Category Archives: crafts

Quilt #2 – Tumbler Pattern

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Hi everyone, Happy Spring!  Just thought I’d share my newest quilt with you, made in a Tumbler Pattern.  I finished it over the weekend, and love how it turned out.  With each quilt I make I’m trying new things: new piecing shapes, quilting patterns, color combinations and more!

Piecing shapes: I used the Big Shot Pro and a Tumbler Die to cut the pieces, which made the cutting process quick and easy, and it didn’t take long to sew this quilt top together since the Tumbler pieces are so large – about 8″ (finished).  I also think these large quilt pieces are perfect for showing off the gorgeous Kaffe Fassett prints!

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Quilting pattern: I tried a meandering wavy line for the actual quilting, and also tried my hand at machine binding this quilt.  It’s a bit wonky-looking close up, but I think that if I keep practicing this technique – and go more slowly while sewing – my bindings will look “nice enough” while still saving me the hours and hours of hand stitching on the back of the quilt’s binding.

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Color combinations: This quilt is a riot of color, which is a departure for me.  I love color, but often use neutrals as a base with a pop of color when creating.  Using all these patterns and colors together has definitely pushed some of my boundaries, and I’m so glad!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at quilt #2.  The quilt top for quilt #3 is already complete, and I’ll be sure to share it once it’s quilted and the binding is complete.

Warm regards,
Melody

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DIY Vintage Button Rings

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Greetings, everyone!  I hope all is well with you and yours.  Today I’m sharing some Vintage Button Rings I made, and hope you enjoy this peek at my latest crafting endeavor.

If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you’re probably not a bit surprised to see me share this post.  After all, in years past, I’ve made Vintage Button Earrings, Vintage Button Bracelets, and Vintage Button Pendants.  It only seems natural that rings would be next, right?  I didn’t consider making rings until very recently, when nature forced my hand.  (No pun intended)

You see, I’ve got big, strong peasant hands. I get them (and much of my physical appearance) from my Dad’s side of the family.  My father’s hands were truly humongous, and my hands are in no way small and dainty.  Not only that, my fingers have a tendency to swell at times.  Rather than have pricier rings in “real metals” that may or may not fit me at any given time, I’ve decided to wear adjustable rings that I embellish myself.  Then I can resize the ring at will, based on which finger I’m wearing it on that day.  Woo hoo!

Not only is this more practical, given my somewhat challenging hands, I’m really happy about how creative I can be with these buttoned beauties.  They’re unique,  inexpensive, and are so fun to mix and match!  They’re super quick and easy to make, too, so grab your button box (or your Granny’s) and make some rings of your own.

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Materials
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Buttons – vintage or new
Ring blanks – I found mine on Etsy
Sand paper for leveling the back off the buttons
Wire cutters – for removing the shank from buttons (if applicable)
Epoxy (I like the 5-minute versions for nearly-instant gratification)

supplies

Instructions
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1. Remove the shank from the button (if applicable) by cutting it off with the wire cutters.
2. Sand the back of the button if there’s any protruding bits of shank left and it needs to be leveled out.
3. Place the button face down on a protected surface.
4. Dip the flat, round disk of the ring blank into a small puddle of epoxy, then place the round disk part of the ring onto the center of the back of the button.
5. Make sure the blank is centered on the back of the button, and let the epoxy set without moving the two pieces.
6. Wear and enjoy!

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This is how the button looked with the ring blank set on it for gluing – minus the epoxy.

My Process & Yield
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I sorted out buttons and set out the supplies to make these rings one night last week.  The sorting and choosing took a little while since I have (ahem) a fair amount of buttons.  However, once I was actually ready to assemble, it went quickly.

I worked in batches.  First I cut the shanks off and prepped all the buttons, then moved onto gluing.  I had 20 buttons and blanks, and mixed up enough epoxy for approximately 7 rings at a time.  (Tip: I mix my epoxy on pieces of aluminum foil and mix it with a wooden toothpick)

It took me less than 30 minutes to make 20 rings once the buttons were selected – quick and easy!  And I LOVE the way they turned out.

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MORE!
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Yep, I’m making more.  One might think 20 button rings would be enough for one gal, but one would be wrong.  ;]  Somehow I missed sorting through my silver buttons before making my 20 rings.  This is totally ridiculous because silver’s what I wear the most!  Once I discovered this silly oversight, I knew I’d have to order some more ring blanks and make at least five more rings.  We’ll see how many I eventually end up with – I’m sure it will be more than 25.  I don’t feel bad for this particular excess though, since I already have a stash of buttons and it’s such a low-cost project.  After all, I could collect expensive shoes or purses, right? :]

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at my DIY Vintage Button Rings.  Until next time…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Picking Up a Needle & Thread

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I’ve never been much of a sewer or a stitcher. I consider this a bit of a deficiency in my creative skill set, particularly since my grandmother was such a talented seamstress. She started when she was young, and passed her sewing knowledge on to my mom. The buck stopped there, however. The sum total of my sewing experience includes making a pencil-shaped pillow in seventh grade home economics, and doing a wee bit of embroidery as a teen. My adult sewing adventures are limited to sewing an apron (with the help of a teacher for the afternoon) and sewing buttons onto some art and craft projects. Oh, and I did embellish this tote with reverse appliqué and embroidery when I attended Craftcation in April.  I think it’s super cute.  :]

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I’ve been wanting to further develop my skills with needle, thread and sewing machine for a while now. I’ve actually had an embroidery sampler (above) and a book on embroidery (below) awaiting my attention for about three years (!).  So, after a small delay (cough), I’m kicking off my adventure into the land of fabric and thread now. I’ll start with my trusty book and this embroidery sampler, and will go on from there. I’m not sure if I’ll stick to artsy applications of sewing and stitchery – embellishing accessories, making pieces to add to assemblages, and making mini art quilts – or if I’ll get into making utilitarian things as well. I’ll be interested to see where this road leads, and how far I’ll go. :]

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What about you, dear readers? Do you embroider? Sew by hand or with a machine? Do you crochet? (That’s something else I’d like to learn) Have any of you learned to sew from a DVD or online class that you might recommend?  I hope to hear from you about your adventures in sewing and stitching…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Giveaway: Winner of the Sizzix Big Shot!

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I’m pleased to announce the lucky winner of the Sizzix Big Shot Value Pack that was so generously donated by Sizzix.  Thank you for the wonderful giveaway prize, Sizzix!

The winner is… KATHERINE REGIER!

Congratulations on winning, Katherine!  I know you’ll love the Big Shot, dies and embossing folders. Please email me your mailing address so I can send out your prize pack.

Big thanks to all who participated in this giveaway.  Please stay tuned for my upcoming giveaways and more bloggy goodness!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Holiday Crafting with the Sizzix Big Shot

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Hi everyone!  I did some crafting this past weekend, and thought I’d share some of the things I made with my trusty Big Shot – particularly since I’m currently hosting a giveaway for a Big Shot.  I’m still getting to know my machine, and thought I’d try some new things.  For example, I have some embossing foil I was dying to make use of, and also wanted to use a new die I recently purchased.  The results?  Some quick and easy Christmas Ornaments and Gift Card Holders!

Christmas Ornaments
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Materials:
Sizzix Big Shot machine
Ornament die – #A10126
Christmas Tree, Ornament, Snowflake & Stocking die – #A10599
Dots #4 Embossing Folder – bonus item from die #658189
Snow Village Embossing Folder – bonus item from die #658189
Little Sizzles white mat board – #656492
ArtEmboss embossing foil in silver, red, and gold
Vintage ledger paper
Vintage button
Vintage lace trim
Red striped washi tape
Rhinestone button
Adhesive
Silver thread
*Chipboard or mat board

Metal Ornaments

I die cut red and gold embossing foil using the ornament die.  Once the ornament was cut, I ran it through the Big Shot machine again using the patterned embossing folders.  I finished each ornament by die cutting the silver ornament cap area and gluing it over the existing colored foil.
*Note: I didn’t mount the foil onto matboard or chipboard for more stability when making these “test ornaments”, but would recommend you do so since the foil is very pliable and is easily bent.

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Mat Board Ornaments

For the vintage ornament, I glued the ledger paper to the mat board before cutting out the ornament shape.  Next I affixed the lace trim and the button, and then glued on the silver ornament cap I’d cut from embossing foil.

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The snowflake ornament was made by wrapping red and white washi tape around the ornament (two strips), and then gluing on a snowflake I’d cut from silver embossing foil.  After gluing a rhinestone button to the center of the snowflake I attached the silver ornament cap I’d cut from embossing foil.

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Gift Card Holders
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Materials:
Sizzix Big Shot Machine
Gift Card Holder die – #658189
Extended Crease Pad – #656159
Christmas Tree, Ornament, Snowflake & Stocking die – #A10599
Framelits Phrases – stamps & dies set – #658838
Little Sizzles white mat board – #656492
Printed & plain cardstock
Glue
Black ink pad
Silver trim
Vintage Button
Rhinestone

Run the Gift Card Holder die through the machine with a cutting pad on the bottom, the Extended Crease Pad on the top.  (The crease pad keeps the die from cutting on the lines that are intended to be scored instead of cut)  Fold the two small tabs in, apply glue or double stick tape to them, and then fold in to make the pocket for the card to rest in.  Fold the rest of the gift card holder on the scored fold lines. Embellish as desired.

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Green Gift Card Holder: I embellished this holder with a tree cut from dark green card stock.  I glued a rhinestone atop the tree, wrapped a silver trim/thread around one end, and tied a bow.

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Blue Gift Card Holder: I embellished this card holder with a white mat board snowflake.  I finished by gluing a vintage button on top of the snowflake.

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Floral Gift Card Holder: I embellished this holder with a “Happy Birthday” sentiment (set 658838).  I stamped the sentiment in black ink on watercolor paper, and cut it and the floral border paper out using two sizes of framelits from the set.

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Quick, Easy & Very Versatile
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I think it’s easy to see how versatile the ornament and gift card holder projects are.  By mixing different colors, textures, base materials and embellishments, you can use these dies to create endless variations.  I just scratched the surface when crafting the other day, and look forward to using these dies – in different ways – for years to come.

Have You Entered the Giveaway Yet?
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I’m giving away a Sizzix Big Shot Value Pack, and hope you’ll join in the giveaway fun and enter if you haven’t already.  The winner will be announced a week from today.  Click here to go to the giveaway page!

Happy Crafting!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Giveaway: A Sizzix Big Shot Value Pack!

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I’m super thrilled to share that this giveaway is for a Sizzix Big Shot Value Pack!  Woo hoo!  Not only does the value pack include the versatile and portable Big Shot die cutting and embossing machine, it also includes assortment of dies and embossing folders!  This prize is worth hundreds of dollars, and is the biggest prize I’ve given away yet.  Please join me in thanking Sizzix for donating it!  :]

I’m super excited to be offering this prize – particularly as we near the holidays.  If you don’t have this machine, you’ll LOVE it. And if you already have one, this Big Shot Value Pack would make an incredible gift for your favorite crafter!

The Prize
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One lucky winner will receive a Big Shot Value Pack.  The retail value of this value pack is over $300, and it can currently be purchased for $139.99 on sizzix.com as part of a special sale/promotion!

The Big Shot Value Pack includes the following:

Sizzix Big Shot Machine
Originals Tags Die
Sizzlits Decorative Strip Flowers Die
Movers & Shapers XL Card Die Set
Extended Cutting Pads
Textured Impressions Embossing Folders – 4 Pack, Summer Set
Originals Arrows #2 Die
Sizzlits Transportation Die Set – 3 Pack
Textured Impressions Embossing Folders – 2 pack, Flower Vine & Twizzle Set
Textured Impressions Embossing Folders – 2 pack, Birds & Flowers Set
Embosslits Jeweled Tassel Die
Framelits Message Frames with Stamps Die Set

More on The Big Shot
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As you may know, I was lucky enough to receive this same bundle, and have shared some related posts here on my blog.

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For an overview on the machine, and the variety of materials it can cut, please click here.

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To see a post about the Washi Tape Tags I made using my Big Shot, please click here.

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To see a post about the custom greeting cards I made using my Big Shot, please click here.

Video, Too!
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To see a Sizzix Video about the Big Shot Machine, please click here.

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How to Enter
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One winner will be chosen at random, and they will receive the Big Shot Value Pack described above.

To enter the giveaway:
1. Subscribe to my blog, if you haven’t already
2. Take a peek at my book, An Altered Existence, on amazon.com. :]
3. Leave a comment on this post

You must subscribe to my blog, confirm your subscription, and complete all steps of your entry by Monday, November 18th to be eligible for the giveaway.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Good luck!

Warm regards,
Melody

*The fab folks at Sizzix have donated this Big Shot Value Pack.  I will be paying for shipping.

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Making Greeting Cards with the Big Shot!

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Busy, busy, busy.  Fall is definitely my busy season!  That’s when I hold my art supply drive to benefit at-risk public school kids, sort, organize and shop for supplies, get art supply kits made, and teach – in addition to my usual activities.  Between home life, full-time work, and my art program for kids it’s hard to find time for much else in the fall.  However, thanks to my Sizzix Big Shot and a set of awesome Framelits from Stephanie Barnard, I did find time to whip up some simple greeting cards to share with you.

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I shared a post about the Big Shot last month, and have made some Washi Tape Tags and a Halloween Wreath with it since.  These cards are the latest of my Big Shot creations.  I purchased this set of Square Card Flip-its from Sizzix (which is where I work) after I watched a video of the fabulous Stephanie Barnard demonstrating how to use them.  I love this Square Card design – it’s so easy to customize your cards and change the looks a million different ways by changing the colors, papers, stamps, and embellishments you use.  Fun!

What I Used
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Here are the elements and materials I used to make my cards:

Big Shot machine by Sizzix
Square Flip-its card set (#659175) by Sizzix
Phrases Stamp and Framelits set ((#658838) by Sizzix
Black StazOn ink pad
Acrylic Block to stamp with
Elmer’s Tape Runner

supplies

I always have a stash of  printed papers and plain card stock on hand, so I didn’t have to purchase anything in order to create the 8 cards I made in this one card making session (3 shown in this post).  I simply chose the printed papers I wanted, chose matching card stock, and then got to work.  I made some birthday cards, a best wishes card, some thinking of you cards, and a few thank you cards.  Quick and fun!

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I look forward to the coming months, when I have more time to create art and craft.  I’m sure I’ll be making some more cards soon.  🙂

Warm regards,
Melody

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My New Halloween Wreath

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You know that crocheted doily wreath that I first created last winter, and have then altered for different holidays and seasons since?  Well, it’s been changed up again.  This time the crocheted doily part is minimal – is really just the white base – but I love what’s been added to it.

Rabbits Aren’t Just for Easter Anymore
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As you may know, hubby and I have two pet rabbits.  Our cute little fur kids inspired me to go outside of the usual “Halloween animal” sphere when decking out this wreath.  I used my Big Shot machine and a Tim Holtz Easter Elements die to cut out bunnies and bows in black and orange.  When combined with some rhinestone strands, a black netting bow, and a sparkly button, this wreath has a fun and festive feel.

Have you done any crafting or decorating for Halloween yet?  Do tell!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Washi Tape Giveaway Winner

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I’m pleased to announce the winner of my Washi Tape Giveaway.

Congratulations, Marybeth! You’ve won a roll of Washi Tape from the new Artsyville Washi Tape line.  I hope you enjoy using it!  Please email me your mailing address via my contact page.

Thanks to all those who participated in this month’s giveaway.  :]

Warm regards,
Melody

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Washi Tape Giveaway

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I recently ordered a roll of Washi Tape from Aimee at Artsyville – it was the first design from her new Washi Tape line.  Rather than just order a single roll, I purchased two, so I could give one roll away here on my blog.  I know it’s an itsy-bitsy giveaway, but hey – who doesn’t like free stuff?  :]

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In order to enter, simply leave a comment on this post sharing one way you might use your tape if you’re the lucky winner.  The winner will be announced a week from today, on Tuesday, September 24th.  Good luck!

Warm regards,
Melody

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