Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Village

I love little village sets.  I have had these for quite some time and always love when it is that time of year to set up some of my villages.  I try to keep the display simple.  For instance, by using books to make some homes up on "hills" makes for a sophisticated but clean look.  I also like to add little surprises in my village.  As you can see there are little ceramic pumpkins that are not in scale, but fit in nicely.  I feel sometimes less is more and the "unexpected" can really make a difference.

Halloween Entry-Way Display

This is a picture of my entry way that I decorated for Halloween.  It is simple, yet festive.  I can't wait to put out my Pilgrim's in a few weeks!!  I love how I can leave most of the fall leaves and flowers for several months and mix them with Thanksgiving decor.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Altered Halloween Matchboxes hung on Wicked Tree

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Last year I saw some altered matchboxes and decided to make my own in a Halloween Theme. I came up with a fun idea to put some fibers to the top and hang them from my wicked tree. I made several this year all which are different and unique from one another. I love how they open up to reveal a fun saying, memory, or surprise.
I also embellished the tree with silk leaves, by punching a hole in them and hanging them directly onto the tree. I used stayson ink and stamped them with halloween themed stamps.
My Wicked Tree

This is my favorite matchbox. It is a picture of my great great grandmother which used G45 paper, added a hat, used bat stamps, spider stamps and flourish stamps. I stamped the Oct. 31 too...don't forget to decorate the back of your box too!! The spider is stamped with orange acrylic paint and the aura around my great great gma is also done with paint.

This is a picture of me at 5 dressed as a witch. I added the words "trick or treat" and when you open the box it reads, "smell my feet".

This is a picture of my sister's and I when we were little. Tip: if you have a 3X5 photo then reduce size to 40% to fit perfectly on the matchbox.

I used Tim Holtz new antiqued glitter glue on this matchbox.

My daugher made this one and has it hanging with wire rather than fibers. She finished it off with a little knob from the Tim Holtz line.

This is a picture of my daugher when she was a baby and dressed like a busy bee.

This is my Jacob, dressed as a "lil' pumpkin"!

This is my oldest, Jordan, dressed as Darth Maul. Dad painted his face that year--yikes!!

This is my son Michael dressed as a Lazy cute!

Antiqued glitter by Tim Holtz was used here...

And there you have it....Hope you enjoyed my Halloween Matchboxes!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This is a paper mache pumpkin that I altered and painted using acrylic paints. I used some of my favorite fall stamps dipping them lightly in paint rather than ink pads to embellish and add texture to the pumpkin.

Using a hot glue gun I secured some antique buttons, lace, ribbon and a tassel around the stem.

Walla...finished altered pumpkin...I made this last year and it is still one of my favorites. It is a very simple and quick project. I think it would be fun to add some jewels too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Beaded Peacock Fall/Winter Jewelry Line

My Sister, Gwendalynn, has an amazing eye for design. She has created a absolutely stunning Fall and Winter line for her Beaded Peacock Store. I will have the honor of hosting a show for her here in the Seattle area in the next month.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Soldered Necklaces - Tutorial

I used to teach classes at Paper Chic Boutique on how to make soldered necklaces. The technique is difficult to get down, however, with these simple tips and tricks I have come up with you can be a pro in no time.
Step 1: You will need a kit. My kit cost around $150, and I keep it in a plastic tackle box so my items are all together. You will need glass, copper tape (self adhesive), a clamping system of your choice, flux, boning tool, eye protection, face mask, plastic gloves, Q tips or small paint brush, 100% silver solder, dremel motor tool, large piece of glass, power strip, and a soldering tool that heats up to 650 degrees.
It is best to solder outside or where it is well ventilated. The fumes from the flux can be dangerous and you do not want to make skin contact at all with the flux. Please do not solder or have hot tools around small children. I tape my power strip up to the table so there is no chance of an accidental tripping on the cord.
The large glass goes down on your working surface first. The hot solder will not stick to it and if it drips you can reuse it. The hot soldering gun will also not burn through the glass. This is why it is not only safe but important to use glass as your working mat.

Remember that your piece will heat up to 650 degrees, so use your clamps, not your fingers.

Step 2: You want to take your cut glass and surround it with copper tape. Use the boning tool to remove any air bubbles and make sure the tape is nice and secure to the glass. Cut a small piece of copper tape and use it to adhere the jump ring to the top of your piece. This trick makes it much easier than building a prong out of hot solder.
Take your q-tip or paint brush and flux your entire piece. Use your gloves as not to get the flux on your skin.

Step 3: Tin your piece. This means take the solder and simply go around the entire piece with a very thin coat, covering all copper wrap.

Step 4: The build up. So your piece is tinned and you are ready to build up the solder. It is very hard to get a nice clean line unless you are pretty advanced. My trick here is about 1/3 from the edge place a large dot of solder (as shown) and let it harden. Then take the tip of your iron and spread this dot down the long end first and then directly back up and over to the opposite end. Twirl off end. Looks great, huh??!! Repeat with all sides.

When you get to the top of the piece start the dot on either side of the jump ring and only move to one end.

HUGE TIP: The more you mess with your piece the worse it will look. Remember you can buff it with the dremel machine. Try not to wipe it off and start over. Not only will the piece get too hot and potentially crack, but you may burn through the copper tape. Do not leave your iron in one spot on your piece. Simply spread across each side like you were frosting a cake.

Walla, all done and ready for buffing with my dremel tool. I use the stone buffer. Press down with steady but even pressure and go around each side until nice and shined.

These necklaces were made by me for several young ladies in my church to give as birthday gifts throughout the year. I get to make 30 of them so thought I would share my tips and techniques with the public for your benefit as well. Please feel free to comment or ask questions!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Altered Couture

My Sister, Gwendalynn, came for a visit earlier this month. I had two open houses to showcase her incredible jewelry line. Her talent can be found at I have always loved to sew. I first started sewing at a very young age. Mom would make dresses for us and I loved to sit and watch her talent. The great thing about mom was that she wasn't afraid to let me use her tools. She just turned over her machines to me and I was taking off on my own before I knew it. I would make doll dress patterns and sew them together as young as 1st grade. So, when I saw the edition of Altered Couture on the counter at Michael's I was excited to give it a whirl myself. I mentioned it to Gwendalynn and she was just as excited to be my subject to dress.Unfortunatley I did not picture the dress before alterations were made. It was a simple straight no sleeve dress without any detail. I added some puffs to the skirt, as shown, plus gathered tuelle along the bottom hem line. To give some contrast I decided to add fiber to the dress. My choice was black yarn that is frayed and rugged looking, giving this dress a shabby chic quality.
Puffy Pockets with more tuelle and fiber details.
A simple black shash gives an empire waiste look and is tied in the back with a square knot. Shown here, on Gwendalynn, you can see how well the hand tufting on the skirt turned out. The shash actually comes from another dress, a simple black dress with a tie. I cut the dress down the front (this was the fun part) and am altering that dress into a "puff jacket", long in length, to be worn over the dress in the evening.
The black jacket is shown here. The sleeve detail is fun, ribbon entertwined in metal chain, the finishing touch is charms....this really makes the jacket have some personality!
I wasn't able to get the jacket finished before we had to go to bed for our trip into Seattle the next few days...but here it is shown with the dress. The bottom hem will be a "balloon" hem---made with elastic. I am going to add some vintage buttons or some amazing vintage flowers we found in Bellevue as detail in the front.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have some great pictures to post...soon! I will be sharing with everyone how to make soldered glass charms. I have been making 30 of them for the girls in our youth program. I also will be posting many altered art pictures I have some wonderful altered t-shirts my sister Gwendalynn and I made together. My sisters Tree and Gwendalynn came to Seattle for a visit last weekend. We went to a great antique shop across from the water front. Amazing finds. I have to post those--a gentleman name Rick helped me out with some great paper finds. I taught an altered art class Thursday and will be making Rick's daughter an altered art project using old WWII posters...can't wait to start that! Wish there were more hours in the day...especially when I have been working all weekend too. More later...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fun Altered Art Sayings...

I bought this book today while shopping with my sister Gwendalynn on Bainbridge Island. There was a quaint shop called "Embellish" in Winslow along the shopping strip by the water front. I thought it would be perfect to use the quotes in here for some of my altered art. I love wit and am often looking for fun sayings.

This is Michelle Lovric's newest book...I think I will look for this one too!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Corset Challenge

I was flipping through one of my favorite Stampington Magazines and came across this new challenge...Corsets. It would be mind is turning...I might just create some fun corsets. You can find out more about this challenge by going to
*This photo is from the Stampington Site -- I did not make this corset, it is a shared example!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Maybe, just Maybe, I am too good for the Dollar Store?

Perspective. That is what I have gained over the past two weeks while working full time hours at the local dollar store. The store initially hired 30 people to set up the place and we were told would only keep the best 8 to 10 workers. When I say set it up I mean to transform an empty shell...from putting in unloading lifting heavy boxes to their departments...then sorting said heavy putting everything out on the shelving nice and orderly. May sound easy...NOT...may sound fun...NOT...may sound worth minimum wage...DEPENDS. Depends on how much you need money and how much it is worth to brutalize your body.

I calculated that it was going to take me three hours of working, hard intensive laboring work, to earn $20 after taxes. Yes, you heard right. Now my 38 year old body, after having five kids, and not being in the best of shape finally ended up giving out. One of the last days I went in I woke up and couldn't move my head. I literally could not turn my head from one side to the other. I worked through it...I had made a commitment to work...and was going to finish the job. Besides, I was proving a point to my children. On my birthday, June 1, I woke up and literally hobbled out of bed. It was nuts. I felt 80 years old...and the worse part was that I had thrown my lower back out and was having muscle spasms.

During my two week full time labor intensive work experience I started to learn the value of a dollar even more. For instance, my kids wanted to go out on the weekend and visit Viking Fest, enjoy a movie and some food. They wanted me to hand them $40. I sorta flipped out. Okay, I did flip out and told them that if I had to be on my feet doing labor intensive work for six flipping hours then I think they could give me eight hours of light work in exchange. Jacob looked at me and said, "I want Dad's 40 dollars". Well, what they don't realize that dad's 40 dollars was earned by several years of unemployment while attending college and getting his master's degree...and we are still paying off those student loans. So, his 40 dollars isn't much either, even with his large pay check. Perspective...that is what I am talking about.

This has been a good experience for my oldest, Jordan. He has worked even harder in the back stock room. He now knows exactly what hard work is. As a matter of fact he mentioned the other day that, "when I graduate from college and get a good job I will never forget my dollar store days". How is that for perspective? Not to mention motivation. Because working at the dollar store is as good as it gets with only a high school education.

So what now? Well, I noticed while reading the company manual that two people could not work in the same store if they were in the same family. So I opted out and Jordan has the job in our town. As for me, they still wanted to keep me on. I am now hired very part time in the town 15 mins away. The hardest part is over. The shelves are completely stocked, the store looks amazing...especially for a dollar store. And what is cool is that I have ownership and pride in what that store looks like. As I left the store tonight I realized how much I have learned about life and myself, and as Jordan put it best, I will always remember my dollar store days.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vintage "Fabric" Paper Dolls

When I was visiting mom in Idaho we found this Windham Paper Doll Fabric. One yard made several dolls. We ironed to the back of each doll heavy felt, the dresses are backed with a less heavy felt. No sewing required.
This was a fun activity and I love how they turned out. You can take off their dresses and switch them out with each other. My mom has just as many dolls too, so you can see that a yard made several. The dolls stand 7 to 8 inches tall.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yes, There's 5 of 'em...

Sometimes I wonder how I ended up with five kids. Five. It sounds like a lot, but when you're having them one at a time and they are all cute and little it doesn't seem bad. Then as they get big--I mean teen boy adult sized big--it suddenly seems like a lot. I love my kids--they are my life--luv 'em so much...but sometimes the number 5 can be overwhelming. For instance, dinner is chaos, bed times worse (I have just about given up on that one), and I won't even mention feeling like I've fought a war by the time 8:00 a.m. rolls around and they are all out of the house and in school---ha ha. But this is my life, and yes, there may be 5 of 'em....but I love each and every ONE. I am blessed.

Where did my Silk Curtains go?

I am in the process of making my new curtains for the living room...I actually have them hanging but am going to take them down and add some large grommets. A friend asked me, "where are your other curtains". Well...they worked perfectly in my bedroom. I have black solar blinds in there and hung these over them. They match the color scheme perfectly and make the room even more romantic. You can only see a portion of the room, unfortunately. They other half has a tall dresser, a love seat, side table and a few other things. The wall color seems washed out in this photo, it is much darker. The art was hand made for my husband while serving on his mission. I hand made the spread, the shams and throw earlier this year...the pillows were purchased. I made the wooden head board by taking a wooden door, painting it black and hanging it on the wall. I love making design work on a is a fun challenge for me...I am constantly trying to be innovative with design.

More Decorating....on the Sly....

My husband went away for five days to visit his grandfather. I am not so sure that was a great idea considering I am smack dab in the middle of trying to redecorate our living room. You never know what I can do when I am in this mode. It all started with an honest trip to Target. I promise. I went with the desire to get inspiration from their home decoration isles--because they carry a good amount of product and because turn over there is great they always have something new to see. I decided to take a look in the furniture isles. Well, typically if I am going to buy inexpensive furniture the store of my choice is IKEA Seattle. But while minding my own business, looking for inspiration, and fully intending NOT to buy anything a room divider jumped out at me. This is not your typical room divider, it is a tall shelf, six feet high, modern, black.....I loved the lines. I liked how it was different. Well, the innovated me started thinking. What if I turned it on it's side and flanked my fireplace wall with it? It would only work if it was long enough to look like a built in. mind started turning. Before I knew it instinct took over and I bought one in hopes it would work. When I came home I measured that space and guess what? Fit's perfectly. Looks like a built in. For a fraction of the cost. Luv it! The very day Doug was to return I had Jacob help me set it up. He came in, I showed him, he didn't disagree about anything (but didn't remark much either). So the following day I went back and bought a second, set that one up on the opposite side, and moved the piano a bit up into the space. I now have that layering affect that I love. Surprisingly it makes the room look much larger with more furniture. And best of all I now have a place to display all of my art pieces.