Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sometimes It Pays To Never Throw Anything Away

Sometimes it pays not to throw something away.

At least, that's the rule, for a crafter.

You just never know what you may need for some future creation.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself as I'm running out of craft space.

In any event, in a previous Linda's Blog post entitled "What Was Once A Beautiful Natural Arrangement Became A Beautiful Silk Floral Arrangement" I told you about a trip to Michaels and my buying more silk floral than I needed for a silk floral arrangement I wanted to re-create.

And, remember I told you I had more than one silk floral arrangement in mind...

Well, I had decided that I wanted to make another Christmas silk floral arrangement that we could take out year, after year, after year using an adorable red and green striped ceramic base that was part of a beautiful natural floral arrangement that was given to me by my son-in-law and grandchildren for Christmas many years ago.

The base was large and was actually something that could be used as a cookie jar as it even came with a red and green striped cover.

I had saved it all these years as I thought it would make a fabulous base for a Christmas silk floral arrangement. Remember, I said you just never know when something could be useful for a current creation.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What Was Once A Beautiful Natural Arrangement Became A Beautiful Silk Floral Arrangement

I've written several Linda's Blog posts over the years about some of the natural floral arrangements that hubby has surprised me with over the years that are always absolutely stunning.

He likes to use a local florist that is run by two sisters that create beautiful English Garden type floral arrangements and most of the arrangements they have created for him are in large vases.

Well, several weeks ago he surprised me with a different kind of floral arrangement for him.  It was a beautiful Christmas arrangement in the most adorable container - a Christmas bulb with top included. The arrangement was filled with red roses, red carnations, white mums, ribbons and greenery.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gotta Love A Beautiful Natural Arrangement Given With Love

How can you not love a beautiful natural floral arrangement? Especially when it's filled with roses, hydrangeas and tulips in bright, cheery Christmas colors.

You can't.

How can you not love a beautiful natural arrangement when it's a totally unique arrangement unlike any you've seen before? Filled with floating cranberries...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Still Loving Custom Gift Wrap Boxes

I just love Christmas boxes decorated with beautiful wired ribbons and floral accents. In fact, for quite some time I used to elaborately decorate all the Christmas presents. I love the creativity involved with trying to decide which paper to use, which ribbons to use, and which accessories to add. The presents always look so pretty when stacked together. Everyone would say that they just looked so pretty they didn't want to open the present.

For me decorating the presents is kind of the same as looking at containers filled with crazy quilting or creative embroidery trims and embellishments. The trims and embellishments always look so pretty all combined in a container. Too pretty to use sometimes.

You could also find this to be the case with fabrics sorted by holiday, season, or color. Almost too colorful and pretty to use. I know I find myself always saving the prettiest fabric for that very special creation. It's so pretty that, in fact, you never use it.

As usual I'm getting off course - so back to the story.  As the family grew over the years trying to elaborately decorate all the presents almost became impossible. It got pared down and down and down. I still do it from time to time for hubby or some really special presents but, for the most part, spending days on end elaborately decorating my presents is over.

However, several years ago my hubby suggested that we add some festive color to the kitchen by decorating some fake boxes and placing them above our kitchen cabinets as Christmas decorations. With this suggestion I, of course, was in 7th heaven. I could decorate several boxes to my hearts content and look at them during the whole holiday season. So, I did five of them and we placed them atop our cabinets.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Reminded How Much I Love My Victorian Village Cross-Stitch


In putting my Christmas decorations out this year I had decided to put my Victorian Village cross-stitch shadow boxes on the mantle in my dining room next to the two nutcrackers and one snowman nutcracker.

In setting them up I was reminded about how beautiful the cross-stitch design was and how beautiful they looked in the shadow boxes my younger brother have made for me and which I had sponge painted.

My Victorian house village was created based upon a Dimensions cross-stitch Gold Collection kit called "Christmas Village Ornaments." It was supposed to be a series of Victorian house ornaments with a cross-stitch front and felt cloth back outlined with a braided gold band.

However, I didn't make my Victorian village as cloth ornaments. Instead, I enlisted the help of my younger brother to create wood shadowboxes that I painted with a blue/white/green sponge affect.

I had purchased this kit with the thought of giving the finished projects as Christmas gifts several years ago.

However, like everything else I create cross-stitch I tend to fall in love with the finished products. Some more so than others. Some so much so that, sometimes, I selfishly decide to keep them for myself and my home decor. Okay, to be honest, make that many times.

However, it's not always my fault. Sometimes it's hubbies fault. He, too, tends to fall in love with some of my creations and doesn't want to give them away. So, I guess I'll have to thank hubby for convincing me to keep the Victorian Village.

Now if you really believe I kept the Victorian Village just because hubby loved them and not because they had something to do with the Victorian era I have a bridge I could sell you.....

A fabulous blue house....

A traditional Victorian pink lady......

A bakery.....

A church.....

Rudolph's tree farm....

and, Kringle's toy store.

You would keep them too - wouldn't you?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gotta Love Nutcrackers


This year I decided that my BIG wooden  nutcrackers would stand guard in the kitchen/family room, one on each side of the fireplace.  In putting them out I thought about what happened when I bought the BIG nutcrackers several years ago and brought them home without consulting the "dollies."  What a brouhaha that was.

I had to apologize to the "dollies" not for bringing home dollies that weren't handmade, but because I hadn't consulted them ahead of time.  It's a long story.  If you'd like to read it again I've re-posted it at the end of this post.

Well, after putting the BIG nutcrackers out I decided that two small nutcrackers and one nutcracker snowman that I had bought at a Hallmark store a year or so ago (I think) would look nice on the dining room fireplace mantle with the Victorian Village cross-stitch shadow boxes I had made many years ago.  They were totally adorable and the cutest nutcrackers - even if they aren't handmade.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Gotta Love My Sister's New Magnolia Pod Decorations

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog you know how much I love pine-cones and decorating for the Christmas holidays with pine-cone trees and pine-cone baskets. Well, when my sister told me she thought wrapping her roving around magnolia pods and decorating them would make a wonderful Christmas ornament for her Rock Garden Alpacas Farm Store I had to ask what magnolia pods were. So she showed me during my last visit. I loved them.

Well, given my sister and I are never quite done with tweaking our creations she kept working on her magnolia pod ornaments until she had them just the way she liked them. She decided to add Angelina fibers, yarn, some dried berries, dried floral, silk floral and wire ribbon bows to them and the results, shown in the collage above and the pictures below, are just beautiful, I absolutely love them and think they make for adorable Christmas woodland ornaments. I hope you would agree.

Monday, December 01, 2014

My Custom Gift Wrap Arrived - Yippee!

Well, when thinking about which Christmas decorations we were going to put out this year I thought changing the decorated boxes above the kitchen cupboards to my own custom gift wrap designs would really be nice. So, I ordered some of the Christmas and snowman winter satin gift wraps I had designed.

I had seven to choose from in my Christmas custom gift wrap designs. And, ten to choose from in my winter seasonal custom gift wrap designs.

It wasn't easy to choose, but I did. I ordered the ones I chose this morning and hope to have them shortly. When I get them I know I'll be anxious to wrap the boxes and put them above the kitchen cabinets. Of course, I'll take pictures so you all can see how they came out.

How can you resist adorable custom gift wrap - especially when it has adorable snowmen and Christmas images on it. I know I can't. Then again, when it comes to custom fabric designs and now gift wrap - there's not much I can resist.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Update To My Goddess Doll Adventure - After Seven Years They Finally Came Into Being

Back in 2008 I decided that I was going to try making something new that year. I wanted to try and make a type of doll that I hadn't made as of yet.

Now I know what you're thinking, "Linda, how could there possibly be a doll you hadn't made?"

Well, there were a lot of them and one of them was a beaded goddess art doll. Either with a clay face or with a cloth face.

I had been wanting to make one for quite some time. The problem was - lack of time. So, I thought that maybe if the bodies were already made then I could just embellish the rest. Maybe?

So, when I saw that Monica Magness, who used to write the "Girl Gone Thread Wild" blog, had a batch of 10 small goddess art forms for beading, painting & altering for sale on her Girl Gone Thread Wild Etsy shop I decided to buy them! The doll bodies were between 4"-6" tall and in various colors.

Back then I was already thinking of the different beads and embellishments I might try. Hmmm.....

Should I try clay faces or not? Hmmmm.....

How many beads? Hmmmmm....

What else should I use to embellish them? Hmmmmmm.....

I decided that whatever way I was going to embellish them it would be a delightful adventure. So, I put the package with 10 dolls aside until I could make them.

Over the years I kept trying to fit some time in for creating my goddess dolls and, as always, just couldn't fit them in.  Plus, I still wasn't sure exactly how I was going to finish them.

Some of the "goddess dolls" that I have seen were either faceless (which is fine with me) or had cloth faces, clay faces,  sun or moon faces, even beaded faces. Some of the face shapes were round or oval, some square, and some were triangles. I hadn't quite decided what kind of face I wanted to try as of yet, but I always liked to be prepared.

I thought they probably should be clay so I decided to buy some polymer clay to sculpt my own and also buy some molds to use in the event my clay ones didn't look exactly as I had envisioned them. If these didn't work then I figured they could have cloth faces or be faceless.

If I was really adventuresome I would give them beaded faces, but that would be time consuming. Or, I could just decide to do several of each. I wouldn't know until I start creating them.

I also needed to decide whether they should have hair or no hair. Headdress or no headdress? At the time since I was running out of doll hair (well, not really, but you never know what you want to use until you start creating) so I decided to replenish my supply of doll hair.

Also, I wanted my "goddess dolls" to have beaded decorations along their bodies or in their clothes (should I decide to add something along these lines) so I decided to visit my local craft stores to see what they had. I was expecting a little section of beads.

Au Contraire! Make that ROWS and ROWS of beads. Aisles and aisles of beads. So many so that it was almost impossible to decide.

Should they be round? Should they be flat? Should there be a combination of the two? Should they be large, small, or medium in size? What color? Solid or multi-colored? Shiny or not? And on and on it went!

Obviously, this was not going to be as easy as I had thought. I really hadn't thought this through and should have tried to design what I wanted my goddess dolls to look like before I attempted to by the beads.

Should they be traditional mixed media art dolls or should I make them a little different? Maybe they shouldn't even have beads? But, I really wanted to try beading as the dolls I'd seen were just so beautiful. Time consuming to make, but beautiful.

In any event, I bought several different colors and sizes of beads and because I like to be organized I also bought some containers to house my beads. Can't have them falling all over the floor. That would not be good!

So, I had my doll forms, ideas and supplies for various ways to make the faces, and lots and lots of beads. With my supplies bought I decided to put everything aside until I had time to make them,

Well, since that was 7 years ago my supplies were eventually used for other dolls or crafts I was making. If you asked me today what I had bought for them back then I really wouldn't be able to tell you. Aging is such a pleasant experience - isn't it?

In searching through my craft supplies a few weeks ago I ran across my package of 10 goddess doll bodies and decided that this time I would finally make them. So, believe it or not, I did.

I didn't exactly make them as I had envisioned.  For one thing I decided not to go the beaded route. The reason wasn't because I didnt want to - I couldn't. You see, I've been working on some beaded cross-stitch kits and my finger tips were just too sore right now from the little skinny (monster) needles going into my finger tips.

I love beaded cross-stitch but don't love having to tape my fingers so I won't be killed by those dastardly little skinny needles. I think they're evil monsters in disguise - out to get me!

Plus, I had another wonderful way to make the faces which didn't involve baking sculpey clay. Instead I would be using a wonderful invention called paperclay. See, sometimes it does pay to wait. Sometimes things come along that are just better. Yeah, I know, I have to find good reasons for my procrastination - don't I?

In any event I decided to use the paperclay and molds I had bought to make my goddess doll faces and have to admit they came out wonderfully. I wasn't sure the molds I had bought would work, but they did. So now I had the bodies and the heads but I was still left with the question as to how I would finish them.

After gluing the paperclay heads to the cloth bodies I decided I wasn't happy with the gap between the cloth and the paperclay heads so I decided to add a wimple made of Apoxie (A + B) clay around their heads, neck, and sides of the face which I could then stamp and color with powdered pigments.   I stamped all the wimples the same and then colored them with powdered pigments that would compliment their fabric colors.

Now all I had to do was figure out how to finish the bodies. I had a really good excuse for not beading them but, truth be told, I just didn't have the time required to cover all ten bodies with beads. However, that didn't mean they couldn't have some sort of beads on them. After all, that's what beaded embellishments are for.

So, I decided to finish them with a combination of mixed media, beaded embellishments, lace, velvet leaves, glitter leaves, ribbons, butterfies, wool florals, silk, and ruffles. Half of them would be delicate goddesses and half of them would be goddess angels with leaves for wings.

All of them would have hair. Some I made with alpaca fibers and handspun yarn from my sister's Rock Garden Alpacas business. Some were funky yarns I had. Some were wool hair braids.

All in all I was pleased with the way my goddess dolls turned out.  They weren't wild and funky artistic creations with beautiful beaded bodies but delicate and angelic.

Despite the fact that it took seven years they finally came into being and I sensed they were happy with themselves which, for goddesses, was the way they should be.