Compendium Challenge #21

February 13, 2015

I can’t believe there have been 21 challenges already! Linda Ledbetter’s doing a great job putting these challenges together, and the Curiosity Crew always makes such pretty examples of each technique from Tim Holtz’s Compendium of Curiosities III.So much inspiration! You can join in any time; and why wouldn’t you when there are prizes to be won! This time the sponsor is The Inspiration Emporium, and coincidentally, I am getting ready to place an order. It’s so much fun shopping there; if you’re a Tim Holtz fan, they’ve got just about everything you’d ever want!

This time we are turning to page 55 and learning a technique using Rock Candy Distress Glitter. I can’t tell you exactly what we did, but it was fun and easy and of course, sparkly! (I always love sparkly.)

My take on this was as a background and I used this particular image, stamped a few times onto a tag which had been colored with Distress Ink:

valentine vine stamp

This is a close-up; the whole stamp is about 5″ long. I’m showing you the stamp because there’s no way you can tell what this image is in the final product! But it does make a great sparkly background.

Like 99% of everyone else, I’m thinking of Valentine’s Day this week, so I went with that theme.

valentine tag closeup

Hopefully this closeup shows the sparkle at least a little bit. Rock Candy Distress Glitter is very chunky! I sprinkled a bit of “regular” glitter on as well to make sure all the areas were well covered. The round stickers are by Bo Bunny.

Using a Tim Holtz die, I made a pretty pink rosette to compliment the pretty fluttery lady.

valentine tag rosette

I punched the center from red glitter paper and added Stickles to the rosette edges.  A bit of lace, ruffly trim and a sheer ribbon for the top, and this tag is ready for its Valentine debut!

valentine tag

A Fun Use for Scraps

February 13, 2015

Not long ago I ran across a wreath on Pinterest that had been made by winding seemingly random scraps of fabric, ribbon, trims and fibers around a Styrofoam wreath form. It was adorable! I printed a photo and left it on my studio table, and it’s been simmering on the back burner for about a month. A few days ago, I was sorting through my fabric scraps and came across a little pile of flannel pieces left over from making this and a similar rag quilt:

i heart muffins front

The second quilt, which is queen-sized, is currently on the bed in our guest room. It’s very similar to this one, except the hearts are solid pink and I used four additional flannel designs (also, there’s no name on it). It struck me that a “scrappy” wreath made mostly with these fabrics would be a perfect addition to the guest room.

I started with a straw wreath, as I had picked up three of them very inexpensively at a thrift store recently. I don’t imagine I’ll buy any more wreaths of the straw variety, as they are quite messy, but the price was right! I wrapped the wreath with scraps of flannel in various widths, then covered the edges of each pieces with lace, trims, ribbons and fibers from my stash.

It took awhile to think of a suitable focal point for the wreath; finally I decided to create three stuffed hearts sewn with raw, frayed edges like those on the quilt.

flannel wreath large heart

The hearts didn’t look quite right, no matter how I placed them, and I was starting to get frustrated. Then I thought, why not add flowers to them? Instantly they looked better.

flannel wreath medium heart

They got even better when I added leaves and then a ribbon bow to each. I thought it would be too much even as I was gluing it all on, but it turned out “too much” was just what it needed!

flannel wreath small heart

I took these photos of it hanging on our front door so I could take advantage of the great sunshine we’re having today, but ultimately this will hang in our guest room, perfectly complimenting the bedspread.

flannel wreath 1

I had so much fun making this! It took almost three hours and more than a dozen hot glue sticks, but I enjoyed every minute of the process (and only burned myself twice!). About 15 years ago, I got bitten by the wreath-making bug and made a bunch for a craft fair. I don’t know why I stopped making them; they are so versatile and almost anything goes! (Apparently I forgot to vaccinate for the wreath-making bug, because now I think it’s coming back!)

flannel wreath 2


Compendium Challenge #20

January 31, 2015

Once again I find myself getting a project done at the last minute! We’re having a blast at Linda Ledbetter’s fun and fancy blog for challenges based on Tim Holtz’s newest book, Compendium of Curiosities III. This time the sponsor is The Funkie Junkie Boutique, and what a great place to get all your newest artistic accouterments!

We have turned to page 40 in our Compendiums and learned some useful additions to the watercolor technique. I love Tim’s version of watercoloring and don’t do it nearly often enough. It was fun to pick out a stamp that would look great being colored in this fashion, and I quickly settled on one of the many mermaid stamps I have owned for many years. Unfortunately I can’t remember who makes this stamp (and forgot to write it down when I first bought it, as I usually do), but I just love her; she’s such a pretty lady of the sea!

mermaid tag 3

I used the technique as described in the book, adding some of my own special touches. When it came time for the spritzing, I masked off the mermaid’s face and most of her body, as I didn’t want any speckles there. After tearing the watercolor paper around her, I decided she was a good size for a tag, so I made the background on a tag with my favorite Tim Holtz background technique: cover it with various shades of Distress Ink and then spritz with water. I just love the look!

mermaid tag 2

I departed from my usual “everything is lined up and centered and straight” approach this time; which was so much fun! The paper had curled up a little from the water, so I left it that way and just glued the center down. The lace, flowers, mulberry paper and crepe paper were added in the same way; a little off-kilter and not quite firmly glued down. I need a lot more practice before I can do this kind of thing with skill, but I’ve always loved that “thrown-together without a care” look that some talented artists can achieve. (Of course, we all know it takes a very long time to make something look like it took a minute!)

mermaid tag 1

As usual, the final touches had to be Stickles. (I have all the new colors on their way to me as we speak! I’m a Stickles hoarder/junkie/collector!) I mixed Persimmon Stickles with Ranger Glossy Accents to embellish the floral lace, and made a couple of flourishes with True Blue covered with Diamond to tone down the color a little.

There are plenty of challenges left to go and loads of inspiration from the Curiosity Crew! You have two entire weeks to finish each challenge, so won’t you join us?

Sewing Journal, Part Two (or possibly Part One)

January 16, 2015

Little did I know when I made a sewing journal for the Compendium of Curiosities challenge, that my comment about Challenge #13 being “lucky” was prophetic! For, as it turned out, I won the random drawing in that challenge for a $50 gift card to Inspiration Emporium, whereupon I immediately purchased a whole bunch of Tim Holtz fabric. It’s still waiting in my fabric stash to be made into an amazing rag quilt.

I made a sewing journal (here) because I knew I’d need another one soon. I was quickly filling up a blank book I’d found at the thrift store with photos, stories and fabric swatches and knew I’d need to expand into a second volume (at the very least). Last evening I decorated the cover and now my first journal is complete!

As with the first journal cover, which is going to be the second journal (yes, I’m confused), I used a photo of a pretty lady at her vintage sewing machine and added the word “SEW.” These puffy vinyl stickers started out glittery white; I used alcohol inks to help them match the rest of the embellishments.

1st sewing journal 3

I left part of the background of the original book cover showing; it depicted an ancient Greek scene of two lovers (pretty people in togas!) with metallic silver swirls around the edges. I liked the edges and so left them bare. Along with the image of the lady at her sewing machine, I added stamped pink tissue paper, wide gingham ribbon, satiny ribbon yarn, lace, a beautiful silk flower, some Stickles swirls and a paper butterfly that I colored with chalk.

1st sewing journal 4

I had trouble getting good pictures; it’s been overcast and rainy the past two days, so the photos came out a little “gloomy.” But you can still get an idea of the design, even if the colors are a bit muted.

1st sewing journal 1

I love how “fat” this book is. The inside pages are heavy cardstock folded over double with slits in each corner to accommodate photos. I had a great time filling it up with journaling and pictures of my rag quilts and rag bags and can’t wait to get started on the first one I made (which will be the second one)!

1st sewing journal 2

Another Rag Bag!

January 10, 2015

A couple of months ago, I found a fabulous deal on batik fabric charm squares on Ebay: two dollars each for packs of 32! Early this morning I was cutting fabric for a flannel rag quilt shaped like the American flag for Dude (finally got all those darned stripes cut!) and ran across the batik squares again. I’d been wanting to make another “rag bag” and those squares were calling my name pretty loudly. (They were actually shouting; it was crazy! I had to shut them up somehow.)

This project takes 38 five-inch squares (but only 19 “pretty” ones if you want to use different fabric for the lining) and is so easy to make; you can see a very good three-part video tutorial here.

The best part of this project wasn’t the low cost, but how quickly it went together! I started at 6:00 and had a finished bag by 8:15, and that included all the snipping! Although after I was finished, I did take another half hour to add a big, pretty button and a closure as an afterthought. I got a large embossed metal and shell button at Mood Fabrics when I visited my dad in New Jersey a few years ago and he took us to NYC. As a big Project Runway fan, of course I HAD to go to Mood Fabrics! (I spent 8 bucks on the button, but it’s so cool! And yes, I did get to meet Swatch.)

Anyway, here’s the front of the bag. It’s not the greatest picture as I took it at about 9:30 and the sun was still pretty low and making odd shadows:

batik tote front

The finished size is about 12″ long, 8″ tall and 4″ wide. Here’s the back:

batik tote back

One can never have too many bags, am I right? And so much fun when you can make your own.

Normally, after snipping the seams, you throw a rag bag (or quilt) into the washer to fray the edges. I did a little “cheating” on this one by fraying the edges with a stiff wire brush I bought at a rubber stamp store a few years ago. The intended purpose of the brush is to fray the edges of paper and cardstock for a vintage look, but it frays fabric quite nicely! (Also, you have to be careful where you put your silly hands while doing this, because it is more than happy to fray your fingers as well!)

Mine looks like this, except the handle is purple. It’s a great tool to have around!


Now that Christmas is over, I can share two rag quilt throws I made a couple of months ago that were for gifts. The first was for my dad, a long-time hot-air balloonist. I used plaid homespun in light blue plus cotton fabrics with steampunk images, balloon images and sky/compass images. I had to dye the steampunk fabric, as it had a bright white background that didn’t fit in with the vintage look.

hot air 3

My dad reports that his cat, Yoda, loves to sleep under it! I name all my rag quilts, and this one is called “New Direction” (because of the compass design on the long strips).

hot air 1

Just ignore Dude’s lil’ legs sticking out from underneath!

The second throw was made from a “random” jelly roll I bought from an Ebay seller who makes them herself along with some floral fabrics I got at Joann’s to coordinate. I call this one “Flower Power.”

brown floral closeup

The yellowish fabric with the wavy stripe was from a “destash” lot I bought from an Etsy seller. I hadn’t originally intended to use it, but I didn’t have enough fabric to make it long enough otherwise, so I’m glad I had it on hand.

brown floral front

Rag quilts are so much fun to sew, and make great, unique gifts for people who live where it’s super cold!


January 5, 2015

So it’s already time for Challenge #19 over at the Compendium of Curiosities III challenge at Linda Ledbetter’s, where there is always a ton of fun and inspiration! There’s plenty of time to jump in and join us. Need motivation? Besides all that inspiration, there are great prizes to be won; this time the sponsor is the Inspiration Emporium, and I can tell you from personal experience that shopping there is amazing; they have just about everything Tim Holtz-related and they ship quickly, too!

For Challenge #19, we are turning to page 66 in our Tim-nals (HA!) – aka, the third volume of the Compendium of Curiosities – and learning the Frayed Fabric technique.

I will admit at the outset that I stole ideas from two of the “Curiosity Crew” this time; using a Burlap Panel for my background, as did Susan Mostek, and adding some swipes of Distress Ink (in my case, Tea Dye) to the fabric itself, just like Yvonne Blair. Thanks so much for the inspiration, gals!

Awhile back, I had printed some pretty images of little flower fairy girls onto fabric for a project, and used all but a few. I decided to use one of these as my main image so that I wouldn’t have to use any paper in this fabric project.  (I did end up using mulberry paper in the background, though!

frayed fabric 4

I had some black & white gingham fabric in my stash from when I made sachets a couple years ago; they were already cut into squares for sachets, so I had to get a little creative with those. And of course, I had to have a flower! I put it together from three different sets of petals and rubbed them with Old Paper and Tea Dye Distress Inks to make them look old.

frayed fabric 3I used the beautiful butterfly fabric and sewed a few straight parallel lines, a big “X” and a fancy zig-zag around the edges. (Super fun!) Layered on the gingham (also frayed) and the fabric image, which I sewed down on each corner, then added two colors of mulberry paper, a bit of lace and some Tim Holtz Tissue Tape. The final touch was a Tim Holtz ornate plate rubbed with a bit of cream-colored acrylic paint; I used the same paint along the edges of the burlap canvas, along with more Tea Dye ink.

frayed fabric 1

I think I could get addicted to these burlap panels! They are so much fun to decorate and such a great background for so many looks. Can’t wait to see how everyone interprets the Frayed Fabric challenge!

Love is in the Air

January 3, 2015

It’s only January, but I’m already looking ahead to Valentine’s Day. It’s right up my alley with the lace, flowers and frou-frou, and what better theme for the Compendium of Curiosities III Challenge over at Linda Ledbetter’s? This time we are making Pocket Pages, and they fit perfectly into the Worn Covers (as they are designed to do!), so I put mine into a Worn Cover that I’d embellished with paper from Tim Holtz’s “Menagerie” line and some pretty tissue tape.

I was only able to find the tag-sized pages at my local store, but they are quite versatile. I thought about sewing across the pages to make smaller pockets, but decided instead to make background sheets and glue my ephemera onto those; then it was easy enough to slip them inside the pockets. As I’m doing a Valentine’s theme, I first raided my image stash for a vintage photo of a couple in love and a sweet rendering of Cupid himself. Next I made a rosette from crepe paper and glitter paper using the Tim Holtz rosette die and enhanced it with Stickles. The final touches were bits of lace and a banner made of air-dry clay which I rubbed with Tea Dye Distress Ink.

valentine pocket pages left

The middle pocket contains a decorated manila tag, and I hinged a third pocket onto it so it folds out of the book. In the third pocket, I made the background with the same crepe paper I used for the rosette and added my loving couple enhanced with Stickles, a Tim Holtz ticket and sweet red paper flower.

valentine pocket pages right

These photos aren’t the best because I had to take them indoors after dark; I got busy with other projects and finished up this challenge at the last minute!

valentine pocket pages 1

We’re only on Challenge 18, so there’s plenty of time to jump in and join us at any time! Lots of fun prizes to be won (this week’s sponsor is the Funkie Junkie Boutique), but for me, the best part is seeing how the Curiosity Crew and the other participants put their own unique spin on the challenges!

valentine pocket pages 2

A New Wreath (Finally!)

December 15, 2014

So I’ve been putting the same handmade wreath on my door every Christmas for at least five years. It was time for a new one! I recently saw a wreath on Pinterest made entirely of paper rosettes and was inspired. Spent a couple days making 78 – yes, 78! rosettes, using die cutting pads by Tim Holtz and K&Company. The latter is by Brenda Walton; they call them “medallions” instead of rosettes. This was my first time using this die; I just love it.

brenda walton medallion die

I made the rosettes in batches; about 20 at a time. Cut paper into strips, die cut, fold, glue, assemble, then enhance each one with Stickles for some holiday sparkle. I used clear Stickles for three reasons: 1) They go with every color; 2) They tie all the rosettes together visually; 3) You can “mess up” and it won’t be noticeable! It can be difficult to keep on track when adding Stickles to the edges of the petals; colored Stickles would have made all the drips and flops very obvious.

Here are my finished rosettes, all lined up on the chest freezer! The freezer is a great place to do hot-gluing, Stickling (yes, I just made up that word) and other messy crafts, because clean-up is very easy and, more importantly, the cats are afraid to jump up there! (I do not know why.)

rosettes in rows

I used scraps of Christmas themed paper left over from several book projects, and about two bottles of Diamond Stickles. I’m not quite certain on the Stickles amount, as I actually used 3-1/2 bottles, but three of them were already used and half full or less. So I’m just guesstimating it was two bottles.

rosette 1

Awhile ago I found two straw wreaths at the thrift store for 50 cents each, so I decided to use one of those. I wrapped it with lace that had been on a $1.00 thrift-store pillow. There wasn’t quite enough to go around, so I added some from my stash that was approximately the same color. The lace from the edge of the pillow was straight and lace from the top of the pillow was gathered. I like the way the gathered lace ruffled up.

rosette wreath full

I had originally planned to use all the rosettes and just COVER that baby – but it didn’t look right no matter how many ways I tried to configure the rosettes. Finally I tried it with just one simple row of rosettes right on the top, and that worked out the best.

rosette wreath close 1

The pink velvet ribbon was left over from binding a spring-themed book and I had just enough to make a fairly decent bow.

rosette wreath close 3

Now what am I going to do with all these other rosettes? Good grief.

rosette wreath side

Compendium Challenge #17

December 12, 2014

I haven’t been able to participate in the last couple of challenges over at the incredible Linda Ledbetter’s blog (long stories, none interesting!), but I definitely had to make time for the newest, to use Tim Holtz’s Woodlands trees and/or Tinsel Twine in a project.

For some time now, I’ve been collecting vintage porcelain/ceramic vases, planters and ashtrays in the shape of swans, cherubs, deer and other pretty little creatures in sweet pastel colors. I love the look of shabby chic for Christmas, so I decided to fill some of the vessels with bottle brush trees with bead garland and mica-topped cotton batting for snow.

For this challenge, I picked three of my favorite swan-shaped pretties and used the Woodlands trees.

I can’t share how I colorized them (check out the directions on page 60 of Tim’s excellent Compendium of Curiosities, Vol. III), but it was fun and quite satisfying!

swan 1

The stars are from a pack of confetti; just the right size for the top of the tiny trees.

swan 2

I typed up the banners and cut them out, then outlined with Stickles. (Because everything’s better with Stickles!) On this next one, I also added Stickles to the star.

swan 3

This particular swan had a little chip on his neck, so I wrapped some tinsel around to disguise it. Unfortunately I couldn’t find Tim’s tinsel in my local stores, so I made do with a fancy yarn from my stash that kind of looks like tinsel!

So much inspiration over at Linda’s; the Curiosity Crew does Christmas so well! There’s plenty of time to join in the fun, and you can even win a wonderful prize from the sponsor, Inspiration Emporium! I was overjoyed to win this prize for Challenge #13 and had the BEST time shopping there. They have an amazing array of Tim’s (and other) products; I was thrilled to get some of his beautiful fabric and can’t wait to use it in my next quilt!

3 swans

I’m Totally Ready for Christmas Now

November 16, 2014

Okay, I’m really not. But my desk at work will be quite festive very soon! I went shopping with my BFF, Terri, and found this beautiful sparkly reindeer at Michael’s. Given his weight, I think he’s made of resin, with a burlap texture and a silvery-gold coating of glitter. Reindeer are my favorite icons of the holiday season, and with a 40% off sale and a 25% coupon to boot, I simply could not resist him!

In the next aisle, we found Christmas picks on sale, and I chose one in shades of green and indigo with glittery accents. I didn’t have ribbon to match, so I dyed white seam binding with Distress Ink reinkers (Worn Lipstick and Broken China) to make the perfect color ribbon for the reindeer’s neck. After tying a fluffy bow and adding leaves and berries from the pick, I glued an Artchix Studio image onto a tag I’d colored with Distress Ink and inserted an eyelet so I could tie it on with a length of green embroidery floss.

close up deer

Couldn’t resist adding a shawl of wide satiny lace around the deer’s shoulders, just for a little added extra shabby chic flair. The photo doesn’t do him justice at all; he’s really such a beauty!

deer plain

While photographing him, I ran across a dish of purple glass pebbles that had come out of a heart-shaped bottle I’d found at the thrift store a few weeks ago. I had left them outside in the rain and weather because they were covered with a yucky oily substance from the bottle. Now nice and clean, they seemed perfect for my deer to stand in. Serendipity!

deer pebbles


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