Just so you know that I haven't completely vanished, here's a video from Joann where you can see one of my projects! Mine is the picture frame in the bottom right corner of the assortment of pictures on the wall - the pink/black/white "friends" picture frame. Most of the projects that I make these days are top secret, so I can't show them to you until after they're "published".
Did you know that Silhouette America is having a Letter to Santa Contest? The grand prize is fabulous, and includes a Silhouette Cameo! Here's my letter:
And for those of you in Utah, you may be interested to know that the annual American Crafts Warehouse sale is going on right now. They are in a different location this year which isn't quite as convenient for me as the American Fork location last year, but that may be a good thing....
Disregard the Provo location though - for some reason they weren't able to secure the lease there. So you can find them in West Jordan - and find them you should. They have some FANTASTIC sales.
And for good measure, there is also a DCWV sale going on right now at the Holiday Gift Show at University Mall in the old Nordstrom location, in Orem, UT. You can find out more information about this sale here.
I am involved with a ladies' organization at my church and I am in charge of our monthly meetings. The theme for last night's meeting was "A Meaningful Christmas". It's so easy for this time of year to be stressful and hectic, instead of time of joy and hope. I wanted to create an atmosphere that was warm and cozy, and I invited people to share ideas for activities and traditions that would help them have a Christ-centered, low-stress Christmas. At the front of the room I set up a rocking chair, a lamp, and my pretend fireplace/heater. I had LED pillar candles and lights all over the room, and I brought my Wallflowers (plug-ins) that were Christmasy scented. This would mean so much more if I had taken a picture! Christmas music was playing softly in the background as people arrived, and we had a table full of everyone's favorite Christmas treats and recipes to share.
By the glow of the (fake) fire, we started the evening with an inspirational story which was a heart warming reminder of the joy of giving - there wasn't a dry eye in the place! The rest of the evening was full of wonderful traditions and activities that we can share with our families. It was a good night, and I came away with some new ideas for inexpensive, meaningful Christmas gifts for my family.
I didn't take a picture of my set-up at the church, but I do have a picture of the wreath that was part of the decorations.
I've been wanting to make this wreath for a while now, but I had a little extra incentive a couple of weeks ago when DCWV put out a call for Utah-based designers. I live about half an hour from their corporate offices, so I thought why not? This was one of the projects that I submitted. The base is a foam wreath that I picked up at Joann, and the rest is paper from DCWV: from the Recollections Warm Wishes stack, and the DCWV Holiday Collection stack. Oh, and two cuts with my Silhouette: the gingerbread man, and the bow. The rest of the wreath is made of paper accordion flowers, or pinwheels, or whatever you want to call them.
I really need to work on this blogging once a month thing! With the upcoming Christmas season you will most likely be seeing more and more of me. This is going to be a very handmade Christmas - at least, it will be if I get everything done that I have planned. I guess that's the catch, isn't it? I've always had great intentions to get started with my handmade gifts a few months before Christmas, but it never happens. This year I finally figured out why. It's all the canning and preserving I do! From about the middle of July until the end of October there is always something I am either bottling, juicing, drying, making salsa out of, or turning into jam. I guess that's not so bad, especially since I use a lot of the jams and salsas as gifts. Now that I am done with the preserving, it's on to crafting, sewing, and soap and lotion making. I'll be posting pics of these various projects soon.
So, what do I mean by hybrid crafts do you wonder? I have been crafting for about 20 years now, and with living in Utah I am pretty well acquainted with most forms of craftiness. And I have been doing this long enough to see different handicrafts fall in and out of fashion. Toll painting was HUGE 20 years ago around here. But then it kind of disappeared. Have you noticed though, that wood crafts have made a resurgence in popularity? This has been going on for a few years now - I'm actually a little late to this party. What is new and different about it, compared to the toll painting of 20 years ago, is a lot of these projects have combined the absolutely beautiful paper that is available on the market today with the wood. There are a few businesses that have popped up that have absolutely adorable wood & paper projects. Here are the two that I know of:
I painted the sides of the wood blocks brown, and then traced the letters onto various fun papers, which were then distressed, and then mod-podged onto the wood. The papers were primarily from the Apple Cider line from American Crafts, and some are DCWV. Then I finished it all off with a finishing spray, and some raffia and buttons. Funny side note: I think the raffia that I have is older than my children! Do you remember when for a while raffia was everywhere? I bought a package of it about 15 years ago, probably the last time I was toll painting. Low and behold, I was able find it and dig it out of my bin o' odds and ends.
So there you have it - my first successful creation made from wood and paper. And I got it done just in time to have to start getting the Christmas decorations out... ;-)
This week I did something a little crazy. Even though I have about 3 bushels of apples in my house right now, and tomatoes to be made into salsa, I decided to craft!
I love Pinterest, and I have been seeing so many fun projects that are a combination of candlesticks and mason jars to make cute containers, or candle sticks and platters to make cake stands that I decided it was time to do a little experimenting. I saw someone once use glass candle holders to make the cutest pumpkins. She used vinyl for the face, and then filled the containers with orange marbles. So cute! Well, what can I say? I like food a lot more than I like marbles, so I decided to try a variation of that with cute Halloween candy. And then I thought, why not put the glass bowls on top of some fun candlesticks? Here's what I came up with:
What do you think? I'm really happy with how these turned out. Of coarse, my little pumpkin would look better if I had been able to find the candy corn M & M's like I wanted, but that's another story. All of the supplies were purchased at Hobby Lobby. To make them you will need:
Large glass bowl (from the floral department)
Small glass bowl (this one was in the candle department)
Large glass candlestick
Small glass candlestick
Lid - also from the candle department (normally used as a base for a pillar candle). It's not a really secure fit, but it works
Black tulle ribbon
Super incredibly strong glue that is intended for gluing glass. There are a number of adhesives that would probably do the job. I picked one called Omni-Stick because it dries clear and becomes dishwasher safe.
Black vinyl cut into jack-o-lantern shapes. I used some Snapdragon Snippets designs from the Silhouette online store
And here's where they are on display in my kitchen.
And here's what is below:
I have about 3 bushels of apples in my kitchen right now (this is not all of them). So far I have made 32 quarts of applesauce, 7 quarts of apple pie filling, and dried a lot of apples too. Today I thought I would experiment with my juicer:
So we'll see how that turns out. The rest of the apples are going to be turned into cider. A friend in our neighborhood has a cider press and has been kind enough to let us use it. I'll take pictures and post later on that. Oh, and all of this is coming from two apple trees. Ya, just two. It's been a good year for apples.
It has been a long, HOT summer! I'm sorry that I have been M.I.A., but as much as I love creating I love my family more. On that note, for those of you who are fans of My Pink Stamper, she made a very important announcement recently. I can relate all too well to her feelings and applaud her for her decision.
Where does that leave me? It's very liberating actually. I truly loved being a Pink Designer, but I tend to have tunnel vision when I'm working with a particular company. If a product doesn't work or can't be used with the products I'm demonstrating, I disregard them. I was a demonstrator for a stamp company for about 7 years and I had the same experience. So now it's like I get a fresh start! And I enjoy so much more than papercrafting!
I have been doing a little:
followed by a little:
So far I have bottle peaches, made peach jam, dried peaches, lots of peach cobbler, and today I think I may make some peach salsa! I do a lot of canning.
I've also been doing:
My tomato plants are usually prettier than this. It's been HOT and dry this summer.
followed by a little:
OK - the picture was of tomatoes, and this is tomatillo salsa, but you get the idea. The tomatoes aren't ready yet!
And there has been a lot of this:
I didn't know it was possible to produce this much laundry! During the summer you wear less clothes, right? Who know that all that swimming could produce so much laundry?
Soon I will be doing a lot of:
Concord grape juice or jelly anyone?
After that, it won't be long before we'll be enjoying:
Can you see my "Casper" pumpkin hiding in there? We have the most amazing pumpkin patch ever. Apparently it's a good idea to plant your pumpkins where the compost used to be. The Great Pumpkin is definitely coming to our house this year! ;-)
Last but not least, now that school has started, I hope to soon be doing more of:
I think it's really important to have a creative outlet. I love to work with my hands and there are so many crafty/homey things that I enjoy that I could probably putter around all day from one thing to the other. But I have 3 children, the youngest of whom is 5, and they are my top priority. That said, I also think it's extremely important that we, as women, spend time doing things we love - preferably while spending time with other women. We need each other! Honestly, I'm really bad at that part. I love being with my friends, but it's far to easy to get so busy with life and the family's needs that you completely forget your own. My goal over the next few months is to reestablish my priorities, find peace and joy in my family and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and invest some time in making a better me.
If life is art, then the art of my life would be filled with my family, faith, good food, and beautiful music. I believe that everyone needs to have a creative outlet, and my medium of choice is paper!