Thing-a-Day 2011

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Thing-a-day is a yearly creative sprint where participants commit to create one new thing a day, every day of February and post it on the collective blog.

Sign up now to get inspired and fight the mid-winter blues!  Registration opens Jan 21st and ends at Midnight on the 1st.

I hope to complete this challenge this year!  It may not be a big thing every day, but it’ll be a thing!  Hope to see you creating there, too!

Crafty Roundup!

I saw so much cool stuff on the blogosphere this week, I just need to share it!  Here goes!

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Remodelista has a great tutorial on an instant gold painting!  It’s gorgeous, bringing light and sparkle to any room.  What a statement!

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Fantastic DiY on how to make faux Depression glass, beautiful ruby colors!  Great for holidays or just everyday décor!

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And your dose of fashion, a great DiY on the stud cuff, a versatile and classic wardrobe statement!

I love all these projects and hope to try them soon!  What’s popped out at you this week?

Anytime freebie craft: fabric cards

Finding myself with a little extra time over the break, but no money, I decide to take the path less traveled this year regarding our holiday cards to friends and family.  I pulled out my collection of scraps, ribbons, baubles, and Wonder Under, and proceeded to make a collection of hand crafted Christmas Cards!

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The fabric set for my sister’s family.

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Starting on Nick’s family’s card.

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Wonder Under-ing a base fabric.

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Fabric and decorative supplies.

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Several finished cards.

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The inside of one card.

This is a very individual endeavor!  Feel free to use any resource or technique you like best; I focused mostly on the fancy stitches on my new sewing machine and strengthening fabric with Wonder Under.  I used several techniques for messages.  In some cards I simply used double sided tape to secure a paper message.  In others, I sewed in a pocket or corner catches.  Any of these options make these cards totally reusable!

Everyone seemed to love their unique gifts!  What were some of your successful holiday projects?

A Costumed Christmas

My five-year-old nephew is on a serious cowboy kick lately, and I was asked by my mother (his grandma!) to make a ‘real cowboy vest’ as a gift.  However, as I am completely tapped out on funds by this point (thanks student teaching =p), I wanted to see if I could manage to fanangle this out of nothing and air.  And maybe spit.image

I raided the fabric stash and got really lucky finding a great faux leather pillow cover (from the pillow project earlier this summer) that provided JUST enough base material for this mini-sized vest.  I copied and shrank a vintage vest pattern that I’ve been saving for making Sarah from Labyrinth, and I had all the supplies I needed, already on hand!  No worries there!

Because the leather-like material was such good quality, I decided to do a really authentic look and lapped seams instead of doing a regular seam.  I stitched each one twice for durability as well as for a more authentic rustic look.  That made construction really easy and really attractive.  Finally, I top stitched all around the outside and the sleeve openings of the vest for a finishing touch.

I’m delighted with the finished product, and I hope my nephew will be as well!  This is a sturdy little garment that should last for years… at least until he outgrows it!

What’s your favorite handmade Christmas costume?

A copper Christmas

Copper is one of my favorite materials, both as a jeweler and a decorator.  It’s warm, glowing, and rosy, and can compliment so many palettes, from equally warm colors to bringing a sparkle to cooler choices (give me a copper and amethyst necklace any day!).  Gold and silver are the traditional Christmas metals, but what about this versatile color?  Let’s see what’s out there!

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Adorable copper cookie cutter from Sur La Table.  Talk about multitasking; make a few tree cookies and then hang this little guy on the real tree!

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Other-than-green Christmas trees are all the rage this year, so how about this glittering copper beauty (best buy at Amazon.com).  It’s also prelit, saving you precious holiday time.

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These punched copper gingerbread men (running, of course) from Etsy seller tinworks are a staple from my own childhood as well!  I recall creating these as a very young child, and my own still grace my tree to this day.  DiY with some copper sheeting and nails, or pick these up from tinworks!

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Even though Hanukkah is over for this season, the menorah is a delightful decoration in copper as well!  This lovely woven metal version is available from Traditions Jewish Gifts. What glitter and glow are you enjoying this holiday season?

Favorite Holiday Decorations from the Blogosphere!

There are so many gorgeous decorations out there… I expect I’ll be spending a lot of time in the next few weeks sharing some of my favorite finds!  Many of these will be DiY and very inexpensive – or at least have the potential – because of course we need to go a little easy on our wallets!  Enjoy!

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I LOVE this simple, elegant, informal willow and eucalyptus wreath from Seahorse.  Unfortunately, it’s a UK product, so hard to get to the US in time, but why not do up this one yourself?

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Hello?  How about the old classic, paper cut-out snowflakes?  Make bunches and bunches of them for this intense, festive statement!  And the cost?  Pretty much free!

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These absolutely charming ornaments are something I know I’d love to give or receive.  Using metal stamps (like the ones I use to create my wordspell pieces), you can share messages and wishes on antique silverware.  No time for that?  Pick these up from the Hammermann shop at Etsy!

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Advent calendars are one of those charming and oh-so-easy touches that I often sit here going, “Why didn’t I think of that?”  I love this effortless, timeless example from Rachel!

What’s your favorite frugal project this holiday?

Beg, borrow, and steal!

It’s a mantra we use as teachers that really applies to good teaching strategies that we can learn from others and then use… but I think it has good applications for crafters, too!  I’m taking a few cues this holiday season for my décor from fellow blogs!

imageFirst, I just arrived home from a trip to my local Family Dollar!  Fellow frugalese blog Dollar Store Crafts is constantly touting the benefits of shopping at this super-discounted location, and for once-a-year decorating it can save a lot of money!

I’d started out with a classic gold and silver theme, and then while taking a walk down the floral aisle, I caught sight of the fruits and veggies pictured to the left, and I had a brilliant idea!  A fruit-filled and fluttery tree filled with faux fruit and birds of all colors and sizes.  I also added in the element of white flowers to fill in the lacking spaces in my somewhat sparse (and secondhand) tree.  I’ll also include some of my keepsake ornaments that were handed down from my parents.

imageThe other project I’m looking forward to is this silvery, lighted branch that was posted over at Remodelista.  I love the simplicity and natural flavor of this simple-to-create project.  It seems to go along the lines of the outdoorsy, natural feeling I’m pursuing this season (apparently!).  I’m thinking about giving this one a home on the mantle above the fireplace… it would make a nice foil to some stockings hung by the chimney with care!  I could also go dark green or brown to follow the accents of the red camellia branch curtains in the living room.  So many possibilities!

I like that both of these are not limited to the winter holidays.  A lighted branch is a lovely accent any time of the year, and faux fruit can be a great part of everyday décor or specifically for Thanksgiving.

I admit…  I’m a fan of the winter holiday season!  I love all of it, the decorating, the parties, the lights, and just the overall feeling of wonder and delight.  Oh, and did I mention winter vacation?  Gotta love it!

What fun projects are you finding in the blogosphere this season?

All done!

Wow!  The gorgeous and oh-sew-talented Miss Marisa at New Dress A Day has completed her year-long journey of sewing and editing.  New Dress A Day began about a year ago with 365 dollars and 365 days, and each day Marisa edited a $1 secondhand garment into a gorgeous new creation!

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Hers is one of the most inspiring blogs I’ve read this year, and I can’t wait to see what else she creates in the future!  Congrats on meeting your goals and inspiring thousands!  We love ya!

More projects for the scrap collectors

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I am a HUGE fan of these delightfully easy projects, especially around this time of year!  Projects like this one over at Apartment Therapy are not only great for your home, but make wonderful gifts as well!  Like the pillow project, this table runner can cost as little as NOTHING using fabric remnants you already have.

What are your favorite free projects to create?

The Mighty Apron!

As crafters and creators, we tend to be messy people.  We also have stuff all over.  Where are my scissors?  Oh nuts, they’re on the floor under that pile of fabric (not that you knew that until after 20 minutes of searching).  An easy solution?  The versatile, useful apron!  As both a fashion statement and practical tool, the apron serves as both protection and storage while you’re busy being brilliant.  Check out these fine specimens!

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The totally adorable “Pink Chocolate Flirty Apron” apron, for about $30 at overstock.com.  Definitely a must for the party hostess, this leans more toward fashion, but still serves the necessary purpose.  Also, I cannot say no to chocolate and pink, not to mention the stripes and polka dots!  So cute!

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How about this witty waist apron?  The “Grania” style apron over at Retro Electro is a play on the cocktail apron style, with just the right amount of smarts and whimsy to make them perfect…  Perfectly sassy, that is!  What else would they be stating “How about a little drinkie winkie?” on the pocket?  There are several styles at about $36 each.

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The vendor apron may perhaps be the handiest for crafters – I even know teachers who wear these to keep supplies always at hand!  What a great time saver!  Check out this adorable one at Etsy!

Or you could always whip one up yourself from the over 51 free patterns at Tip Nut!  What’s your favorite?