorial

Does it amaze you that you are able to create your own holiday decorations? I think it is wonderful and such fun at the same time.

If you haven't yet given Paper Clay a try, I do hope this tutorial will encourage you to do so. Tools needed? Your hands! I know, amazing again! Paper Clay can be found at Michael's or online.  As there isn't a single direction on the package, I hope you will allow me to share my own techniques.

PREPARATION:  A sheet of paper for your work surface, a small amount of water, porous Styrofoam shapes (not smooth), toothpicks, pipe cleaner stems, craft wire cutter.

STEP 1:  Press small amount of clay at a time to surface of Styrofoam. (Close package each time clay is removed).

STEP 2:  Using your thumb press clay in a forward direction until you feel an even thickness under your thumb. (Clay should be applied thinly, but you should not see the texture of the Styrofoam through clay.)
STEP 3:  Apply next amount of clay a slight distance from already applied clay. Push new amount towards existing edges. (All shapes are covered in this manner.)

STEP 4:  Roll small amount into ball shape in the palm of your hand. (Should cracks appear in the clay, apply moisture with fingertip dipped in water). Roll ball into a rope with fingertips against work surface. Apply to head with slight pressure.

STEP 5:  Press rope to thickness against face that is pleasing. With finger, pull flattened rope from the face
edge towards the back of head until smoothness is achieved.

STEP 6:  Wet finger and further smooth clay.
STEP 7:  Insert half a toothpick in bottom of head.

STEP 8:  Make 2 same sized balls of clay by rolling in palm of hand. Slightly elongate by applying pressure to one side of ball as you roll.
STEP 9:  Attach to head use pulling technique with finger.  Slightly elongate clay into ear shape.
STEP 10: Smooth edges further with fingertip dipped in water.

STEP 11:  Press small ball of clay to surface of face. Use same pulling technique to further adhere.
STEP 12:  Wet fingertip with water, smooth clay into nose shape. Head is complete, set aside.

BODY PREPARATION:  Twist 2 pipe cleaner stems together. Insert stem without cutting 1/2" into bottom of egg shaped Styrofoam for leg. Bend to create ankle and foot, snip with wire cutters. Repeat for second leg and arms. (Second set of twisted pipe cleaner might be needed). Remove stems to apply clay.

STEP 13:  Repeat same techniques used to apply clay to head.
STEP 14:  Reinsert pipe cleaner stems.  Character is now complete!  (My husband had hidden my Valentine's Day card and gift for me to find!)

DRYING:  Allow air to circulate around pieces. A fan can be also be used. Area of country you live in will effect drying time.  NOTE: When dry, your piece should feel as light as the Styrofoam did without clay. If it feels heavy, you know you applied your clay too thickly. CRACKS: Apply small amount of Paper Clay to crack, smooth with wet fingertip.  Allow to dry again. (If the crack is small, I don't worry about it as my paint and glitter will cover)

BASE: Save those ribbon spools! I have traced my spool onto my image and then adhered it to white card stock before scalloping edge.

FACE: Draw eyes on clay with pencil, paint white. Paint face flesh. Reapply flesh to cheek and nose area, drag brush already coated with flesh just along a dot of red. Apply to wet paint, blend with clean brush. (I adore MS Love Dove) Paint eye color. (On small figures I do not outline in black for a softer look) Paint nose and whiskers. Paint inside of ears. Paint white on hat. Let dry.

BODY: Draw oval on body, paint. Paint white on body. Let dry.

CRAFT VARNISH (found alongside craft paints) is applied to areas that are not going to be glittered. Let dry.

GLITTER: Martha Stewart Clear Glass Glitter is applied to clay by thinning Tacky Glue to the consistency of milk. (I no longer use Modge Podge as I noticed my white pieces yellowed over time).

GARLAND:  Make bow with tails from sheer ribbon, hot glue to center of chenille stem. Bend stem over "hands" and trim. Tails of bow are looped around stem and hot glued in place. Position and hot glue paper flowers and eggs. (Michaels $1.00 bin)

And there you have it, Your Cute as Can Be Easter Garland Hangers!

 I promise your first Paper Clay creation will not be your last. And I do hope your Valentine's Day was all that you hoped for and more!