First Blog Giveaway!

This is a first for my blog! I was inspired to do this give-away when I saw the plaintive plea of Liz, who asked her group of friends if they had any books they'd like to trade.

Her plea, "I'd give anything for a good book!" won over my heart as a sentiment to be admired. (Indeed, you might remember my recent post on bookmarks and books vs. kindles vs. audiobooks)

So...I had this bookmark on hand and thought it was just perfect to add to her reading enjoyment.  And she accepted.

The give-away certainly added to my enjoyment!

Therefore, once my blog has 25 followers, I plan to draw from your names for my next give-away. If you know anyone who might enjoy this humble little blog, invite them to come check it out and sign up as a follower! 

If you want each post emailed to you when it comes out so that you don't have to remember to come to the website, you will additionally want to sign up for the email listserve. However, I have no way of knowing who is signed up to receive emails, so in order for your name to be placed in the drawing, you would need to show up as a follower.

Q: When's the  last time you were surprised with a little gift?
Hello to my visitors from the Netherlands!

Life's Just Beachy

If the heat at the close of summer has you panting for some relief, here are some cards that will have you swimming in bliss.  There's still time to get to a "beach" (pond, lake, river, ocean) and enjoy!  

Or at least to kick back and soak in that timeless pace that the warm weather tends to elicit in us.

Or get brave a try something unexpected, new or daring --whether someone is looking or not!

Choose some vintage images and make your own Life's Just Beachy cards. They will bring a smile on birthdays, mothers day, congratulations, or just connecting.

Pair it up with this great idea for gift packaging:

Cool down with Lavender Cream Soda. The secret is here:

Q: What will you do with your final summer weekends?

{I'm sharing these Vintage Life's Just Beachy Cards with...Monday:  CraftomaniacMaking The World CuterProject QueenThe Girl CreativeThe Gunny SackAlderberry HillA Round TuitSkip to My LouCherished Bliss, Northern CottageTuesday:  Not Just a HousewifeKnick of Time, Sew CraftyTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogUncommonOopsey DaisyGingersnap CraftsWednesday:  The 36th Avenue, Blue Cricket DesignIt's OverflowingNest of PosiesSavvy Southern StyleSomeday Crafts, The Trendy TreehouseVery Merry Vintage StyleWhat We Wore & MadeThursday:  Shabby NestFriday:  Finding FabulousMy Simple Home LifeRomantic HomeTatertots and JelloThe Shady PorchThirty Handmade DaysFaith Trust & Pixie DustNaptime Crafters, Too Much Time on my HandsClassy ClutterStuff & NonsenseCraft Junkie TooSaturday:  Be Different Act NormalFunky Junk InteriorsFrench Country Cottage,  Sisters of the Wild West, Sew Country ChickSunday: Nifty Thrifty Things, DIY Project Parade, Under The Table and DreamingMy 1929 CharmerSew Darned Crafty} 

Chic Lunch Bag

This 'chic' lunch bag is inspired by sweet vintage images and fabrics, recycled jeans, belt, and...can you guess it? An insulated lining is made from a tattered windshield sunshade. Here's the finished lunch bag!

I especially love the way the jean pocket can hold your napkin and silverware...
...and how the little coin pocket can hold dessert!

Chic Lunch Bag Directions, Part Two:

2 Birds in a Bush

Chic Lunch Bag, Part One

A bird in hand may be worth two in the bush, but these sweet little vintage farm images are worthy of a special roosting place of their own!  They've become the inspiration for creating a lunch bag, now that I am attempting to eat fresher food prepared from home. 

I've decided the medium for said lunch bag will be a pair of my hubby's old jean shorts that he, knowing me quite well, kindly donated to my studio rather than the trash heap. I'll give you a basic idea how to make this lunch bag in a two-part series. 

Cut out one of the front panels for the lunch bag. Find some images you want to use and sew them to the front panel, taking care to move the pocket out of the way so that it is still fully functional.

Aren't these images so doggone cute? I chose some coordinating fabrics to create 'patches.' These fabrics will be worked in to the sides and top panel of the finished bag.

The lunch bag will be pretty wide to accommodate tupperware dishes. Since I had some leg left from the back side of the shorts, I'm adding that to the length of the bag. I squared up the piece and stitched it to the front panel like this:
This long panel will become the front, bottom and back sides of the lunch bag. 


Now choose images for what will be the back side.  Here are some that continue with the avian theme...
Be sure to sew the patches going the proper direction for when the bag is standing up.  

Here is what the full panel should look like now. 

*Click here for the directions to complete the bag!*

Q: Did you ever take your lunch to school? If so, was it the good ol' brown bag, or did you have a favorite lunch box?

Healing Wishes

Another successful surgery for a loved one is cause for joy! This card celebrates healing with lots of layers and symbolism. The background stamp is a telegram sending healing thoughts, with dandelions emphasizing the abundant wishes for wellness. 
Of course, the telegram is sent via love post. A homey edge of rickrack brings an intimate, cozy feel. A few simple dot and flower stickers add interest. The butterfly signals the ultimate success in healing. 
The woman delivering flowers and the butterfly are elevated with glue pop dots to give dimension. You can see it better here where the angle of the sun casts shadows for the raised elements.
And this little friend happened to be right where I took these photos, reminding us to be gentle and slow during the healing process.
 Thank you for the reminder!

Q: What most helps you in the healing process?

Work Your Imagination

Summer bliss has me imagining how to incorporate more of that playfulness into my work days throughout the year.  I decided to inspire myself by altering a little notebook.

 I saw a card similar to this once and loved the idea of the child riding a fish - so whimsical! And it reminds us to 'go with the flow.' The wings whisper of our beauty. They show how our ideas and ideals elevate us and allow us to take flight. Of course, there has to be a magic wand! If we remember to pay attention to life's synchronicities and serendipities, we stay tuned in to the magic. 

 Tying the spine with colorful ribbon provides a final soft touch to what can otherwise be a hard-driving work day.

This little notebook makes it a joy to create your 'to do' list!

Q: If your "To Do's" start feeling like "have to's," what strategies do you use to shift that and see them as opportunities to express creativity? 

Summer Bliss (ter)

Suntans, swimming, vacations, grilling out, fresh fruits and vegetables, summer reading, lazy days… although the bliss of summer has given way to a bliss-tering heat wave, see it as an excuse to hibernate in the air conditioning and create some bling!

This little charm is an experiment with a crackle paint technique using elmer’s glue. Super, super simple; super, super cheap. A small bottle of acrylic paint costs less than $2 and comes in a rainbow of colors, and you’ve probably got the glue in your junk drawer right now. You can re-purpose just about anything around your house for this project. The results will surprise you. What about decorating an old journal or photo album cover? Give new life to that empty, round cardboard oatmeal container you’re about to throw away. Jazz up an old picture frame. A previous post (4/11/11) showed this technique on a little cardboard box. 

Here we have a little wooden heart. Here’s what you do: Paint a base coat and let dry (I  used dark brown). Then brush on a layer of elmer's glue over that. Immediately on top of that, brush on a coat of paint in a contrasting color (I used silver). It will take awhile to dry, but as it does it produces a crackle finish. You can lay the glue on thick for large cracks spaced apart, or a thinner layer of glue and top coat for finer cracks.  Once dry, just adhere photos, trinkets, buttons, stickers, stamped images, words, etc. to create a simple collage.

That’s it. Easy summer bling that beats the heat! Kids will love it, too.


Q:  What do you do to jazz things up?

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A Whole New Space

Make way for the new! Today we celebrate moving on and moving out into the world. These little pieces of art announce a new home and address. Or use them to congratulate someone else on his or her new place.

New Nest Card:  Stamp oriole’s nest with brown and green inks onto cream cardstock, edge with brown ink and gold pen, and layer onto green mulberry paper and a coordinating background paper. In brown ink stamp two tags, eggs (stampington) and words onto cream cardstock; clip closely. Color pencils add dimension to eggs, and brads secure them to the nest. Embellish the card with a feather.

New Home Gift Tag/Card:  Computer-generate the sentiment “there’s no place like home” repeatedly in light brown ink on tan cardstock.  Layer on top of that in a larger, darker font the same phrase. Cut cardstock into a tag shape, and punch a hole at the top. Use brown, yellow, and orange inks to ‘age’ the tag and the reinforcer hole. I found these fabulous ruby red slipper stickers to adhere just below the sentiment. Use white and yellow color pencils to make shoes and words ‘glow.’ Stamp the girl (River City Rubber Works) on cream cardstock, color with pencils, and trim closely. Adhere with pop dots to give her added dimension. Thread gingham ribbon through the tag hole. Voila!

Q:  What inspires you either literally or figuratively to “move into a new space?”