Thursday, December 22, 2011

Quick Christmas Crafts: Wreaths and Ornaments

My talented Aunt Ruby made this wreath some 40 years ago. Mom hangs it every year. Handmade is so special! 

You might say this is a Christmas miracle. After months of no blog bidnaz, I have a little something to share. Handmade holiday crafts! There’s still time to make someone special a decoration. Here are a few of the projects I’ve put together this year.
Last weekend the gals in my family got together to make wreaths, all inspired by the Dec. issue of Woman's Day magazine.

My sis-in-law and I both decided to go with paper straw wreaths. I bought the straws at Orson Gygi, a local kitchen supply company. You’ll also need a hot glue gun, ribbon, and a foam wreath form. 
Here’s how it's done:
1. Cover the inside and outer edges of your foam wreath base with ribbon. You can either pin the ribbon in place or glue it. 

2. Cut straws to two varying lengths and attach them to the wreath base, alternating between the longer and the shorter straw. 

    3. When the first layer of straws is done, take another style of straw, cut it to two smaller lengths, and layer them over the background group of straws. Top the finished wreak off with a bow! 
      5. Hang the wreath by attaching a loop of ribbon to the back of the wreath. 

        Gina, my sis-in-law, went with blue straws for a neat snowflake effect. Cool! 

        Mom opted for the box wreath, which is super cute. You’ll need several small boxes in various sizes (I got ours at Xpedx), wrapping paper, ribbon, hot glue, and a wire wreath form. 
        1. Position your boxes on your wreath how you want them to fit. 

          2. Wrap the boxes with wrapping paper and adhere them to the wreath frame. 
            3. Top some of the boxes off with ribbon and hang the wreath. Fun!

              Inspired by an awesome tutorial at Jessica Jane Handmade, I also made some clay bird ornaments for my family. I love the way they turned out.

              Have you made any crafts this season? If so, I’d love to see or read about them. 
              Merry Christmas!

              Saturday, October 1, 2011

              Happy World Card Making Day!

              It’s time to create & celebrate. Today is World Card Making Day (WCMD)! I adore shaped cards, so I put together a few using a sheet of paper from Bella Blvd. to share with you in honor of this fun day. 

              I love the large shapes on this Sunny Happy Skies paper from Bella Blvd. They make quick and cute shaped cards. 

              It was as easy as cutting out the different elements from the paper (tree, house, and ice cream) and connecting them to cardstock backings, which I cut following the shape of the cards.  

              I think the house is my favorite. For me, it’s the little details that make it extra fun (the door that opens, the flowers by the door, and the sun and cloud in the sky). I already sent it to a friend who had invited me to her home, but you could also use a card like this for a Welcome to the Neighborhood and Moving card.

              This would make a fun birthday card for someone who loves their ice cream with sprinkles on top. But the “You’re Sweet” sentiment would also make this card work for a thank-you.

              And I sent this one to Mom and Pop. It’s always a good time to tell someone you love them. If you aren’t sure what card(s) to make this WCMD, why not do a love note for someone(s) special in your life?

              Happy WCMD, my crafty friends! I hope you’re doing something fun to create & celebrate this special occasion. 

              Friday, September 23, 2011

              Easy Burlap Gift Wrap & CKU Details (at the hop!)

              Welcome! Whether you hopped this way from Michelle Hill's blog as a part of the CKU (Creating Keepsakes University) blog hop that's going on today or you just happened by, I'm happy you're here.

              Let's talk burlap wrap!

              Wanting to share my love of burlap with you, I'm giving you a sneak peek at something special I'm working on for my CKU class students. Shhhhh... don't let the cat out of the burlap bag. ;)

              (I'm teaching at our special CKU reunion event next month. Woot! But more on that in a minute.)

              Let's paint some burlap.

              Supplies you'll need:

              1. Burlap bag(s) (or canvas, or paper, or any style you fancy)
                1. Note: My bags are from Jamali Garden, a fab floral shop in NYC. If you're reading this from NYC and wouldn't mind picking me up some more, please let me know. I promise to make it worth your while. :)
              2. Acrylic paint
                1. Note: I used the new and lovely Martha Stewart line of paints in Summer Haze blue and Wedding Cake white. I purchased these at Michaels. Check out my girl, Marth, talking up her paints
              3. A tag or scrap of cardstock
              4. Paint brush or sponge
              5. Foam stamps and/or number stencils
                1. Note: I used the Monogram Serif Stencil set from MSC. 
                2. The foam stamps are a former Creating Keepsakes kit. I'm afraid it's no longer available, BUT you will get to play with these stamps if you take my Got Your Number class at CKU. (Again, more on that soon.)
              Ready, Freddy? It's as easy as either stenciling or stamping a number on a bag with your paint. 

              Note: Because this is a special treat for my CKU class, which has a number theme, I used numbers, but you can do this with anything--a monogram, an ampersand sign (&), a heart--anything! 

              Before you paint, make sure you insert a heavy scrap (i.e. tag, cardstock, or cardboard) into the bag to keep the paint from bleeding through. Muy importante. 

              I stenciled the No. and stamped the 2.

              The burlap took the paint beautifully. Well... except for the glitter paint. It didn't show up as well. But I do like the subtle, almost water-mark look it creates. Do you see the 3?

              Make any gift stand out with this quick and easy gift-wrap project.

              Now, let's talk getaways...

              Calling all Creatives! 
              Do you like playing with paper? Fancy a little fabric and sewing? How about the oh-so-popular mixed media craze? Are you a beading babe? If you're anything like me, you said "YES!" to all of these questions. (I know how we creative peeps are.) Whether you like one craft specifically or dabble in several areas, you're going to love the CKU Reunion!

              I feel very blessed to be joining this fantastic group of instructors as a teacher at this highly anticipated event.

              I imagine you recognize many of these friendly faces. Each of these talented gals have something unique and inspiring to offer you during this fun-filled weekend.

              My Class: Got Your Number
              Anyone born before 1985 knows that Jenny's # is 867-5309, but what are your digits? In my all-day album class, you'll discover that many numbers make up your beautiful life.

              Huzzah! We are going to have a blast exploring our life numbers.

              Take a look at what you can expect!

              I'm VERY excited about the fun to come in Sunny San Diego, California, Oct. 27-29.
              Will you be there?
              There's still time to register!
              An entire weekend of creative fun for only $295!
              And once you've registered, I'd be honored if you had my number and dialed into the sure-to-be-fun Got Your Number class.

              Hop On!
              Thanks for hopping in to check out my bag project and learn a little about CKU. Time to hop on to the next blogger in our line up, the stellar Kim Watson, and see what she has in store for you. Tell her hi for me!

              Note: If you're interested in starting at the beginning of this here hop, jump on over to Mou Saha's blog, where the fun begins!

              One More Thing, a la Sesame Street
              Before you go, here's a quick flick to enjoy. Since I'm working on my CKU class today, which is all about having fun with numbers, I've watched this gem more times than I'd like to admit. Thought we'd take one more listen together. (Click the image below to let the fun begin.)

              Hope to see you at the CKU reunion next month!

              Tuesday, July 26, 2011

              Oilcloth Projects: Part 1

              Oilcloth! It’s hip, it’s durable, it’s fun to work with, and it’s loaded with nostalgia! What’s not to love about this versatile fabric? 

              What is Oilcloth?
              If you aren't familiar, oilcloth is a laminated fabric that's been fused to a durable vinyl backing. Cotton laminate has a similar smooth finish, but it's lighter weight and a little less durable than oilcloth. Vinyl is another fabric option with a similar consistency. You can find these fabrics online and at some fabric shops. 

              What's it Used For?
              With it's smooth finish, oilcloth is great for outdoor decor, tablecloths, lunch bags...anything that runs the risk of getting wet or messy.

              I used both oilcloth and cotton laminate to create today! Most of my supplies were purchased at Material Girls Quilts in South Jordan, UT. 

              It totally reminds me of my grandma, as she used to have oilcloth tablecloths on her kitchen table. Believe it or not, this was the affordable option for her low-income family, at only $0.05-$0.15 a yard. Now adays, oilcloth averages about $15-$20 a yard. It’s worth every penny, if you ask me. Just look at all you can do with this sassy crafting supply!

              Create a Cloth Banner
              I’m super excited at how this one turned out. You see, the black pieces of the banner are actually made from chalkboard vinyl, which has similar durable properties to oilcloth.   I purchased this fantastic fabric at Bolt, an amazing fabric shop in Portland, OR. I love it, because it allows me to personalize my banner over and over again for different ocassions. Since I’m sharing this on Studio 5 this morning at 11:00 MT, I thought I’d dress it up accordingly using a bistro marker (chalkboard marker). 
              Make your own banner in 4 easy steps:
              1. Cut fabric pieces to desired size.
              2. Sew two pieces of fabric back to back to create a double-sided banner. 
              3. Cut out around banner pieces with pinking shears or a decorative blade.
              4. Punch holes in top of each banner piece and thread onto twine. 

              Banner Supplies
              1. Oilcloth and/or cotton laminate
              2. Chalkboard vinyl 
              3. Sewing machine
              4. Pinking shears
              5. Hole punch
              6. Twine
              7. Bistro marker or chalk
              Try a Table Runner
              Inspired by my sweet grandma’s tablecloths of yesteryear, I decided to create a modern take on an oilcloth table covering. To make this runner, simply measuer and cut the fabric to the length of your table, only covering a portion of the table’s width. Dress up the edges by sewing on some jumbo poms. Simple and cute!

              1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
              2. Jumbo pom pom trim
              3. Sewing machine

              Cover a Tray
              Transform a basic tray into a durable serving/storage piece by inserting a piece of oilcloth or laminate in the bottom. You can either glue it in place with a sturdy fabric glue (such as Fabritac by Beacon’s) or hot glue. Or, for a more finished look, try sealing the edges with book binding tape, as I’ve done here.
              1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
              2. Tray
              3. Book binding tape (mine is from Paper Source)
              Cut Coasters
              Oilcloth is water resistant, making it an excellent coaster option. Simply cut squares from fabric, and sew two squares back to back. Note: I used two different fabrics, making my coasters double-sided. Hey, you can also skip the sewing and use a single square for a slightly thinner coaster option. 
              1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
              2. Sewing machine
              Add Oilcloth Details
              Finish your party decor with oilcloth-wrapped bottles. It’s as easy as cutting your cloth to fit a bottle or vase (I used coke bottles that I’ve been saving for such a fun project), and secure it in place with fabric glue or hot glue. Wrap an oilcloth bow around in a different pattern to finish your design.
              1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
              2. Recycled bottles or vases
              3. Fabric glue (I used Fabric-tac by Beacon’s)
              Play with Posies
              In place of traditional flowers, try oilcloth creations. I made pinwheels following these instructions and cut a butterfly using my Slice Fabrique tool. For the stems, I simply punched the top of spoon strawes, and tied the buttons on my shapes through the holes. I added some glue to keep things extra secure. 
              1. Oilcloth or cotton laminate
              2. Buttons and twine
              3. Hole punch
              4. Spoon strawes (snowcone straws)
              For more oilcloth ideas, check out the baby bibs I made from this happy fabric here

              And check my blog again later this week for part 2 of working with oilcloth, as well as my Studio 5 segment. Thanks for your visit! I hope these projects inspire you to create with oilcloth. You’ll make your grandma proud, and add a cool vintage vibe to your next celebration. 

              Tuesday, June 21, 2011

              Seasons Change

              Look closely, and you can see a worm in Mama Robin's mouth. 

              Today marks the first day of summer. And, like clockwork, the last of our baby robins left the nest... almost like they knew spring was over and it was time to move on. 
              We first noticed these four feathered babies when our small pup, Jack, became obsessed with a small pine tree in our backyard. He circled it and watched it like he was on the hunt. That’s when Cor spotted the nest.

              At the base of this little tree was the only place Jack could be found since our friends hatched. We had to watch him closely to make sure he didn't harm the babes.
              We kept the pups locked inside more during our bird time, but that didn't keep  them from bird watching through the window.

              On it, rested a plump mama, with her mate always nearby. Then we got our first look at the babes at feeding time. They were so little. This was only two weeks ago.

              Here, mama is tending to her very young birds. Such a neat photo to capture!

              How much these little guys grow in such a short amount of time. Just yesterday, these four babes sat squished together in their small dish home.
              1, 2, 3, 4... This is when we discovered that four babes called this little nest home. 

              Then it was down to three in the nest, with the first adventuresome guy resting in a nearby tree after his first flight. 

              It wasn't long before the nest was down to three peeps.

              Number 4 decided to take flight. Here, he rests in a nearby tree, waiting for his next go.

              And by this morning, only two babes remained. 

              This was the last time I saw the babes in their nest. Down to 2. 

              By the time I got home from work, the nest looked like this. Not a babe in sight. Just in time for the first day of summer. 

              It sounds silly, but I was sad when I came home to an empty nest. But I'm glad the babes are finding their way in the world.

              Part of me was sad to see our little empty nest, but I was also happy to know that they babies grew and were doing well. 
              The last of our little friends now rests on the fence out back. Practicing flying from one part of the fence to the next. Every so often, mama stops by with some food and motherly advice. 

              The last of the four birdies spent this evening flying from one fence board to the next, getting used to her new wings. 

              Soon this last babe will be on her way and our baby-bird saga will be over. The seasons are changing. Life is progressing. And I know it may sound cheesy, but I loved this opportunity I had to watch some of that change with our springtime house guests. I wonder what the next season will hold around here...