Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winner! Happy Inspire Your Heart With Art Day!

Today is "Inspire Your Heart With Art" day.  I know you're all rushing to the store to get your greeting cards!  In honor of this obscure but fun holiday, I hosted a contest!

Now, before you get bummed out that you didn't get to enter - there's still hope!  I have 2 other contests!
When the fan page reaches 350 fans, I will draw and give a gift certificate for $25.00 and FREE shipping to one lucky fan!

Click on "follow" (via Google Friend Connect, follow publicly) over to the right. 
When we reach 100 followers, I will give away a $20.00 gift certificate to one lucky follower
A second $20 gift certificate to the person who REFERRED them!
That could be you! 
Post a blog or tweet, send your friends and followers my way!

And now....
The winner (from 16 eligible entries) is...
Sandy said...
"Here is one of my favorite styles. I love how she antiques the hymn paper and puts an image on top. Praise and Worship is close to my heart and this is a beautiful way to appreciate it!"

From my Etsy shop

Congratulations Sandy!
(and good luck to the rest of you on the other 2 contests!)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Eco-Chic Valentine's Gifts - A Tutorial for Personalized Reverse Applique Pillow Covers

This pillow was made in 1 1/2 toddler nap times (that's about 3 hours to the rest of the world!)

It started out as a REALLY ugly sea-foam green, pintucked, cheap satin pillow from Big Lots that I got on clearance for $2.00.  Even better - it was a removable cover.

Here's the "before" - the ugly pillow, a blue flannel baby blanket, a sueded microfiber maternity jumper and a print out of the name.

First, you'll need to measure the pillow you plan to recover.  If it has a removable cover, skip this step - you can use the cover as a template!  (What?  You say "shortcut" like it's a bad thing!)

Next choose your image or text you want to reverse applique.  I used CoolText, an online free graphics/logo generator.  We did 4 versions:
We decided to go with the last one, in the "Floozy" font.  NOTE: if you are a novice seamstress/sewer, choose a font with more straight lines!  Also, when generating your text, turn the "shadow" feature off, it will make it much easier! 

Save the file to your computer, then print out on regular printer paper.  You may want to paste/import it to a program like Word that has a print-preview option.  We used legal sized to make it large enough to fit our pillow.  Remember that the size it prints is the size it will be on your finished product!  Don't worry if it is fuzzy or pixelated - you're the only one who will see this part!

Next get your pillow fabric.  I'm all about reusing things, so we used a maternity jumper that I got on clearance at a thrift store for $1.00.  I'm a fabric person, I often buy things just because I like the material - I figure out what I'll do with it later.  Yes, I realize this is a sickness! (Hi.  My name is Noel...)

Lay your material out flat and decide where you want your word or image to go.  Pin it in place.  When using a garment, make use of those beautiful seams and details!  We centered the name between two front seams that ran down the front of the skirt.  Since they were not even (parallel) we decided to set the name at an angle.

Next, we 're going to cut the front of the pillow.  If you measured (gold stars for you!) then take your pillow measurement and add a comfortable seam allowance.  I used about 3/4"  If you are fortunate enough to have a pattern or template, use that. 

If you have a previous pillow cover, just lay it on top and add your seam allowance.

If you have a rotary cutter and self-healing mat, this will be really quick and you don't even need to pin it.  I "eyeballed" the seam allowance (you won't tell my momma will you?)

Since I was using a previously made garment, I had a finished hem to work with.  This will now become the back of the envelope pillow.  I took the existing slit in the back and split the back of the skirt so I had one long, continuous piece of hemmed material.

Next, I folded that in half length-wise so that my back seam formed the right edge and the fold formed the left, with the hem at the bottom. (Don't get lost here - it's not as hard as it sounds!)

I placed this on top of the front piece I already cut, covering aproximately 2/3rds of the front.  Pin in place, then turn over so you are now looking at the backside of the front piece. Use it as a guide to cut the back pieces and set them aside for later.

Now grab the fabric you've chosen to use for the backing of the front cover.  This is what will show through as the letters or design you have chosen.  I used a blue recieving blanket.
Lay your front piece on top of the backing piece and pin it well, all around the letters as shown.  Cut it to the same size as the front.

Now we're ready to sew!
Use a short stitch length so that your material will be held firmly in place.  Carefully stitch around the outline of each letter.  When you get to the "corner" of a letter, put your needlie into the fabric to keep it's place before lifting the presser foot to change directions. 
If your machine has a "slow" speed setting, it's a good idea to use that too!  I also used the "lock" stitch feature at the beginning and end of each letter so the thread would be secure.  If your machine does not have this feature, leave your threads long, pull them to the back and tie them together (rather than using a backstitch)

Once you have completed the outline stitch, remove the paper.
Child labor and a pair of offset tweezers make this job a breeze.  I took a Diet Pepsi break while Jordan picked out all the paper pieces.

This part can be a little tricky, and if you screw up here you have to start over (but no pressure, right?)  You'll need to cut through ONLY the top layer of the fabric INSIDE the stitching.  I  "pinch" the fabric on each side and pull it apart gently, making sure that I firmly hold the underside.  Next, use a small, sharp pair of scissors to snip a bit of the top layer. 

Once you have a small slit, you can carefully cut away the top layer to reveal the bottom fabric.  This is where it really starts to pay off! (Although halfway through you'll be wishing that their parent's had chosen a shorter name - I thought "Aria" was good enough here!)

After you've cut away the top layer, give the edges a brutal scraping with your thumbnail.  My philosophy is "it's gonna fray, it's better for it to fray now where I can trim it!"  This will mess up all your pretty work, but it's temporary!  Use your scissors to clean up the loose threads and give it a good shake to remove the lint.  (Remember your slave labor?  They're gonna need to vaccuum now)

Jordan really liked the little pocket on the front of the maternity jumper, so we added that to the front of the pillow, backing it with the extra baby blanket material so it would match.

The only thing left to do is stitch the back to the front.
Lay your front down, with the right side facing you.  Take one of your hemmed panels and place it on the front, with the wrong side facing you, with the hemmed part towards the center.

Now, place the last panel in the opposite direction, wrong side up, hemmed edge towards the center.  Remember how we made each one about 2/3rds the size of the front?  2/3 + 2/3 = 4/3 = 1 1/3  So, the back panels will overlap, creating the envelope. (Are you impressed with my math?  We homeschool so I've been doing fractions and extended notation with the kids.  I'm sorry!)
Stitch all around all four sides, serge or zig-zag to finish the edges if you want.  Turn it right side out and put it on your pillow!  

We also made a little lavendar-filled satchet to tuck in the pocket.  It smells yummy!

I hope that you've enjoyed this tutorial.  I want to see what you make with this!  Link it up!

And be sure to visit some of my other Friday Follow Friends below!

And, The Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk!

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special</P>

MckLinky Blog Hop

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Eco(nomical &)-Chic Valentine's Decor

A few years ago I helped some friends out with their Valentine's Day wedding.  The couple loved old movies and hearts, especially conversation hearts.  We had a very small budget to work with but lots of tables to decorate!  (does that sound familiar to anyone else?  It's the story of my life!)

I found images of vintage hollywood stars and printed them out in black and white (on recycled paper of course!).  A friend placed them in random fashion on an 11"x17" sheet of paper, then attached them with a glue stick.

Next, she cut single-faced satin (florist) ribbon in strips and used it to trim the outside, leaving an overlap for extra interest. These became "placemats" for the table centerpieces (did you notice the candy conversation hearts in the candle holders?  They were the bride's favorite candy - we just had to include it somewhere - it WAS Valentines afterall!)

This candle holder is an "ivy bowl"" glued to the top of a candlestick, both from the dollar store.  Not bad for 2 bucks eh?
I was fortunate enough to find a whole collection of red and orange/yellow silk flowers on clearance at MJDesigns - 90% off!  I bought everything they had, even though I wasn't sure what I would do with all of it!

You've seen the pomanders with the pearl handles use in 2 different ways, as well as the small candle rings.  But take a look at this:

It's a wreath, suspended with wire from the ceiling!  I attached glass votive holders with floral adhesive to the "back" (now the top).  I also added gold and red rhinestones to the arrangement, foor a little extra dazzle!

I also suspended several of the pomendars from the ceiling (shown in the background).

The groom's cake featured color prints of some old movie shots and I tucked film from a movie reel all round (even in the frosting!).  More vintage hollywood shots covered the table.

I was able to splurge on fresh flowers for the ceremony; red roses, white lilies and eucalyptus (mmm, it smelled heavenly!)

So, thats an easy way to decorate for a Valentine's Wedding (or just a party!) using what you've got, what is free and what you find on super-great clearance.  The entire decor budget was less than $150, and that included the fresh flowers for the ceremony.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Don't forget to check out my current gveaway:
ReDeemed button

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eco-Chic Valentine's "How To Make a Book Page Wreath"

I love Fawnda's tutorial over at Fireflies and Jellybeans. 

You could make an Eco-Chic twist on it by substituting a previously loved wreath from a thrift store and repurposed ribbon from Christmas.

Way to go Fawnda!  visit her tutorial for complete instructions and more great pictures:

Don't forget to check out my current gveaway:
ReDeemed button

Post-It Tuesday - #4 Talking to myself

(Free $25.00 CG & free shipping when FB Fan page reaches 350 fans - only 17 away)
(Free $20.00 GC when Blog reaches 100 followers, only 27 away)
(Free $20.00 GC to the person who referred winner of blog giveaway)
(Free piece of artwork & free shipping to the winner of "Inspire your Heart with Art", ends 1/31/10)

the neglected Etsy shop

Visit SupahMommy's blog for more!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Attitutude Adjustment

2 Thought provoking thoughts from Corrie Ten Boom and Charles Swindoll:

In one of Corrie and Betsy’s early Bible studies, they read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Betsy said, "Corrie, we must thank God for this room." Corrie was indignant. "Why? This room is small and crowded, and it smells!" "Yes," Betsy replied, "But it keeps us warm and dry, and we should thank God."

"We should also thank God for our food," she persisted. Corrie was incredulous. "Why? It smells terrible, tastes worst, and isn’t fit for dogs!" "Yes," Betsy replied, "But it keeps us from starving, and we should thank God."

"We should also thank God for the fleas," Betsy suggested. Corrie was now livid. "Fleas? Fleas? They bite me and itch, and I dare you to tell me one good thing these fleas do for us!" "You’re right," Betsy allowed, "But I still think we should thank God for the fleas."

And so, each night, the young ladies studied their Bible, prayed, and thanked God for the crowded room, pitiful food, and legions of fleas.

Finally, the camp was liberated, and it occurred to Corrie that no guard had ever searched their room for contraband Bibles or caught them during their long Bible studies. She asked a guard why. "I’d have to be crazy to go into that room!" he asserted vehemently. "That room was infested with fleas!"

And so Corrie learned that her faith had been protected by a legion of God’s soldiers - fleas - and she learned at last why God wanted her to be thankful for them.

I don't know about you, but I am way more inclined to tahnk God for a FLEA MARKET!  It is much more difficult to be thanful when things are not the way we want them to be.  It's days like this that I am gently reminded of a great quote from Charles Swindol:

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it" - Charles Swindoll
I made a Powerpoint slide (back in tha' day) and posted this in my cubicle - I was amazed at the number of people who where inspired by this quote!  It stayed with me through several job changes.  Now, as stay at home mom with a burgeoning art business, I need it more than ever!

So, I updated my reminder - please feel free to download it or share it with others!
Or click here to order a notecard from my Zazzle store. :)

And I can't do just one - here's a retro-vintage style for you too!

Which one do you like best?

Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm Feeling Creative! (&Friday Follow!)

I've had a lot of fun thriftin' this week.  I found tons of great things to [ReDeem]  I even got a 15  pound box of vintage jewelry, some broken, some wearable - that took 2 days to sort through!

I'm also working on updating my Etsy shop - it got kinda bare over the Holidays (not that I'm complaining!)

So, I may not blog this weekend!  But, before I lock myself in the studio - it's time for Friday Follow again!
Friday Follow

Don't forget to check out my contest too - you could win your favorite piece of artwork!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Don't stop - there's lots more good stuff...

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