Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Handmade Christmas Gifts

As promised here are some photos of some of the things I made for Christmas gifts this year.

These are pins which I made for a few of the ladies on my gift list.

Here is the set of garden markers which I made for my brother. I trekked to our creek through 2 feet of snow and stood in the icy water (after breaking through the ice on the edge) with my boots on to get these rocks. My brother has been gardening with his daughter who is a Veggie Tales fan so I included the characters on the markers. After I painted them I sprayed them with polyurethane. The only one I wasn't completely happy with was the "peas" one because I think it sort of looks like a pepper. I included with this gift a number of garden related items, gloves, clippers etc.

This is the Bible cover I made for my husband. I made it from black leather which I had been given.

Other gifts I made this year:
  • Handwoven scarf for my mom woven from llama fleece which I spun.
  • Notecards made with some adorable images I found in an old book.
  • Skirt for my daughter made from a gorgeous curtain I purchased at the thrift store and a pink sheet. The skirt is very much princess attire.
  • Button flower hair clips for the little girls on my list.

I've Been Busy With This

We are home now after being away with family for the holidays. We had a wonderful holiday but it is always nice to return home. If you are wondering what I have been so busy doing that I have had no time to give to my blog well here is what has been taking all my time.
We found this great dollhouse on Craigslist for our girls for Christmas. It was a fraction of the original price and was brand new in the box. When we began putting it together we realized that one of the 24 sheets of wooden punched pieces was missing. In fairness to the people I purchased it from, I do think it was missing originally from the factory. In a panic, thinking I had wasted my money, I looked for the address of the company to call and see if I could purchase just one sheet. Well let me tell you, God is good because it turns out the factory is only 1 hour from us and when I called they said the sheet of parts was only $6.00. Then, when giving me directions, they tell me to watch for the sign that says "craft factory outlet". So was this my lucky day or what, only $6.00 AND I get to pick it up at a "craft factory outlet". Well that was all my kids and I had to hear, so off we went. After purchasing our sheet of parts, and of course many other items which we "had" to have, we came home to put together our dollhouse. So that is where I have been. As you can see from the photos, we are not done with it. Actually we have a long way to go but we are having soooo much fun.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What To Do With a Diaper Wipes Container... And My Husband Thought This Was Just Trash!

"Here honey, would you drop this in the trash?" My husband said as he handed me this.....
As the words registered in my mind, that other part of my mind, the creative, convoluted, misunderstood part was in other places. After all, this is a perfectly good plastic container.

"It's such a nice plastic container." My husband teased as he saw that scary look on my face, the look that says, "I'm going to do something with this and you're going to have to get excited about what I make when you get home from work."

He gets frightened by that look.

But, surely there must be something to do with this if it is just going to fill up some landfill I thought. I'm not talking about the obvious things like remove the cover and use it for a pencil container because after all how many pencil holders does one family need? I'm talking about something creative and fun to make and well, something like this...
It's a little gadget case/purse and I really did make it out of the diaper wipes container. O.k, here comes the apology, I'm sorry I have no photos of the process. I really had no idea what I was doing and wasn't even sure it was going to work. However, I will be making another one and I will photograph the process then. Here is a basic overview. I took the container, cut off part of the top of the container until it was the height I wanted. I threw out the cover and the top of the container which I cut off. On the outside of the container I used fabric which I wove on my loom but was leftover from a previous failed project. Then I took a fleecy fabric repurposed from the inside of an old coat and lined the inside of the container with it.I folded the lining fabric over the top rim of the container and blanket stitched it to the other fabric. The cover was made out of cardboard covered with more of the handwoven material and lined with the same lining material as the container. I then blanket stitched around the inside of the lid lining. I attached the lid to the container with a cord so when it is opened it doesn't get lost. A button holds it closed and a long shoulder strap was added for carrying. This case is perfect for when you only want to have a few items with you. My daughter says it is perfect for yard saling (great minds think alike). It's great for carrying around your spending money, your cell phone and keeping your hands free.
As you can see there is room for the phone, credit cards or cash and keys and probably a lipstick or other item or two. Here's a few more photos:

Isn't it cute? I do think if you are going to use this idea you should be sure to use as much repurposed materials as possible, that is the whole idea isn't it? I hope this inspires you too create something out of found materials too.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oh Where, Oh Where Has The Blog Author Gone....

Wow, the Christmas season sure is flying by. Being without power for 4 days really put me behind on everything it seems. I am just beginning to feel like I am getting caught up. Yes, I know, I have totally neglected my blog. But the time has been well spent I promise. See, I have been busy with creating and finishing up the gifts which we are giving for Christmas. Creating always (o.k, almost always) makes me smile so I guess that is time well spent. I can't really show you the things I have been working on because someone might see their gift, but I will be sure to photograph them to show you all later. I can show you a fabulous find which I came across while Christmas shopping, I was tickled about finding these.

I absolutely love them. Actually I loved them so much I bought 14 of them! Boy am I a sucker for a good deal or what? They are metal, well made, and they were marked down from $1.99 to $ .79, I mean really, could you have passed them up? I couldn't. I wanted to have a number of them for our home, for my children's ornament collections, and I also wanted to tie a few onto gifts. See, there is a reason for my madness.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

But It Sure Is Pretty

The pictures just don't do it justice!!

Here are a few pictures I took of the ice storm that recently hit the northeast. In the photo on the right everything is covered equally as much as the pine branch is in the photo on the left. You really should click on the pine branch photo to really see what this was like, it's amazing. The photo on the right is of our road. We were without power from Thursday night till Sunday night. For washing, we hauled water from the creek to heat on our antique cookstove , we also used creekwater to flush the toilet. We chopped ice from the pond to fill the fridge and kept the fire burning round the clock for warmth. It sure has been an adventure. I took a few pictures but you just can't capture the beauty of everything being covered in ice the way it looks in real life.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another "green" purse, this one made from plastic grocery bags.

Here's another purse made from one of the pieces I posted in a previous post. This one is made from woven plastic grocery bags. I figure if you're going to make a purse from plastic bags you might as well go all the way and make the entire thing from repurposed material, so this entire bag is made from found materials except for the magnetic closure. I made the interior of the bag (the navy blue) out of the fabric from a curtain I purchased at the thrift store. The other fabric (blue print) is leftover from another project and we found it originally at a yard sale. Then I made the exterior of the purse from plastic grocery bags which I wove on my loom. This bag was great fun to make and unlike the grapevines the grocery bags actually went through my sewing machine just fine. I should apply to be on the testing team for some sewing machine company for what I subject my machine to (and my loom for that matter).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Green" Purses

I recently posted pictures of three items I wove on my loom. Here is a photo of the first purse I have completed using one of those woven pieces. This was more work than I expected but was great fun to create. I just listed it in my etsy shop.

This was made using an old men's suit coat for the main bag part of the purse, then I used the mat I wove of grapevines as a cover for the bag. Deciding how to attach the mat to the bag took some figuring. I decided on stitching with a heavy upholstery thread in several places on the mat and through the bag. I also did this in many places along the top of the mat under the fold over part of the bag. Then I thought the ends of the grapevines might get too sharp as they dry thoroughly or might even snag clothing so I folded fabric and hand stiched it in a fold over the ends as you can see in the second picture. This had to be done by hand because the grapevines could not go through the sewing machine. I then added a vintage button to either side because, after all, I never can resist vintage buttons.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why I'm Thankful for Emu's - Do you have Rosacea?

First I want to say, I make no money from promoting this product, nor am I a friend or family member of anyone from the company.

I am just an extremely happy customer and would like to pass on some help that was passed on to me.

See, I have rosacea. REALLY BAD.
I had worst rosacea than just about anyone I had ever seen. It was like a mask on my entire face and my whole face was raised and red and dry, with peeling, sores , and on and on. It was absolutely horrible. I wish I had a before photo. It got to the point I didn't want to go out because everyone who saw me asked, "what is wrong with your face?" One day we went to buy a new vehicle. The man that owned the place said

"I don't mean to pry but is that rosacea you're dealing with?".

He told me he had really bad rosacea , but looking at him, I couldn't see a trace of it.
Up to this point, I had tried some different all natural / herbal things because that is normally the first route I try for any healing and normally have great success but not this time. Also, the doctor had given me some prescriptions to antibiotic creams which I never filled because I just couldn't see putting antibiotics on my face every single day...... forever. I also had cut chocolate out of my diet (thank you God it wasn't the chocolate), and had tried cutting some other things out of my diet. Nothing helped. So this man tells me he tried lots of things also and he prefers natural things (same here) and he gave me the name of this cream.

It is from Vermont Prime Emu Producers
They have many products but if you are dealing with rosacea you specifically want the one called Blemish Control.
I am here to tell you this cream is AMAZING.
I not only don't have any sign of rosacea but my skin is nicer than it has EVER been, and there is nothing in the ingredients that I can't pronounce. It at first seems a bit pricy but it really does last as long as they say (and I'm using it on my entire face). I would say it ends up working out to around $10.00 per month which to me is a small price to pay for my self confidence which had sunk to an all time low. The product says to give it a few weeks to work, and although I did see an improvement in that time, it took me longer to get to the point my skin is at now, and it has maintained. I have an occasional small break out (pimple) but nothing like before. I have found that after you get things under control, if you skip a day from time to time it is fine. I first purchased the smaller size to try it out but have since ordered the larger size. If they ever go out of business, I am going to have to get myself some emu's.
Thank you Vermont Prime Emu Producers!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just Couldn't Wait to Post These

Aren't these cute. They aren't quite done yet but I thought I'd show you them now. The angel still needs her wings and the shepherd his staff and the kings their gifts. They will probably end up for sale once the manger is made and the other details are done but I'm not sure yet, I'm tempted to keep them.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Look What I Made

Look what I took off my loom yesterday. What are they you ask? Well, they are woven newspaper, woven plastic bags and woven grapevine. I know, I know, you are right now asking yourself why on earth anyone would weave such materials but it was just one of those days when anything that came through my door was bound to be, well,
bound in my warp threads. Currently they are in the form and size of approximately a place mat but I will be making them into pocketbooks. I will post the pictures of them here when they are done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Making Gift Tags: A Tutorial

Make these pretty enclosure cards/gift tags for next to nothing.

It has always bothered me the amount of money that is spent on greeting cards just to have them dropped in the trash. So, about 2 or 3 times a year my daughters and I take out all our greeting cards and sit and make tons of enclosure cards, reusing greeting cards which we have been given. Here is a tutorial on the method we use to do this. I hope you enjoy.

First, greeting cards are often made of beautiful papers, which if purchased in the craft store, would cost lots of money. Here is just a sample of some of the papers I have saved from my greeting cards. Some of the papers come from the sheer lining which is glued inside the actual card, some comes from the back of the card, you just never know what you'll find. I sit (usually while I watch a movie) and cut all the usable part off a stack of cards and throw away the rest. I have a small paper cutter which makes this job quick and easy. Be sure to look at the space on the back of the card, sometimes there is a little picture or writing on the back but the space above or below it may be nice usable paper. If there is writing on one side of the card it is o.k., you can just use that piece to glue onto another.Here is a picture of some of the adorable images I have saved from some cards. You are going to begin looking at the cards you receive in a whole new way. Each card is full of potential for these cards as well as other crafting opportunities. On the back of the two cards in the photo, you can see there are two little images. Many cards have these on the back. These are great for creating with also. I spend time (while watching movies) cutting images out and I have a good collection going of them at all times. You will need nice sharp scissors which are good for cutting detail work to do the cutting of the images. Keep them in a baggie and you'll be ready to make cards at any time. In the following pictures you will see the little snowman and the pine cone in the above picture used on cards.
Here is another item you'll need to make these cards, however, I can't remember what they are called. They are little squares of foam which are sticky on both sides. I purchase them at Walmart and they are in the section with the mirrors. I cut them up into itsy bitsy (I mean, really small) squares for use on the cards. Because I cut them up so small, one package lasts me quite a while. You will also need glue.

Here is the process I use.

I take a card and first decide how I am going to use it. I will be using the bottom piece of this card for the main part of the card which I am going to make. I will be throwing away the top piece and I will be cutting out the flowers on the middle piece for adding to the card which I am going to make. Sometimes the flowers or other images which I will add come from other cards, however, in this example, all of the images are from the same card.

Here is the bottom piece folded into the main enclosure card and the flowers which I want are cut from the middle piece. I then take some of my little tiny squares of sticky sided foam and put them on the back of some of the images which I cut out. You only need a couple on the back of each one depending on the size.

Here is the card with the flowers in place. The second image is taken from an angle so you can see the three dimentional effect created by the foam squares. I do not use the foam squares on all of the added images. In this example only two of the three flowers were raised.

You may notice in the pictures that the edge of my cards are finished with a decorative edge. I do this with a deckle paper cutter but you can also use fancy cut scissors.

Here are a few images of a Christmas card I did. In the first picture note that the image with the bird is almost the entire front of one card. The little separate piece of holly is from another card. See how an image you may think will look funny when folded actually looks very nice. Further below are some more samples.

Here you can see some of the finished cards I have made for Christmas, they are complete with their ribbons. If you look closely you can see that the three across the top do not have any added image, they are just mounted on heavier paper and then the ribbon was added. Also, if you look at the two cards in the middle and at the right end of the top row you can see they are from the same card. The top right card has an image of some people decorating a tree, I cut off the top of the image and used it for the card at the center top. For the card on the far right end, the carolers were added and are raised. For the card with the pine cone, here is a picture of the individual elements before assembly (aren't they pretty?). Another thing I do with these cards sometimes is water down some glue and paint it lightly on certain places and sprinkle with glitter. Here is a photo of the cards I have ready for this coming Christmas. I also try to keep an ongoing stash of cards going for all other occasions. If you want to see something I came up with for children's valentine cards, please watch here for another upcoming tutorial. I hope you enjoy making these cards as much as my girls and I do. Happy Crafting, Shelley

What are we making?

This picture is of some of our church family sewing parachutes for Voice of the Martyrs.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Does anyone own this cat?

This is my daughter holding the latest addition to our family (I supose), who has been affectionately named "Lily". She seems to have been dropped off by someone who found our rural road and knew my daughter would love her to pieces. She is very sweet and after all...what's one more?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Hospitality of Home Church

The Hospitality of Home Church

by Shelley Howland
So you want to home church but you don't know where to begin. You don't know how others are doing this, you've never been to another home church and hospitality creates stress for you. The Hospitality of Home Church will walk you through some of the details. Intended as a sort of handbook for homechurching women, you will gain insights into topics such as: how to set up seating, what to do with the children (and the pets), how to make unleavened bread and how to truly have your heart focused on the Lord and those in your gathering so all will be blessed. Includes many crowd pleasing recipes as well as recipes for unleavened bread. 74 pages.
Available in our store (see link in side bar).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz

Now Available!
The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz
and It's Really Starting to Stink in Here!

Lessons on Giving God Control of Your Life. By Shelley Howland

Shelley's new book with the funny title is now available. Gain new insights into how God is in control of all things as you read about one average Christian family's journey through trials. You will laugh and cry your way through this parallel to the story of Noah as you learn to give God control of those areas which you have been holding back from Him. Eleven self paced lessons with study questions at the end of each chapter. 56 pages.
Available in our store.
This book also available in quantity at discounted prices.
Here's a few comments from some readers:
  • "God has used your study to help me realize I was holding onto something He wanted me to let go."
  • "You mention how God places things in your path to remind you of His presence. Your study has done that for me."