Blankets for Christmas

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Working at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts, I have found myself unable to resist the beautiful fleeces the store sells. And, since I have lost 80 pounds, my internal temperature has been thrown off and I often find myself cold — especially if I sit and work on the computer, read or watch TV.

So, I took advantage of buying some fleece on Black Friday and prepared to make myself a blanket.

I found this blog post for the directions …

The plaid is the Luxe fleece … the deer is Blizzard fleece. Both are soft, but the Luxe is amazingly soft!

Since I gave Matt a new sewing machine for Christmas, I let him actually sew my blanket for me. He did a beautiful job and it is amazing! I absolutely love it. It is so warm and cozy and has just the right weight. And, it looks great in my living room.

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I figure everyone should have one, so I’ve been keeping him busy making blankets for gifts! They are still homemade and designed by me, so that still counts, right?!

Mason Jar Pincushion

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For Christmas this year, I made my future daughter-in-law a mason jar pincushion to go with her new sewing machine. The idea originally came from Pinterest, but when I tried to follow those directions, it failed. So I ripped it apart and started fresh with my own way of doing things …

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I found a circle die that was about the same size as the lid and cut out two thin chipboard pieces from it. (I actually used the thin piece of chipboard that was in the fat quarter of fabric I bought. You do not want it to be too thick because then the jar will not close properly — that was the problem I had the first time. I also neglected to use the jar lid this time around in order to make it thinner.)

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Then I used a circle die that was about 1/4″ larger all the way around than the lid. By using it with the Sizzix Precision Base Plate, I was able to cut out the fabric easily with it. (If you have a Sizzix machine and do not have this plate, you need it!)

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Next, I placed one of the chipboard circles in the center of the fabric circle and used Elizabeth Craft Designs’ Transparent Double-Sided Tape to adhere it. (Scor-Tape or Red Line Tape would also work. The initial attempt used a hot-glue gun, but it was messy and thick and lumpy, so I opted for a strong tape the second time around.)

Then, I added strips of tape all along the chipboard circle and folded and pressed the fabric over the tape, leaving a few inches for stuffing. I added a bit of stuffing, and then sealed off that final part.

I added the second circle on top to cover all of the edges and give it a clean, finished look. Since my chipboard was white, I left it plain, but you could paint the circle first, if you liked.

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Finally, I filled the jar with ribbons, fibers and lace (but you could fill with buttons, pins, candy or anything you wanted). Then I put the jar’s ring over the little cushion I made, carefully pulling all of the stuffed area through the center of the hole, and then screwed it on top. It was a tight enough fit that I didn’t feel adhesive on the ring was necessary.

I love how it turned out … what do you think?!

A Handmade Christmas

christmas2016_candy_spiegelWhen my kids were little, I started a tradition of making them something special that was just from me. When I married my husband, I extended the tradition to include him. This year, I added my son’s fiance to my list.

Over the years, I have made my children personalized ornaments, albums, mirrors, calendars, posters, mugs, frames and more — all featuring photos I have taken. This year, I wanted to do something a little different. Since I am learning how to sew, I decided to make them each something from fabric.

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For my son, I cut up a sweater I found at Goodwill featuring embroidered hula girls. It is so him. But, since it was a girl’s sweater, I added it to a pillow for his couch. He loved the fabric I chose and didn’t notice the imperfections in the sewing!

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I figured my daughter has not gotten a new pillow since long before she moved out of our house four years ago (I was right, by the way). So I bought her a new pillow and made her a super-soft flannel pillowcase to go with it. It was a tough project … I waited in line for 2 hours to get the fabric on sale on Black Friday — only to discover that it would not work for the pillow. So, I went back to the store and started over. The pillowcase was supposed to take an hour to sew … it took me six hours, including a few times of ripping out the seams and starting over. The good news is she loved it and I now know how to do a French seam!

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My future daughter-in-law received a sewing machine for Christmas, so I made her a mason jar pin cushion to go with it and filled the jar with a variety of twines, ribbons, fibers and lace. Although this is a fabric project, I actually used paper-crafting supplies to make it. Check back on Thursday for a tutorial of this project.

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But, it would not be Christmas without at least one paper-crafting gift … so I made my husband a calendar on a clip board. This is a brand-new system from Doodlebug. They come in a rainbow of colors, but I kept this one simple in black and white for him. (He had been wanting a clipboard to provide a smooth surface to write on on his desk. I thought this would be perfect.) I included all of the holidays, birthdays and anniversaries he needed to know, along with some of the crops I will be attending, hunting seasons and gun shows in the area.

It was a wonderful Christmas with my kids and their significant others. We had tons of presents, plenty of Mexican food and lots of laughs.

Altered Shutter

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I have found a new love … altered shutters!

I know … it’s nothing new, but I finally got around to making one!

I made this one for my son and future daughter-in-law. She loves black and distressed, so that is what we did … (I apologize for the blown out photo … I had to lighten it in order to see the details.)

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The shutter was brown when I purchased it. I painted some random colors in places with the hope of seeing the color underneath when I sanded off the black of the shutter … it didn’t work quite as well as I planned (I think I covered it with too much black spray paint), but there are a few spots where you see the color.

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I used stencils from Wendy Vecchi and black glossy embossing paste to add a bit of texture and some fun words to the shutter.

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I used alcohol ink to alter a brass metal piece that I placed on top. Beacon’s 527 glue held the metal clip and topper in place.

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next came a bit of washi tape from Love My Tapes and Tim Holtz.

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And, some Piccolo pieces coated with Enamel Embossing Powder were added to the side.

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I altered a few old keys in alcohol ink and used a ribbon to dangle them on the side.

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A handle attached to the bottom, some additional clips and some photos of my kids finished off the piece. I really wish I had better photos because it is a stunning piece, but I was in such a hurry to give it away, I didn’t look at the photos first! grrr…

Throwback Thursday: Play Ball!

Here’s a project I originally published in 2010. It still hangs on my wall today!

I have always been a Detroit Tigers fan. My aunt started it, but many in my family are huge fans.

My father-in-law, knowing what a big fan I was, purchased a pin from 1984, when the Tigers won the World Series, for me last year. I loved it, of course, but I wasn’t sure how to display it, so I kept it safely tucked away.

Then, 7 Gypsies came out with these adorable letter tray shadowboxes and I knew I had found a perfect way to showcase the pin.

I used photos I had taken during various games at Comerica Park, along with a few of our ticket stubs to finish off the tray. Here is how I made it:

Supplies:

Craft Glue Dots®

Pop Up Glue Dots®

7 Gypsies Printers Tray

Papers by Karen Foster and Scrappin Sports

Metal charm embellishments by Karen Foster

Sticker by Karen Foster

Jersey by EK Success

Ribbon, buttons, photos, tickets and memorabilia

Directions:

  1. Measure and cut photos, tickets and papers to fit in the tray.
  2. Adhere with Craft Glue Dots®. You can use any type, but the Dot N’ Go are the easiest to use.
  3. Adhere buttons and metal embellishments with either the Craft Glue Dots® or Pop Up Glue Dots® to add dimension.
  4. For the 1984 button pin, I stacked Pop Up Glue Dots® on top of each other until they were high enough to attach the button portion of the pin without the pin getting in the way.
  5. Tie the baseball charm to ribbon and attach to handle.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Glue Dots Design Team.

Remembering: Sending snow to Guam

Today I am sharing an oldie, but goodie … this post is from 5 years ago, but I thought it would be fun to share again!My son, a corpsman in the U.S. Navy, is currently stationed in Guam. This will be our first Christmas apart.

He called last week and asked for me to send him his ornaments and I included a special gift from Mom.

It is a tradition I started when my children’s father and I were divorced. Each Christmas I give them a personalized, usually handmade, gift from me.  They open their special gifts on Christmas Eve and then I make them listen as I read “The Night Before Christmas.”

This year, since we will be apart, I thought I would send some of our traditions to him in the form of a mini wooden book.

It started with a mini album from KaiserCraft. I love their Beyond the Page line. You simply cut, sand lightly and cover with paper.

I wanted a winter theme, since he is living in the tropics, so I chose the new winter paper line from Bo Bunny.

I made a shaker box (super easy with Shake It from Impression Obsession)  for the cover and filled it with “snow,” in the form of Art Glitter and a Grungeboard Snowflake.

Inside, I shared some photos of him, along with the gifts of Christmas. I think he’ll enjoy showing his friends how cute he was when he was little!

In addition to snow, I sent him my love …Our tree (with Misty hiding underneath … she loves Christopher almost as much as I do!)And Santa … along with a photo that I know will make him laugh.On the last page, I made a stocking and filled it with a copy of “The Night Before Christmas.” I know as my kids got older, they only endured the reading to humor me (and because my husband told them that Santa wouldn’t fill their stockings if they didn’t make their mother happy), but traditions become important as you grow up, so I thought I would send it anyway.

Assuming he doesn’t read my blog, which I doubt he does, he should be surprised by his little book in another week or so … it takes a long time for mail to get to Guam!

Holiday Candy Jar

xmas jar by candy spiegel8I know it’s 85 degrees outside, but I was in a bit of a holiday mood and etchall was calling my name … I recently accepted a position as an elite etchall ambassador so you will see plenty more etchall projects to come ….

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I love to reuse food containers — especially jars. This one was previously filled with artichoke hearts.

xmas jar by candy spiegel2I used a die from Elizabeth Craft Designs to cut vinyl (this is from Cricut) to create the design. However, since I wanted the trees and landscape to be snowy and etched, I used the leftover part of the vinyl, rather than the part the die actually cut out. (I hope that makes sense) I adhered it to the jar and made sure all of the edges were firmly adhered.

xmas jar by candy spiegel3Then, I added a Peel-Off Sticker, from Elizabeth Craft Designs. Carefully use the squeegee from etchall (in photo below) to make sure everything is secure and there are no air bubbles.

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Next, I applied a thick layer of etchall. I pour some into a plastic container and apply it with the squeegee from etchall. A paintbrush just does not seem to get it on thick enough.

Once it is all on, let it sit for 15 minutes.

Then, use the squeegee to scrape it off and put it back into the container (it is reusable!). I then take a paper towel and wipe off as much as I can … this is an acid and it can “etch” your sink if you are not careful. Next, take the jar to sink and run the water and wash off the remaining etchall and remove the stickers and stencils. I then quickly wash the jar with dish soap. It is that easy!

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I did the lid while waiting for the etchall to work. First I cut out a circle from patterned paper and used my Xyron machine to adhere it to the lid. Then, I drilled a hole in the lid for the screw and attached the knob (from Hobby Lobby).

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Once the jar was completely dry, I added Glittered Peel-Off Stickers from Elizabeth Craft Designs. I love these deer and I scattered them around the etched landscape. If you carefully wash the jar, they will remain adhered.

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Then I added a ribbon from Stampin’ Up and some candy and the jar is complete.

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It took less than an hour and used mostly leftover products, so it was practically free! I think it will make a beautiful little gift. What do you think?

(NOTE: I received product from etchall in exchange for this post).