Red Bird in the Moonlight

Cardinal

 

This hardy Cardinal’s brilliant red feathers are illuminated against the backdrop of a full Winter’s Moon.  The blustery wind out of the North Pole has kicked up the snow flurries into a swirling vortex, adding a chill to the air.   No need to worry though, this red-bird has a tight grip on the tree branch and an abundance of berries to snack on throughout the night.

This is the third painting that I have completed since starting back in early November.  This time, I found a picture on line and did what I could to re-create it without instruction.  Initially the canvas was supposed to be for a Bob Ross landscape, but it wasn’t working for me so I took a color and covered the canvas with a dark background to blot out my first attempt.  Because I don’t want this to be too expensive of a hobby considering I’m just starting out, I wanted to be able to re-use it.

When my mom said she liked it (mothers always do), but then hung it up on the wall, I knew it had to be half decent.   This painting served a dual purpose and I also made it into my Christmas Card design.  I took a picture of the painting and then put it decoratively on a card.  

Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs

A few years back I used a natural way of dying my Easter Eggs with things such as leaves and juices with varying results. (you can review that by clicking the hyperlinks). This year I went a whole new direction after I saw a video on the Internet on how to dye eggs with silk ties. (I’d post the video but I don’t know how to link it from Facebook. If you can find it outside of that leave the link in the comments).
It worked, but the desired results need a little work. Here’s what you have to do.
Your supplies are: Patterned silk ties that you don’t mind cutting up, string, white cotton fabric.

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First cut the ties into square pieces (mine aren’t exactly square for the first time but I wanted to make sure it would wrap around completely).

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Wrap the silk around the egg with the right side, bright side, pattern side on the inside.  Then generously wrap it up with string.  This will hold the material tightly to the egg.

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Then cut a square of white cotton and wrap that around as well and tie. 

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Take 4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar in a pot. Place the eggs in the water and bring to a boil then simmer for 30 min.

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This is what my eggs looked like when I unwrapped them. The pattern DID transfer. Some not very dark and not always smoother but I was satisfied and would call it a success.

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Happy Easter! !!

4LeafClover1343

Not too much to this craft project, but it was a cute and inexpensive holiday item that I managed to finish in time (i’m known for being a procrastinator and not finishing projects).

This started out as a $3 wooden shamrock.  I had a vision to paint it and then dressed it up with a yellow outline and the edge is white on top and black on the bottom.  I then painted across the front my name: 4LeafClover1343.  I know, I know…. this isn’t a 4 leaf clover, but they are few and far between.  

I’ll find some nice silk ribbon to hang it up on my door.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day !

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Homespun Harvest Quilt

I have been waiting a long time to post this, but I had to because the quilt I made ended up being a gift and I didn’t want to spoil the surprise online.

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At the beginning of January 2015, I decided to put aside my scrapbooking and cards and bring out an old project.  About 10 years ago, I saw this free pattern at Walmart and decided it was something that I wanted to make.  The pattern was a 24″x 24″ wall hanging, but I had designs to make it into a quilt so I bought enough material and first had to iron out 10 years of wrinkles before I could get started.  

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I loved this pattern because of the Autumn feel and all the harvest and rust-like colors.  I had never made a quilt like this before so it was going to be challenging to understand all the directions and geometric shapes. It involved a lot of cutting and measuring that took days in itself.  

Then I started piecing the blocks together, step by step and color by color until I had one square. 

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These first few weren’t too bad, but I really got tripped up when I came up with the left hand picture below and somehow had to turn it into a square.  You can see it ends up being a diamond shape in the center and not a square.  What I had to do was measure so far in on the outside strips and cut them off.  I then capped off what was left with a plaid triangle.  

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I made 9 blocks and you can see once I sewed them together, where they met, they created a whole new diamond pattern.  

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Traditionally, I don’t use cotton batting for the inside.  Seeing as this was such an odd size, I probably should have.  What I do is find a blanket to put inside, but because of this size I went with some plain (blaze orange) fleece cut from a bolt.  However, even the standard with of that was not enough so I had to piece it together and then trim the edges once I laid them on top of each other.  

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For the back I used an Autumn leaf print and folded it over to create an outline.  I can’t find the photo of the finished quilt, but here you an see how the edges come together. 

It was quite a huge undertaking for me and my quilting skill level.  Halfway though the project, I decided that when I finished it I was going to give it away as a gift.  The plaid patterns and Autumn colors and leaves reminded me of my dear friend Andrei and thought he might enjoy it as a Christmas gift.  He certainly did.  I hope it keeps him warm in the chilly months, and thinks of me as he wraps up in it. The one obstacle is that he lives near Moscow so I had to try and find the right way to package it up so it wouldn’t be so big of a box, as the post office loves to charge you for shape, weight and distance for international packages.  I used a vacuum space bag to flatten it as much as I could and then a slim type box.  Slightly more than a month later it arrived…. thus the posting of this blog now.  I don’t regret giving it away after all that work.  It just means now I can move on to my next project.

 

 

Memorial Day Greeting Card

Originally called Decoration Day, today’s Memorial Day we need to take a moment to honor the American heroes who died in service of our country while battling the enemy in order to preserve our freedom.  I chose to honor and remember by creating this.  

From time to time, I enjoy making greeting cards from rubber stamps and scrapbook paper.  I created this patriotic card last year.  It doesn’t have a specific Memorial Day theme, but could be used as a sympathy card for someone who lost a loved one in the military, or it could be used on Veteran’s Day (I chose to stamp Thank You on the inside).

 

I chose a black card base because it really accented the colors of this card well.

The red and white stripes are actually on one sheet of scrapbook paper that I cut down to size.

I took a navy blue piece of card stock and embossed it with stars and then brushed over the stars with white ink and applied 5 gold brads.

The dog tags are made of grey paper, punched with a rounded edge rectangle punch. At the hardware store I bought some chain and snipped it down to size.  (This makes the card very puffy and hard to send through the mail with regular postage, I would recommend a puffy envelope) I took a grey marker and edged the shape and finally used a sentiment stamp inside that says In everything give Thanks -1 Thess. 5:18.  Another idea would be to hand write a persons name or put dates on the dog tags.  

The remembrance ribbon is a thin red white and blue band that I twisted and glued in the center.  The “Brave and Strong Hero” sentiment was stamped in black on a gold sheet of paper and circle punched.  It is popped-dotted in the center of the ribbon. 

The heartfelt banner at the bottom was stamped on tan paper and distressed with a brown ink around the edges.  It is also popped-dotted for dimension. 

Custom made T-shirt Design Using Bleach

I found this idea on Pinterest and thought it was something that I could re-create.  It’s a T-shirt where a picture was created by using bleach around a pattern.  I pinned it on my craft board, but this shirt was actually for sale on Etsy so I had to guess on the instructions.  I felt it had a more definite result than tye-dyeing.

 

Supplies

  • T-Shirt
  • Bleach
  • A spray bottle
  • Stencil design
  • Plastic to protect the surface you are working on
  • Gloves to protect your hands
  • Goggles to protect your eyes
  • A washing machine to finish your design

 

The design I wanted to use was the old Amtrak logo because they have since changed it to a new design and it is hard to find the vintage look.

I went on the computer and enlarged the logo to the chest size of my T-shirt and then went ahead and cut it out, using an exacto knife. I then placed it on the front of my shirt and taped it down. 

I wanted to make sure that the shirt was completely flat.  I used a large piece of cardboard to insert inside the shirt, and I also covered it with a plastic bag so that the bleach wouldn’t soak through to the back side. 

Next I wanted to make sure that I didn’t spray any bleach on parts of the shirt that didn’t require it so I taped another bag around my design to cover the other parts of the shirt.

Next I got the bleach treatment ready by pouring a bit of liquid bleach into a spray bottle.  I also bought a bleach pen to make sure I got clear lines. 

I took the shirt outside to the back yard and did my spraying on the pavement. I saturated the T-shirt and the stencil.  And let it dry outside in the sun.  Next I put it in the washing machine and dryer to set it.

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Looking back at the design I saw online, I can see where I went wrong by reversing the negative and positive spaces on the shirt with my design.  If I try again in the future I’ll know to do it the opposite way. Where they used an outline and sprayed the bleach around it, I sprayed the bleach into my outline.  That’s where it came out looking like a sweat stain.  But at least I got the logo nice and straight with the help of the bleach pen.  I failed on this project and ended up using the shirt to wash my truck with. 

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Keepsake Crimes

Keepsake Crimes by Laura Childs

I heard about this book on Facebook from a group made for people who want to buy and sell scrapbooking and rubber stamp supplies.  One lady happened to be selling her collection of Scrapbook Mystery books by this author.

I didn’t purchase them but went to library to check out #1 in the series.  

It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting and the book would only rate 2 stars from me.  I don’t read a lot of mystery books, but I at least expected that I might be able to gather some clues from the text that might help me figure out who done it.  This book did not do that.  Toward the end the murderer was revealed and the book wrapped up quickly like a TV show that had run short on time. 

In the book, the main character is named Carmela and she owns a scrapbook store in New Orleans near the hot Mardi Gras happenings. Carmela has regular customers coming in to her shop for classes and tips on scrap booking.  That’s where the craft theme part of the book comes in.  She has an eccentric neighbor who owns a Gothic style/voodoo shop near by.  

Carmela is recently estranged from her wealthy husband, Shamus, who has run off to try and find himself away from the world of banking and the grip of his family.  He is the one who is the murder suspect.  An acquaintance of his had died suddenly on a Mardi Gas parade float that he was riding on.  The last person he was seen arguing with was Shamus.  Since he has run off, every one approaches Carmela for answers so she begins some of her own investigating wile being watched by others herself.

The author goes into detail about Mardi Gras and New Orleans, the French Quarter area and the bayou.  In my opinion it seemed all a little flat.  I’m not really interested in that.  I would have been more engaged if she described a new place, not an existing setting.  One thing I learned in my college creative writing class was that simply by giving characters interesting and off-the-wall names does not make them interesting.  In fact it’s sometimes a put off.  I may be wrong because I have never been to New Orleans, but I don’t think that everyone there has that many unique names.  

Despite this review full of complaints, I would most likely give book #2 a try in the future.   Perhaps the author was just getting into the genre and the next installment might be better.  I read the synopsis and it looks like it contains the same characters in the same setting so at least I’ll know in advance what to expect there.