Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween mantel and word art

Friday, October 24, 2014
 So, technically, this isn't a mantel, but it's as close as I can get in this house.  I'm still loving my turquoise dresser and it makes me happy every time I walk in the door.  Last year I purged quite a bunch of my holiday decorations, so I wasn't sure how this year's decorating would look, but I'm pretty happy with it, at least this little spot anyway. 

I promised when I posted the Love Word Art a few weeks ago that I would post a Halloween version, well, it took me a bit longer than I intended, but better late than never, right?  And, if you're looking for something to craft up this weekend, this is a quick project that you can finish in just a couple hours, including drying time.  The instructions for creating the word art are the same as in the previous post.  Cut out three layers of letters from cereal boxes and one set from scrapbook paper.  Use a thin layer of glue to hold them together, make sure to get the edges well.  I like to let them sit under some books for a while to press all the layers together well (after gluing all 4 layers together), just place them in between sheets of wax paper and make sure you don't have huge amounts of glue hanging out of the edges.  While the letters are drying you can paint your stir sticks and stands.  For the orange stand I used a wood candlestick.  The black stand is a bunch of wooden pieces glued together.  I have no idea where you could get them, perhaps Hobby Lobby?  My Mother-in-Law had a whole bucket of turned wood pieces and I found them in there.
To finish off the "Spooky" art, I glued different sized googly eyes to the two letter "O"s.  I used hot glue on the bigger eyes and a glue pen for the small ones. (I didn't want to burn my fingers) ;)  One thing to note is that I did not glue the stir sticks to the stands.  I wanted it to be easier to store them, and especially with the black stand, I might use it again for other holidays so I wanted to keep it available.  I glued the eyes on the letters before I glued the letters to the stir stick.
This "Creepy" word art might be my favorite.  These little plastic spiders I found at my dollar store were just perfect.  Originally I was going to just have the spiders on the letters, but it was making the letters look too busy and a little hard to read.  That's when I had the idea to create a swarm coming up the bottom of the word, and oh, my!  The effect is perfect!  I did glue the letters onto the stir stick before I added the spiders in this case, I wanted to be able to have some of the spiders climbing onto the letters so they needed to be attached.
I had the opportunity to be on a local TV station sharing this craft.  If you want to know what I sound/ look like in person, or see this craft come together in action, click over. :)  The other project in this clip is another simple project, the spider specimen art can be found here.
I hope you're having a wonderful autumn.  Ours could not be more perfect.  The weather has been warm and dry- all month long.  October sure knows how to treat us right, this year anyway. :)
love you all,
xoxo,
Amy

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Black and White Christmas Shadow Box

Thursday, October 23, 2014
It's time for another Cricut Design Space Star contest post.  :)  This one is pretty simple, but I really love the impact it makes.
To create this project I simply cut lots of shapes using a single sheet of black cardstock and arranged them in the shape of present on another sheet of glittery white cardstock.  You can find the file with the Christmas shapes here.  The bow is the TomKat bow in the Cricut files.  I used a glue pen for the fine detailed pieces that I wanted flat against the background, then I used foam adhesive to pop some of the shapes off the back.
I put the whole thing in a shadow box.  Super simple.

I wanted some simple decorations to stage the shot of the shadow box, and came up with a second, super simple project.  I cut out these trees at 3 different sizes, 6, 9 and 11.5 inches high.  This file has the tree and the mirror image of the tree so it is the same on the back and front.  Just make sure if you use it and change the size to change it on both trees.  Sew around the sides of each tree leaving the bottom open.  I used bamboo skewers and these wooden discs with a small hole drilled in the center as the base.  I think they would be cute with spools as a base too.
And there you  have it, two simple but stunning Christmas decorations to freshen up your holiday display. 

xoxo,
Amy

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ribbon and Burlap Table Runner

Thursday, October 2, 2014
I know everyone is probably already decorated for Halloween, so you have time to pull this simple but festive runner together for your Thanksgiving celebrations, or just to tide you over on decorations until you're ready to get Christmas going in your house. :)  And, if you're like me and still don't have Halloween decorations out, well, you can pretend this one is a Halloween decoration.  I'm still trying to convince the kids.

Simple Ribbon and Burlap Banner

To get started you will need a piece of burlap and some ribbon.  I purchased this printed burlap from Joann Fabric, but you can find it many places, even Walmart.  You will want to purchase just a bit more burlap than you think you need so you will have room to trim the edges and account for fraying.  I used a variety of ribbons, using different widths and types, but you can use whatever you want.  The only other things you will need are scissors and a sewing machine (optional).

When you lay out your burlap you will probably notice that it is fraying and uneven on the cut side.  In this picture you will note that the right side is the cut side.  We want to make sure our runner is even and we also want to reduce the fraying and loose threads that are so common with burlap.

To do this, you are going to decide how wide you want your piece of burlap.  (again, add just a bit extra because it will still fray just a bit in the next steps)  At the determined width, you are going to select one strand of fiber and begin to pull on it.  The burlap piece will begin to gather.  You will gently continue to pull this fiber, sliding the rest of the fabric down and loosening the gathers until you have removed the entire piece.  If the fiber breaks, just track down the end of it that is still in the fabric and use a pin or other pointy tool to weave it out of the fabric until you have a piece large enough to pull again.
When you are finished, you will have a channel in the fabric that looks like this.  You will take your scissors and cut along this line.  Repeat for any other sides of your runner that need to be squared up.
Now we are ready to add some color and interest to our runner with ribbon.  Decide where you want your first ribbon to be on the runner and lay it across the burlap fabric.  Pull a fiber on either side of your ribbon, this will create the beginning and ending marks for your channel.  Pull all the fibers between the beginning and ending marks.
Weave your ribbon through the fibers in the channel.  You can choose how many fibers remain on top of the ribbon and how many go underneath.  I adjust the numbers for each ribbon, but if you want a more uniform look, you can keep it the same for all of them.  Once you have all the ribbons in place on one side, start  on the second.  To determine where the first ribbon goes, you can either count how many fibers from the end the ribbon starts and count up on the second side, or you can fold over the runner as I did and get a close estimate and just go from there.  This runner is meant to be casual so I'm not too worried about precision, but if you are making a more formal runner, you may want to actually count or measure this part.  Add your remaining ribbons.
As you are adding  your ribbons, you may inadvertently pull a few fibers from the edge of your piece.  This is why we added a bit of extra width, so we would end up with the size runner we wanted.  In order to keep this from continuing to happen, I like to take my runner and sew a zig zag stitch all the way around the runner to hold the ribbons and fibers in place.  Then I trim the edges of the runner so they are even.  If you want a frayed edge to your runner, pull the fibers you want before you do this final step, as it locks the fibers and makes them much more difficult to fray.
In this runner, I left just a bit of the edges frayed and trimmed the rest off.  Now, you can sit back and enjoy your runner.
And for more fall inspired goodies, you can check out my Batty Felt Pillow here.
And if you're really loving burlap, I have a fun place mat tutorial here.



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