Monday, December 30, 2013

Crafty Bargain Hunter


     If you are like me, nothing says Christmas like the after Christmas sales.  I'm not talking about electronics or handbags, but craft supplies and holiday cards.
     Today's outing took me to some of the large and small craft stores in my neighborhood.  With coupons and Christmas crafting items up to 80% off (wahoo), I have stocked up on some great last minute gift supplies and started compiling my stash for next year - I know it is a sickness but who cares?  More on how to use holiday cards later, but here are a couple of quick and easy ideas that cost next to nothing to do.


  I love having some cute coasters made as last minute house party gifts or home decor.  I use these year round, but with the Christmas bargains and some other supplies you can create fast, easy and inexpensive gifts.  For the coasters you will need:

  • Rub On Transfers.  There was still a large collection of holiday transfers available and with dramatically reduced prices, each package (which can create 4 coasters) was about $1.20.
  • Mod Podge
  • Felt backing (I have a big supply of the round felt pieces I got at a home supply store.  Package of about 50 pieces was only $2.99)
  • Tile Coasters - I also got these at a  home supply store.  They are slightly irregular so you may not want to put them up as a kitchen backsplash, but for crafting they are perfect.  Box of 10 about $2.00.
  • Cut out transfer image, peel off backing and rub onto tile.  That is it!
  • Cover with Mod Podge and when dry add the felt backing.  These coasters are great with both warm and cold beverages and how cute!   Wrap them up in a big ribbon and they make a great housewarming present.  

   There are so many great transfers available, you can whip this up before you head out to that New Years Eve party tomorrow.

   I have some pretty diverse styles when I decorate and in parts of my house I am all shabby chic and pastel and then sometimes a girl just has to glam it up.  I like these modern trees and trust me they are so simple to make.

     You will need:

  • Styrofoam cone shapes.  With the markdowns I was able to snag these for $1.00 each.
  • Bottles of glitter - depending on what color you want to use.  The holiday colors were marked down so I scored three bottles for about $2.00 each.
  • Spray on adhesive
  • Foil roasting pan - I don't cook but love these for crafting. You will need one for each color glitter.  
  • Wire - comes in various colors and gauges, I like the thicker gauge for this project.

  • Place the trees in the roasting pan and cover one tree at a time with spray adhesive.
  • Dump the glitter into the pan and roll the tree around until covered.  Let dry.  HINT:  The glitter you don't use can be put back in the jar for future projects.
  • Wrap the wire as desired - no pattern, free form seems to work better.  And you are done!

Sunday, December 22, 2013



     I am always that annoying person gathering up paint swatch cards, Pantone chips and sample bottles of wall paint.  Since I was a kid, I have this need to continually switch up the wall colors in my house, add different artwork which can get kind of expensive.

     I have come up with some easy ways to create simple artwork out of washi tape, fabric scraps and antique scarves.  Here are some ideas.  Show me what you come up with.


     The supplies you need are inexpensive and easy to find:

  • Blank canvas; foamboard; styrofoam shapes;old frames
  • Washi tape; fabric scraps; paper; old clothes.  Any items that you want to use works well
  • Scissors; fabric glue; T pins; 
  • Mounting tape (this works great for these lightweight items and anything that doesn't require a hammer and nails I'm happy with).

     I inherited a lot of scarves from my Grandmother.  In every photo and in many memories I remember these little squares of fabric.  These are not items I want to cut up or manipulate and I found that just putting them in frames gave them the respect these memories deserve.


     After all my wrapping was done, I found I had a lot of washi tape left over.  I simply took some of my favorites and wrapped around a lightweight piece of styrofoam.  I like using an odd number of colors/images.  Randomly tape around and you can use with T pins to hang your holiday cards on, or cover with a coat of Mod Podge for extra durability and place on your table.  


    A good friend of mine had been saving a lot of her father's old shirts; pants; ties to make a baby quilt for her little boy.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy hit us pretty hard and she lost almost everything.  She had very few scraps to work with.  We came up with the idea to use these little bits wrapped on small canvas and put on little easel stands.  Her baby's bedroom was a nautical theme, so the blues worked out well.  Although it was not the quilt she had imagined, just this little display keeps her intention alive of having some of Dad's clothing around for her son.


     Couple of projects I have been working on is to create easy and inexpensive art for friends.  Using foamboard, canvas and/or styrofoam I go through my fabric stash and have been able to do some fun artwork for them.  The first example is actually for my studio.  I wanted a Bonnie Cashin/fashion illustration/Parisian feel to the work.  When you decide the background piece you are using, lay your fabric out, place the canvas as top to insure you capture the image you want and cut out, leaving an inch around for wrapping the canvas.  For this illustration I used a dark pen, but use a pencil or disappearing marker for best results. Then wrap around the foamboard, adhering with some glue.

     For my friend's newborn twins, a boy and a girl, I was excited to find this Debbie Mumm fabric.  Same Noah's Ark theme, but in two different colorways.  HINT:  If you are deciding to use canvas as your backing, many of them come individually wrapped in plastic.  Keep the plastic on.  If you change this art later, it is easier to remove and you have preserved the integrity of the canvas.

     You can also layer fabrics - this is for a little girl who was growing out her baby room and my friend wanted modern, but still girly art.  This fabric came with a natural frame around it, so I thought it was a great one to use, backed by a complementary fabric on canvas.

     So if you are addicted to changing up your home decor like I am, these easy and inexpensive projects will soothe your guilty conscience next time you are switching things up.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Hang Ups


     I am always looking for interesting ways to display my holiday cards.  I found this idea on Martha Stewart's website last year and I have seen various versions of it on Pinterest.
     Very easy and affordable - supplies cost less than $10 @ Michaels - and this time of year, trust  me, I am watching everything I am spending!


     All you need for this project will be:
-    a 14" embroidery  hoop
-    craft size clothespins
-    jar of snow paint
-    red bow
-    wooden Noel (or your choice) premade wood sign

1.  Glue the clothespins around the embroidery hoop.  Alternate with the "pinchy" part facing up and down.
2.  Add dabs of snow paint as desired.
3.  Add bow and wooden ornament

And just like that you have a card wreath.  Check out my HOMEMADE HOLIDAY board on Pinterest for more easy and cool Holiday ideas:


Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Holiday Confession


     Friends and family....I have a Holiday Confession to make.  For years I have been cutting up your holiday photo cards.
     Now before you start judging me, take a look.  With the advent of easy to use photo editing software and companies like Shutterfly and Vistaprint to name a few, your cards are becoming more beautiful each year.  And I love seeing how families grow, what trips and adventures the previous year has held for you.  But I was finding that they would just end up in a pile and I could not give your time and effort the respect they deserve.
     For the past few seasons, I have been taking scissors to your masterpieces.  I create one big collage with all of them and keep the final result out on display for my family and other friends to admire.  At the end of the season, I carefully pack them away with my other treasured ornaments and decorations.  When I start my planning for the next year, I take it out again and admire the cards and love to compare against the new ones I receive.
     So instead of being an unappreciative friend, I am probably keeping your cards longer than anyone else.


     Check out how quick and easy it is to create your own collage with your families' and friends' loved ones.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday DIY Made Simple Part 4


     Now that they have such cute insulated lunch bags available, I realized I had an overabundance of the old school brown lunch bags.

     With just some stickers and tape you can create customized gift bags for the holiday season with just a little time and for little money.  They are a wonderful blank canvas in some many ways.


     Follow these easy step by step instructions and you will love how easy these bags are to do!  Happy Crafting!