Friday, December 30, 2011


Well, everyone else is doing their "year in review" so here's mine!  I've been blogging just a hair over a year now - 13 months actually.  Now, 118,943 page views later, I'm ready to head into a brand new year of projects and ideas.  As a way to wrap up 2011, today I'm posting 4 of my most viewed posts.  Thanks to all of you who added to those "hits" on this little crafting e-diary of mine!  

Here's how I went from:
                             this                               to this  
for only $4.95!

The chair project from yesterday is finally done.   A few notes . . .
 I used a hot, dry iron for the Paris postmark from the Graphics Fairy.  Just as the video says, you can't over-iron.  If you have to tug at all to lift the transfer paper off the fabric, iron some more!
When it's transferred, it easily peels off.  But, you see the transfer paper around the letters?  :(  
 I found that after washing and drying the fabric, the excess transfer paper dissolved a little more.  At least it isn't shiny - that's the good thing!  And maybe after enough people sit in the chair, it'll blend in even more!
There she sits, stripped down to her underwear!  And then the fun part - painting and distressing.

From this . . .
to this!

Now, here's what I did and some comments on what I should have done! 

What I did:  I printed out the graphics fairy Paris postmark onto Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) and cut loosely around the design, then ironed it on.  It transferred very quickly!  I bet I only ironed with a hot, dry iron for about 10 seconds and it was transferred!  

What I should have done:  I should have cut as close as possible to the graphic printout before ironing it on the linen.  It looks fine and I bet I'm the only one who could tell the difference, but the little bit of transfer paper I left around the design didn't completely disappear.  So, take the time to really cut it closely.


What I did:  I took the chair into the garage and went full blast with my palm sander.  I mean, full blast!

What I should have done:  Maybe start out with a piece of sandpaper in my hand and take it slow and easy.  It doesn't look too distressed in the photo, but in real life . . . it's pretty distressed.  You can always take more off . . .   So, I ended up retouching the REALLY distressed areas with a little paint.

But, it's done and I really do like it . . . but it's kind of like going to someone's house for dinner.  It always tastes better when someone else cooks.  Well, if I saw this chair in a store I'd REALLY love it, but I know where all the little glitches are . . .


The Graphics Fairy has so many wonderful old prints and engravings.  This was a copy of a Circa 1850 Paris print.  It's a delicately engraved frame with a laurel wreath embellished with lots of roses.  I had seen it several times on her site and wanted to find a way to use it.  
So, I decided to use it as the centerpiece on our kitchen table.  I could put a vase or other dish in the center and the painted design would still show.  When I add the leaf to the table I'll have to use a table runner since opening the table will split the design - but that's okay - when we need a larger table we usually go to the dining room anyway.   

When I printed it out, I set it at 300 times the actual image.  That stretches the design out so that it is quite a bit bigger than the original image, however, you have to tape all the "parts" together.  This time I used carbon paper to transfer the image to the table.  I didn't want the wreath to face only one way, so I split it horizontally right down the middle, flipped it, and painted the top half twice - kind of a mirror image.  
I used a pretty watered down dark and light gray to paint the design.  I was intentional in loosely painting the design and I'm still thinking about lightly sanding it to make it even more faint.
The design before the dark wax was applied.

The top of the table is painted with Behr's Moth Gray (flat, so that it will accept wax).  I used Minwax/Paste Finishing Wax/Dark.  The trim and base of the table are just a semi-gloss white.


Here's a pillow using some of that burlap which has taken over my house.  I used a graphic from the Graphics Fairy again.  This is one I keep going back to and finally figured out how I wanted to use it.  I started with Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper.  You run it right through the printer and then, after cutting close to the edge of the design, just iron it on to your background fabric.  Remember to reverse any words you may be printing so they are readable when you iron them on.  This paper doesn't leave the "plastic-like shine" so many t-shirt transfer papers do.  It's a little more expensive - but worth it!
 Love the nubby-ness of burlap!
Then I rummaged through my Great Aunt Pearl's button box.  I inherited some beautiful, old buttons from her!
 These are the buttons I chose for the back closure of the pillow.  Mother-of-Pearl with a metal loop shank on the back.  They don't make them like this anymore!
 And a little decorative rectangle of fabric sewn under one of the buttons so the back isn't totally boring.

These close-ups show how this transfer paper picks up even small details.  And see, no shine!  If you've ever worked with different transfer papers before, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
 And, after slipping in a store-bought pillow form . . .
 it's finished!

While sewing away, I propped Norma up in the corner (thought she should hear it too) and listened to this for inspiration.  Unless I live to be 100, I  probably don't have enough years left to attain this level - but, a girl can dream . . . and this is Norma's (mine too)!  Imagine that!
This is


Today I designed a pillow using an old french rose label from the Graphics Fairy.  To make your own, you'll need to pull your chosen graphic into a word processing program - I used "Pages" on my mac.  Then, bring in a text box and pick a font you like to add whatever text suits your fancy.  I have a favorite font for things like this - it's called "Jane Austen".  (How can you go wrong with a name like that?)  It's feminine and old fashioned looking.  You can download it free here.  The oval on the bottom of the graphic seemed fitting for a monogram . . . I put in ours.

So, once you have your design just the way you like it, you need to get it ready for the printer.  Cut a piece of freezer paper and your fabric, to 8 1/2 x 11 inches.   The freezer paper gives the fabric body so that it can go through the printer.  Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper onto your fabric.  It will adhere very quickly using a dry iron on the cotton setting.  I used a thin cotton fabric and even with the freezer paper my printer would not recognize the fact that there was paper there, so I had to use spray adhesive to add a piece of cardstock to the freezer paper side.  That gave a nice, heavy backing to the fabric and then it worked just fine.  If you use something like canvas, the freezer paper will be enough.
Since you're already limited to the size of a sheet of paper due to what the average printer will accept, I think it's a good idea to enlarge the clip art to the size of a full sheet of paper in order to get the biggest pillow possible.
 It printed out great - the first time I tried!
 Then, just pull the freezer paper off the back of the fabric.
You'll have a piece of printed fabric ready to create whatever your little heart desires!  I'm making my printed fabric into pillows for the guest room with twin beds - one for each bed.  Both pillows have French script.  One reads, "Good Night", and the other reads "Dream Away"!  I'm going to try spraying some sample printed fabric with a fabric protector.  I doubt that printer ink is washable, so you'll want to avoid getting it wet etc.  Tonight I finished the one that says "Good Night" - and I'm going to take that advice and finish the other one tomorrow.  

Bonne Nuit!

Now, on to a brand new year of ideas and creativity!
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Taking a little blogging break as we celebrate Jesus' birth with 
family and friends!  See you in a few days!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


What do most people do on Saturday?  

Whatever their little heart desires, that's what. 
My dad used to say, "In retirement, EVERY day is like Saturday . . .  Satur-Sun, Satur-Mon . . . ".  In other words, every day, you can do whatever your little heart desires!

Well, one of these guys is singing, very loudly, right outside our window.  
The sun is shining and it sounds like spring . . . in December.  His song makes you feel happy.  Like everything is good, and right, and as it should be.  He's kind of inspiring sitting out there on that branch.
Today, my heart desires to get out my brushes . . .
and someone's favorite colors (she knows who she is) . . .and paint!

After all -  
it's Satur-Tues!

Monday, December 19, 2011


Sunday, December 18, 2011


By now, anyone who checks my blog regularly has read numerous posts involving my friend Jan, from McKinney, Texas.  One tradition Jan and I have always had, is to exchange gifts when we visit each other.  The last time Jan came to Wisconsin, her gift to me was this beautiful, antique dress form - complete with stand!    You can read all about how it works here.  
Here she is!
So, I decided she needed some clothing.  She stands in my pink guest room - the one with the tutu painting I did last summer.   
Therefore, I figured she should have a tutu too - and not all clothing is made of fabric!   I used two packages of tissue paper - pink, and white.  After folding a long narrow waistband, I just hand-gathered lots and lots of strips of tissue paper and hot glued them onto the waistband.  I made a pink layer first, and then topped it with a shorter, white layer.  
 Then I put another folded tissue waistband over the hot glue and gathers, and rolled some tissue roses to embellish the band.
 I was going to make a top to the tutu - but I kind of like her just the way she is!
She's the perfect ruffled addition to a very feminine room!

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Friday, December 16, 2011


It's been a unseasonably warm fall and early winter here in my part of Wisconsin.  Every day, when I listen to the weather report, I hope to see a HUGE SNOWSTORM coming our way.  So far, no luck.  While I'm wrapping Christmas gifts today I'll be listening to this guy - one of my favorites!  So click it and scroll so you can enjoy it too!  (Did YOU know that Andrea Bocelli played the flute?)
I'm looking at these ideas from Martha Stewart:

I'll also be looking through my boxes of trim scraps and ribbons to use for embellishments.

One of the gifts I'll be working on are pins made of bridal-type fabric swatches.  They're so easy to put together.  Just cut out some graduated size circles, melt the edges a bit over a candle - just enough to seal the raw edges, no more!  Then pile them up and tack them together.  Then just put a little gem or antique earring in the center, a pin on the back, and you're done!  This one was wrapped up and given to a good friend yesterday.
It will look beautiful on her!
Then, I dug into my box of trims, papers, and charms and designed my own brown paper package tied up with string.
The little vellum banner, easily printed on your home computer, reads - "Merry Christmas dear friend!"
 Add a little charm that says it all.

So, head over to the fabric store and pick out some remnant trims and lace.  Make the package look as special as the person you're giving it to!



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