Friday, December 2, 2011

Tiny Winter Wonderland

Create a little Christmas cheer with a snowscape and a miniature reindeer.

* Glass cloche, 6" tall.
* Teacup saucer, approx. 6" diameter.
* 2 gold foil pipe cleaners, 12".
* Peat moss, 5" circle.
* Crushed velvet flock (Doodlebug): Lily White, 5.5 g.
* Styrofoam disc, 3" diameter, 1" thick.
* Red satin ribbon, 1/8" wide, 3" length.
* 8 mini jingle bells.
* Red metallic bead, 1/4" diameter.
* Miniature reindeer, about 2" tall.
* Wire-stem bottle brush, white.
* Snowy blue organdy ribbon, 1/2" wide, 18" length.

Tools & Supplies
* Spray adhesive.
* Metal cutting snips.
* Goggles.
* Red thread.
* Sewing needle.
* Hot glue gun and glue sticks.

1. To create the base for the winterscape, cut a 5" diameter circle of peat moss and glue it onto the Styrofoam disc using the spray adhesive. Trim the edges of the peat moss with scissors. Hot glue the Styrofoam disc onto the center of the teacup saucer.

2. Don your goggles and cut the wire handle of the bottle brush with the metal cutting snips, leaving a 1" trunk. Make the bottle brush into a tree by trimming the bristles into a tree shape with scissors. Press the wire "trunk" into the peat-moss-covered Styrofoam so the tree is standing towards the back of the scene.

3. Dust the surface of the peat moss and the tree with the spray adhesive and sprinkle with white flock to create a snowy look. Hot glue the red metallic bead to the top of the tree.

4. Sew 7 mini jingle bells onto the red ribbon. Hang the jingle bell necklace around the deer's neck and crisscross the ends. Sew the last jingle bell over the crisscrossed ends to hold the necklace together. Hot glue the reindeer onto the peat moss in front of the tree.

5. Place the cloche over the winterscape and hot glue the bottom edge to the saucer. Hot glue the gold foil pipe cleaners around the base of the cloche and trim the ends. Tie the snowy blue organdy ribbon into a bow around the knob at the top of the bell jar.

Saved By The Bell: Bell jars or cloches are used to protect tiny plants from cold weather. Look for them at garden centers or Google the words "glass cloche." Or repurpose a glass-domed cheese plate. We see them at thrift stores all the time! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Deck The Halls With Flea Market Finds

The flea market is our go-to place for bargain holiday decorating. Although Christmas items pop up year-round, vendors bring out the bulk of their decorations in September. On this trip to the flea market, we were on the hunt for Shiny Brites and other colorful ball ornaments to display in a glass bowl on a coffee table. Jennifer was on the lookout for pinecone elves to add to her growing collection, and Kitty was hoping to get a deal on a few Mercury glass ornaments (the heavy ones with mirroring inside) to showcase on ornament hangers on a bookcase. 

Although the Mercury glass was too spendy for our pocketbooks, we did find two-dozen Shiny Brites for $9. (They wanted $5 a box, but since we bought two boxes, we got a dollar off.) We found three pinecone pixies for Jennifer ($3 each!), and the vendor threw in a tiny bottlebrush tree that we admired. 

We also stumbled upon a bunch of hilarious old Christmas cookbooks. We think it’ll be a kick to set them out at our annual cookie party––we might even make some of the kooky cookie recipes. (What are Molasses Crinkles?!)

Crafters’ Delight
As crafters, we like to snatch up old craft books at the flea market. The methods are timeless, so we update the looks with modern materials and embellishments. This visit, we wanted holiday books with retro projects that are back in style, such as felt appliqué Christmas stockings. Jennifer found instructions for an old-fashioned pom-pom wreath that she plans to make in trendy teal blue with a lime silk shantung bow on top. 

We were thrilled to find a shoebox filled with vintage Christmas cards. We picked out a few with gold embossing, die cuts, and glitter accents. Kitty had the idea to cut the fronts off with pinking shears, punch two holes in the top for a ribbon, then tie them to wrapped presents. Jennifer thinks the cards will look great strung on a satin ribbon as a garland for her tree.

Hark! The Bargain Hunters Sing

We’re always looking for a big, unique item to turn into a conversation piece, and on this trip, Kitty was in search of some spectacular holiday find for her living room. We spotted a vintage store sign for Bennett’s Egg Nog Ice Cream that had a great holiday feel. And when we saw a neighborhood’s worth of lawn ornaments, from toy soldiers to reindeer, Jennifer toyed with the idea of placing one by the hearth as a focal point.

But the find of the day was a charming old wooden sled. We thought it would look festive leaning by the front door tied with a red velvet bow, or would make a great display for wrapped Christmas gifts. Kitty was careful to hide her enthusiasm for the sled before she knew how much it cost. (If they know you love it, the price will go up.) A cheerful gal in a cowboy hat said she was asking $38 for it, saying it was an authentic, vintage Flexible Flyer. We carefully looked it over and noticed the steering bar was broken and got the price down to $30. The sled didn’t quite fit in our cart, especially since Jennifer had just purchased a pair of giant illuminated plastic lawn candles (only $5 each!), but it was worth the extra trip back to the car!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Finger Puppets

Make pipe cleaner finger puppets and put on a Thanksgiving show! Make the finger puppet body by wrapping your finger with a pipe cleaner. Glue a pompom onto the top for a head and decorate it with two googly eyes. For the pilgrim, spiral a black pipe cleaner into a hat. Give the Indian a headband with a bent pipe cleaner feather in the back. For the turkey, bend striped pipe cleaners in half to look like feathers and glue them into a fan-shaped tail. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pie, Oh My!

The fall harvest is upon us and suddenly we have a hankering for pie. Pie collectibles, that is!

The flea market is the place for all things pie—from bake-off cookbooks to painted pie safes. Right off the bat, we found a pile of old pie crimpers, perfect for making decorative edges. Vintage pie crimpers can run upwards of $100 if the handle is made of Bakelite, but Kitty picked out a wooden-handled one and got the price down from $18 to $12. We also saw rolling pins by the dozens. Kitty fell in love with a marble one with red handles. It set her back $15, but it comes with the good blessing of every pastry it has ever rolled out!

Along the way, we saw some larger “pie” pieces, including a rustic sign that read “Mom’s Homemade Pies Baked To Perfection.” But the find of the day was a lemon-yellow pie safe with a wonderful weathered look. Pie safes are cabinets with chicken wire or punched-tin doors that keep the varmints out while the pies cool. The vendor was asking $325 for the antique one we found, but Jennifer bargained her way to $275. Easy as pie!

Four and Twenty Blackbirds
Since Victorian times, professional bakers (and grandmas!) have used ceramic pie birds to funnel steam out of pies and prevent them from bubbling over. Blackbirds are the most common pie vents, but if you keep an eye out you might be lucky enough to spot a blue bird, a rooster, or even the elusive red cardinal. These little birds are bursting with personality so get yourself a classic crow for about $15 and place it in a niche as a whimsical objet d’art. But be warned, pie birds are so cute you may wind up with a whole flock!

Flying Saucers
No country kitchen is complete without pie tins, especially ones embossed with phrases like “Mello Rich Pie” and “Flaky Crust.” Back in the day, bakeries had their names embossed in the bottoms of their pie tins. A homemaker who reused the pan would be reminded how much easier it would be to buy a fresh pie from “Mrs. Smith’s.” Legend has it that college students used to play toss with tins that read “Frisbie’s Pies”—a game that led to the invention of the Frisbee! These days, Frisbie pie tins can sell for $50 apiece, but we found a “Py-O-My Ice Box Pie” pan for just $3!

Decorating A La Mode
Ice cream scoops look cheerful even when they’re not serving up sundaes, so why not add a scoop of fun to your pie décor with a few of these old-fashioned dippers? Collect ice cream scoops in turquoise, green, and yellow, then hang them on a narrow wall, one over the other. You can get scoops for as little as $1 at the flea market so pick up an extra one for your gadget drawer, and you’ll be ready to serve anything a la mode!

Expect To Pay
Ice Cream Scoops $1 to $20
Embossed Pie Tins $3 to $50
Rolling Pins $5 to $20
Recipe Pie Plates $5 to $25
Silver-plated Pie Servers $7 to $25
Wooden-handled Dough Crimpers $12 to $40
Pie Carriers $15 to $35
Pie Birds $15 to $75
Pie Safes $250 to $2500

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Get Jiggy With It!

When we went to The Southern Women's Show in Orlando, we met the folks from Purple Cows and got to see their CraftGeek Wind It. What a cool tool! We just used it to make napkin rings for Thanksgiving. It's a wire jig with templates so you can easily bend wire into smooth spirals and swirls. (If you've done any wire bending with round-nose pliers, you know this is tricky!) We embellished the wire loops with fall leaves, but we couldn't help adding a little steampunk touch--a skeleton key charm!

CraftGeek Wind It 7100

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Thankstionary!

Recycle a children’s picture book by gluing a different color piece of paper over each page. Pick something you are thankful for like mom, kittens, and ice cream to feature on each page. Decorate the pages with pictures cut out of old magazines, rubberstamps, and magic markers. Try to do one for each letter of the alphabet.

What You'll Need:
children’s picture book
different color pieces of paper
magazine pictures cut out: mom, kittens, and ice cream
old magazines 
magic markers

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

8 Things To Do Now To Get That Cozy Fall Feeling

With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving around the corner, it's the perfect time to get in the fall mood!

Spring Into Fall
Welcome the season with a harvesty display on your front porch. Just load up an urn with a bundle of late summer sunflowers and wrap it in a bonny plaid ribbon. Complete the scene with a pile of painted pumpkins and a woodsy pinecone owl. What a hoot! 

Dress It Up
Swap out casual summery throw pillows for more dressy ones embellished with embroidery, gems, and sumptuous trims. Silky sari fabrics in spicy hues like cinnamon, ginger, and clove lend an air of exotic elegance without being too formal or fussy.

Make A Little Switch
With a small space like the bathroom, changing seasons is all in the details. Guest towels in terra cotta and Turkish blue add a dash of warm color. Earthy accessories like a cast twig dish topped with verbena leaf soap will harmonize with your bath no matter what your décor.

Get Back To Nature
Capture an autumn moment with a bouquet of birdy branches. Gather sticks and give them a metallic patina with copper and silver spray paint, then tie on organdy ribbons to echo the last-to-fall leaves. Finish with feathery faux birds perched on the ends to look like a flock stopping over on its way south.

Turn Over A New Leaf
Fall is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll when you set a rustic farm table with modern style. Die-cut leaf placemats in bold red let the beauty of the weathered wood shine through. And with cosmopolitan black-and-white plates and brushed silver napkin rings, you can take Manhattan to the countryside!

Savor Fall Colors
Adding an appetizing autumn palette to the kitchen is as easy as pie! Go for dishtowels and mixing bowls in colors like marigold, persimmon, and green apple. A red fluted pie plate with a recipe printed inside gives the look a vintage twist. Setting out your wooden spoons and cutting boards reveals them as handcrafted decorator pieces––that you already own!

Get Glowing
Put the whole house in the mood with an aromatic candlescape inspired by the great outdoors. Have the family collect acorns, pinecones, and seedpods from the yard. Place these natural materials in mismatched mason jars, then light them up with flameless candles in scents like mulled cider, spiced orange, and chai latte. Autumn aromatherapy!

Blanket The Room With Texture
Starting to feel a chill in the air? Then snuggle up with a warm throw. Hunt for fabrics that fit the season as comfortably as a favorite sweater. Plush wovens and faux fur in espresso and teal will inspire you to curl up and get cozy.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Candy Corn Cups Runneth Over!

Candy Corn Cupcake Cups

These Halloween party favors are super-easy to make. Just punch a hole on either side of silver cupcake cups. Twist two black pipe cleaners together and feed the ends through the holes. Curl one end up and one end down to make a kooky handle. Fill with...what else? Candy corn!

Friday, October 28, 2011

To The Bat Mobile! Let's Go!

Haunt your house with a bevvy of bats!
Make a spooky mobile for Halloween! Cut the bat shapes out of black craft foam. Stick on self-adhesive rhinestone eyes. (We chose green and lime!) Spray a big stick with Krylon Glitter Blast Bronze Glaze, then string the bats up with fishing line!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Witchy Pinecone Owl

Who's scary? Who! Who!

Here's a fun Halloween craft for kids. Collect pinecones from the yard and dress them up as witches! Make the hat and eyes from craft foam or felt.

Set one by the front door to greet guests. Line up a row of them on your mantle. Or use them as placecard holders for your Halloween party!

How To Make a Witch's Hat

Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bring old bottles back from the dead!

Cast a spell with these bewitching candlesticks! Start by cleaning glass bottles inside and out. Give them a thrilling finish with Krylon Glitter Blast in Starry Night Sky, Citrus Dream, and Twilight Sky. Use sparkly stickers to label each bottle’s "hazardous contents." Top the bottles with candles and give your haunted house a ghoulish glow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Instant Halloween!

Oh no, Halloween has snuck up on us! No worries. Jennifer took her gorgeous fall wreath and gave it an instant frightfully-fun makeover. She took a drugstore spider and wrapped his legs around the edge of the wreath. Enter if you dare!

Spider Attack! Instant Halloween Wreath!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Make 'n Takes Now Online!

We did a different Make 'n Take every day at the Southern Women's Show in Orlando. If you didn't get a chance to craft with us, we've put the How-Tos on our Web site. Just click on the pictures below to see each project.

Stamped Metal Jewelry

Resin Ring

Riveted Metal Pendant

Vintage Monogram Pendant

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good Times and Goodie Bags!

Our little Kia Soul stuffed with goodie bags!

We just got back from the Southern Women's Show in Orlando. So fun! We did Make 'n Takes every day with 50 Southern gals and gave away over 200 goodie bags! Krylon donated 50 Glitter Blast travel alarm clocks. Good swag! Here's a tip, though. Next time we'll stash that box in the car and not in our hotel room. We're started hearing tiny muffled alarms at 2 a.m! It took a few minutes for us to figure out what it was! Hilarious!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Southern Women's Show Orlando!

We are on our way to Orlando for The Southern Women's Show! We will be doing Make 'n Takes each and every day in the Craft Pavilion.

Make this Resin Ring with us Saturday at 1pm

Thursday 6pm Vintage Monogrammed Pendants!
Friday 5pm Super Simple Stamped Metal Jewelry!
Saturday 1pm Magically Easy Resin Rings!
Sunday 4pm Riveting Metal Pendants In A Flash!

Come craft with us!! We'll be selling our new book Steampunk Chic right after!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steampunk Chic is here!

It's here! It's here! Our new book just arrived! Hot off the press. The UPS guy just dropped off 2 big cartons full of Steampunk Chic: Vintage Flair From Recycled Finds. Whooo hooo! So exciting!

Our wonderful editor Pam Mostek would want us to tell you it's loaded with fun and funky steampunk crafts and step-by-step how-tos. Kitty's favorite is the mantel clock made out of a cigar box and Jennifer's favorite is the cupcake stand. Take a sneak peek!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stunning Runner

Give your dining room a mini-makeover with a sumptuous hand-appliquéd table runner. Start with felt for the appliqués––it's easy to cut, has body, and doesn't fray. Then embellish with a whipstitch by simply looping embroidery thread around the edges of the felt in evenly spaced stitches. Attach the chiffon to the linen with just a few beads to give the appliqués a light and airy look. When you’re finished, your table will be dressed to the nines!

To make the runner, you will need:
2 pieces of icy blue linen fabric, 17"x72"
(fits a four-foot long table)
3 pieces of brown wool felt, 6"x6"
3 pieces of sheer gold chiffon, 8"x8"
3 pieces of sheer gold net, 8"x8"
Icy blue thread
Black embroidery thread
12 square black glass beads
12 icy blue glass beads
8 golden brown glass beads
12 black glass beads
Sewing needle
Embroidery needle
Straight pins
Sewing machine
Photocopies of leaf patterns
Tape measure

How To Make the Appliqués:
Step 1
Cut out the leaf patterns from the photocopies. Pin one pattern to each felt square.

Step 2

Cut out the felt leaves to serve as appliqués.

Step 3
Pin one leaf appliqué to the center of each square of gold chiffon. 
Step 4
Using the embroidery thread and needle, whipstitch the leaf appliqués to the chiffon squares. 

Step 5
Center one chiffon square on one piece of blue fabric and pin (to find the center of the fabric, fold it in half and mark with a pin). Pin the other chiffon squares on either side of the center one, leaving a four-inch space between each square. 

Step 6

Pin a square of gold net on top of each chiffon square. Attach the squares to the blue fabric by sewing a square black bead to each corner.

How To Finish The Runner:
Step 1
With the right side of the blue fabric face down, fold the raw edges one-half inch all the way around and iron the edges down. Repeat for the other piece of blue fabric.

Step 2
Pin the appliquéd fabric to the other piece of blue fabric with the good sides facing out.

Step 3
Using a sewing machine and the icy blue thread, stitch the front and back of the runner together one-quarter inch from the edge. Sew all the way around.
Step 4
Using the icy blue thread and a sewing needle, string together three icy blue beads, two golden brown beads, and three black beads. Sew one bead-strand onto each corner of the runner.

Tailored Tip: For a custom-fit runner, measure the length of your dining room table before you head to the fabric store. Your runner should be long enough to hang twelve inches over each end of the table.

Right Turn
To turn a square corner while machine sewing, keep the needle in the down position, raise the presser foot, and turn the fabric ninety degrees.

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