Friday, April 19, 2013

Vintage Needlework

While living in Virginia for the past 5 years, I grew to love the thrill of treasure hunting in thrift stores.  I never went into a store with the notion of finding anything in particular and, because of that, found many things that are what I consider treasures.  One of things I would find would be orphaned needlework, as I came to call it.  It made me sad to think that someone had labored over an embroidered or cross-stitched piece and then it ended up sitting on the shelf of a second hand store.  One clerk named me the lady who rescued forgotten needlework.  I have quite a collection and that doesn't include those that I have made.  So where to put it....

This wall, or rather section of the wall, in the guest room was looking rather bare.  Looked like the perfect place to me.  And it looks like they need a bit of straightening!  I think that this room may become the "retro" room, decorated in those lovely 1970's colors.  I was wondering where I was going to put the afghan I was crocheting....

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Trip to the Farmers' Market

Last weekend I was able to get together with a friend of mine and wander around the local farmers' market and flower sale.  It was the first time in a long time that we had been able to get together and it was great seeing each other, catching up, being outside on such a beautiful day, and enjoying (and buying!) lovely plants.  Here are a few pictures from our day.

My husband starts most of our plants from seeds in February so I purchased some herb plants.  My little herb garden is slowly growing.

I hope to take this corner of the yard and make it into a little herb garden complete with bench and gazing ball (I've wanted a blue one since I was a kid!).  Can you see where the squirrels have dug in the pot with my rosemary? 

Happy Crafting...and Gardening!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Summer Mobile

I love being outdoors.  While working full time for the past 10 years I would catch myself gazing out my office window, especially late in the afternoon when that "down" time happens.  I had a garden outside of my window and loved to watch the bees and butterflies flit around in the Russian Sage planted there.  Since I couldn't be out there, I tried to decorate my office with a bit of the outdoors.  I also figured that since I spent more than half of my waking hours there, it should not only be comfortable, but also reflect my personality.  I fortunately worked in an office that allowed me to do so. 

Every season I would change up the wreath I had on my door or the silk flowers I had in a vase on my bookcase or, and this was always my favorite, what I had hung from the ceiling tiles.  Now, I didn't cause any damage to the tiles!  (Just a hint:  if your office has the large ceiling tiles you can insert the spiral binding from a report that has been pulled apart just under the lip of the support cross pieces and use it to hang light objects.  A paper clip will also work.)  This is one of those hanging decorations.  I had it hanging in my office near the air conditioner vent and it would gently sway whenever the air kicked in.  I want to hang this in my house, but will have to put a screw-in cup hook in the ceiling so I need to decide where I want it to hang.   

 Sorry I don't have pictures, yet again, of this project in the works, but it is very simple.  I came up with it while wandering around a craft store...that simple!  It took a small (10-inch) straw wreath, coordinating ribbon (3 yards for wrapping the wreath and making a hanger and another 3 for the streamers), silk flowers, and clip-on butterflies or flowers.  The silk flowers I found were already together in a bouquet (I bought 2 - one for the wreath and one for the vase).  I lucked out and found everything in matching colors in one aisle and added some ribbon that I had on hand.  With all of the beautiful summery items out there in stores, I'm sure that it will be easy to coordinate for your project.

I started with a straw wreath and wrapped it with gold thread.  Not sure why I did this.  I think it was because the wreath was falling apart a bit after I removed the plastic wrapper and thought this would hold the loose pieces in better.  Next I wrapped one of the ribbons around the wreath, securing it with straight pins.  I removed the flowers from the stems and arranged them around the wreath, gluing them in place.  I was working on this right-side up!

Next I cut the streamer ribbons about 1 yard each and pinned them in place using a straight pin.  I added a bit of glue to both the ribbon and the end of the pin to ensure that it would hold in place when hung.  The ribbons should be spaced evenly around the wreath in order to make the mobile hang properly.  Holding the wreath with the flowers down, I brought the ribbons up and over the flowers and attached them to the interior of the wreath. 

I clipped the butterflies to the ribbons, alternating colors and the edge of the ribbon  that I clipped them to.  I had three smaller butterflies and clipped these at the top, near the wreath.  I used 12 butterflies in all, 4 for each ribbon.  It gave the mobile a nice balance and length.  Next I attached ribbons to hang the mobile from.  You can see in the picture above that I started again on the inside of the wreath and brought the ribbons to the exterior through the flowers.  These were also secured with glue and a pin.  Holding the three ribbons together I tied a knot, trying to make sure the mobile hung straight.  (Doesn't look very straight hanging from a tree though!)

The picture above shows the butterflies clipped to the streamer ribbons and how the ribbons for the streamers and for hanging are attached. 

Hope you enjoyed this!

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Favorite Things

This has been "one of those days".  Phone calls to make appointments and check on insurance, nearly getting in a crash because someone ran a stop sign at the mall.  Ugh!  So I love coming home to my little sanctuary.  And one of the things I especially love is having my house decorated with things that have been handed down to me.  It reminds me of my relatives and keeps their memories alive for me.  One of those things is a sewing basket.

I have been sewing since I was a little girl, learning originally in 4-H, then through home ec in junior high, some from a great aunt of mine, and always getting help from Mom.  My first sewing basket belonged to my great-grandmother on my father's side.  I don't recall how I came to have it but I think it was given to me by my great aunt.  I used it for many years, but it didn't travel well to 4-H meetings as you can tell by the safety pin in the latch!  It dropped open on me a number of times.  Now this basket sits in my living room next to a quilt top I bought that dates back to just after the Civil War.  I'll share that another time.  Just a bit of nostalgia.....

(The flowers in the picture are from one of the azalea bushes in our yard.  My son picked them for me.  Spring in the South is beautiful.)

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tea Tray

I've been in a creative void for the past few weeks so I've been walking around the house trying to find completed projects to share with you.  I don't have pictures through all of the construction steps, but most of the projects I am going to share with you are pretty easy.

The first one I want to share is a Tea Tray.  I am a big hot tea drinker and, of course, I save everything.  Including the little tabs from the tea bags.  I do pull them off before I steep the tea!  I knew that I wanted to use these on a tray and happened to come across an unfinished tray at a thrift store.  It isn't the sturdiest of trays, but I only use it for light items.

First I painted the tray white using acrylic craft paint.  Had it on hand so it was what I used!  It took several coats to properly cover.  After it dried completely I played around with the tea tags, lining them up in different ways on the tray.  I finally just decided on the rows as I'm not much of a collage person.  I glued them in place using plain old white glue.  Next I added several coats of clear poly-acrylic sealant.  I brushed this on, but spraying would have worked also.  I love the results!  And this tray gets a lot of use.

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Another 70's Style Craft

I was going through yet another one of my old magazines and found an ad for a candle holder that my Mom made back in the late 70's.

And guess what? Me, being the pack rat that I am, had the seven ash trays needed to make this candle holder. And I think my Mom bought them for me before I was married. Yikes. Just check out that lovely gold color - very 70's. Enough said on that! Can you even buy ashtrays like this anymore?

Using E6000 glue, glue the bases of two ashtrays together. I used a popsicle stick to thinly spread the glue. This is strong stuff, so try not to get it on your fingers. Also, I put glue on each of the pieces that I was putting together to help them bond. I worked on a piece of wax paper, as you can see in some of the pictures.

I let this cure overnight. E6000 has a strong smell to it, but I had tried to put this together using super glue and it just didn't hold. The next day I glued another ashtray on, such that the right sides were together, putting glue on the edges of the top of each. The ashtrays don't fit perfectly, but using a strong glue helps. I forgot to take a picture of this step, but you will see how it is assembled in the final picture. You will have a tower, so to speak, such that the base is upside down, the next is right side up and the final is upside down.

The next step is to use the last four ashtrays to form a box. I originally tried gluing one ashtray at a time to the base but there was no way to hold them in place while the glue cured. So, I glued the sides of the ashtrays together first, right sides out, creating a box. I held this in place with a couple of big elastics. You could also just tie a string around this, but will need someone to hold the ashtrays in place while this is done. Again, they don't fit together perfectly. I allowed this to cure for a couple of days.

Finally, I glued the box to the base. Since the box was cured it was very sturdy and I was able to just sit it down on top of the tower on the top ashtray that is upside down.

In this picture you can see that the sides don't meet perfectly, but it is very sturdy.

BTW, I believe that my Mom still uses hers and it is over 30 years old! One word of caution. You need to use a votive holder inside the box. Otherwise you will be cleaning up melted wax. I did not have a votive holder small enough to fit inside so I used a tea light. I love the glow that it gives off and these retro colors are starting to grow on me...

I am so happy to have finally finished this after how many years?? As I said, I don't know if these ashtrays are available any longer. If they aren't I'm sure that one of you will have a great idea on how to improvise! Please share if you do.

Happy Crafting!