Monday, October 31, 2011

Make Your Own Monday: Baker's Twine

Happy Halloween!!  I know I'm a day late in posting this.  But it will go along with today's Trendwatch post, so just stay tuned for the next post and you'll see!  EDITED TO ADD: Be sure to see Wednesday's post for a different method of this project!

I figured I'd take the chance to post a few Halloween pictures. If this is going to be late, I might as well make it worth it, right?

I have to say right up front that my Halloween photos aren't the best.  Yet again, I insisted to myself that my iPhone camera would  be just fine.  I think I need to just put some electrical tape over the camera port to stop myself.  What is wrong with me?

Saturday night we went to a party at Trevor and Molli's house.  It was so much fun.  The girls were beside themselves with excitement!  Here they are in the car on the way.  Right before they both fell asleep.  You heard it right, from overflowing excitement to comatose in about 30 seconds.  That's Bryson kids for ya!  It didn't help that they had a sleepover at their friend's house the night before and there wasn't much sleep happening.  We should call them stay-awake-overs instead.

As we discussed last week, Hailey wanted to be a Black Cat and Samantha, a Native American girl.  Here they are waiting for the bus on Halloween morning.
Yes I did make Samantha's costume.  It was surprisingly easy.  I don't know why I was dreading it!  I picked up some faux leather material at the Walmart fabric counter.  Then, honestly, I just drew the pattern right on the fabric and cut it out. I can't believe it worked!  Hahahah!  The face painting is what makes Hailey's costume.  I got a little kit and just followed the instructions.  She was thrilled and it was so easy!

The funniest part of the whole day was trying to get Sam to say she was a Native American and not an Indian.  She kept saying, "But Mom, I'm dressed like an Indian!"  We had tried so hard to make something somewhat authentic but she just couldn't get the more politically correct term. She wanted to be Kaya from the American Girl books.  I copied one of the costumes from the illustrations and the face painting we copied from the historical information at the back of the book.  It was fun and she was thrilled that I took the time to make the costume.  She only had to harass me every day for two weeks to get it done. That's actually pretty good for considering my normal track record on things!

Look, even Bandit got in the Halloween spirit!
Poor Bandit was very annoyed by the costume.  He didn't like to walk around in it so I had to carry the little guy around.  He hardly even had the courage to bark at any of the trick or treaters! There was some subdued barking at a kid or two in scream masks and at a couple of little ballerina girls but that was it.  Oh yes, and at the pizza delivery lady dressed as a cop.  At least I think that's what she was.  She had on a police shirt and badge but was wearing a tutu.  And she gave me pizza.  So I guess we're good with it!

Okay, on with today's little tutorial!

Today you are going to learn to Make Your Own... Baker's Twine

Baker's twine is a the new hot "ribbon equivalent" these days.  You can buy it in lots of colors now.  Unfortunately, it's pretty pricey.  So, I figured, why not make my own?  I've seen several tutorials around for making it.  Here's my version.  Do I think it looks just like the real stuff?  No, not really.  But it does look pretty on a project and if you aren't too picky, it will do.

The process is simple.  Put some tape on a ruler, wrap some string around said ruler, then color the string with permanent markers.  That's it!

Variations above are from left to right: Black Sharpie on White Cotton, Pink Copic on White Cotton, Mixed Copics on Ecru Cotton, Navy Copic on White Cotton

I tried a couple of different markers.  The Sharpie-type of permanent marker works good for getting fairly precise lines, but I found that the color often didn't make it all the way through the string so it looks kind of spotty when it's removed from the ruler {see the one all the way on the left in the picture}.  My Copic markers worked really well at getting the color all the way through but because of the bleed factor it didn't make very clean precise lines between the color and the white.  Overall I liked the Copic look better on the finished product.  Copics have the added advantage of being blendable so you can get just the right color.  You could try both and decide for yourself!

For the string, I used cotton crochet thread for the string and I think it worked just beautifully.  It's easy to tie and knot in general so it's a nice product to use in crafting.

Here's the tutorial, just click on it to open it larger and/or to save it.

And, here are a couple of recent projects I made using my homemade Baker's Twine.  What do you think?
Blue and white Baker's Twine on my Joy Fold Card.
Orange and White Baker's Twine on my Halloween Wreath.

What kinds of things will you make with this tutorial!  Leave me a comment below.  And if you do make something, leave a link below in the comments section.  I'd love to see it!

Time to get crafty, people!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Fantabulous Friday Freebie: Last Minute Halloween Decorating + Product Special

Happy Friday and Happy almost Halloween!  And for me and Victor it's Happy Anniversary! We've been married for eleven years now.  Time sure flies when you are having fun.

Or does it?  If you are like me, when you look back on 10+ years it is astounding how much has happened.  Frankly, I'm astounded by how much happened in the first year.  I remember everyone in the office thought we were cursed.  Two weeks after our wedding, Alex, my youngest step-son {11 at the time} was in a terrible car accident where the driver was killed.  He was sitting next to her in the front seat and was lucky enough only to suffer two broken legs.  It was a very, very sobering experience for the whole family.  Well, I doubt it was sobering for Alex, more like traumatic.  I'm so grateful he wasn't hurt worse.

You'd think that would be enough, but just a month or two later, Victor was in a car accident and ended up upside-down in a small river near our house.  Amazingly, he wasn't hurt at all.  Take that, curse!

We thought we were home free for a while, then just over a year later on New Years Day, 2002, at about 8:00 in the morning, our apartment complex had a terrible fire.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.  The apartment next to us was completely destroyed by the fire and we found ourselves homeless.  We truly believe we were spared by Heavenly Father.  In addition to the destroyed apartment next door, the fire destroyed the attic above our apartment.  All we suffered was some minor smoke damage and some melted plastic in our storage closet on the landing.   The five of us lived in my brother's attic for the next three months while we shopped for a house.

Such experiences surely strengthened our marriage and our family.  So take that, too, curse! Some pretty awesome things have happened over the past 11 years, as well.  Two beautiful little girls were born into our family.  Samantha and Hailey have certainly changed our lives in amazing ways.  Two of our boys have gotten married and started families of their own.  Those two little granddaughters of ours are the greatest gift our boys could ever have given us.  In the meantime, we moved to Arizona.  AND I got to pursue my dream of having my own creative business.  Who could really ask for more?  Of course, I wouldn't turn down being magically skinny or large buckets of money, but hey, who would?  I'm happy with what I have though.  Life is good.

What's that annoying cliche that you see done up in vinyl a little too often?  Oh right... "All because two people fell in love."  It's super sweet, but I suppose it's true.  Maybe I'll cut it in vinyl and put it up in the house somewhere.  Hmmm.... probably not, but it was a nice thought there for a minute.

Blah, blah, blah,  blah.... enough with the chatter, Jan... you promised us a freebie, remember? Oh right!  Sorry, I got all caught up in the reminiscing.  I'll get to the freebie in a minute, I promise.  Gotta tell you about my last minute Halloween decorating first!

The other day, Victor said to me, "Are you going to carry the bat theme inside the house?"  And I said to myself, "Hmmm... why not?"  And then I made these awesome Chandelier files.  And by awesome I mean, amazing!  I'm totally in love with these things!  I've just got to show you since they are up in the store now:

Did you know that I have a special offer going on these right now?  If you buy the Swirly Style Chandelier Collection this weekend you'll get the Halloween Chandeliers for free! That's an awesome deal!  ** Remember you have to put the Halloween one in your cart when you buy the collection to get the deal.  **

I cut the Halloween Chandelier in some black wall vinyl and put it over my Halloween display. Because I only have 12" wide vinyl, I used the 1/2 chandelier and cut it twice.  The second time I mirrored it before I cut it out.  Then I just lined them up on the wall.  You can't even tell it's two pieces.  One of my piano students asked me, "Did you paint that on your wall?"  Hahahaha!

Because I wanted to continue the bat theme, I also threw some more bats on the wall to go along with the chandelier.  This time I used the bats out of my Halloween Twisted Tree file.  I think these are my favorite bats of all my designs!  Who knew that one tiny element in that whole design would be so integral to my overall decor?

I couldn't decide what to do on the shelf.  The pumpkin eventually made it's way outside by the front door.

One of the bats even made it's way onto the clock.  Here's a good creepy story for you.  The night after I put the bat on the clock, the clock stopped working..... ooooooooOOOOOooooooooohhhhh....scary!  Nah, was just a dead battery.

Okay, here's your freebie.  I know you are thinking, FINALLY!  I decided that since I liked that bat so much, I'd share the design it came from with you.  So without any further yakking:

Today I'm sharing my die-cut design:  Halloween Twisted Tree

Boring but Important Legal Stuff: My terms of use are included in each zipped download. If you have any questions about how you may use this file, please read it. By clicking to download the file, you are agreeing to abide by the terms. If you'd like to share it, please don't. Rather, send your friends a link to this blog post. Once it's no longer available as a freebie, you might be tempted to share it with someone. Please don't! 'Nuf said!

Click to download your preferred file type.  This download will be available for the next 24 hours so get it while it's hot!

Sorry!  This download has expired!  Look for this design in the Sam & Hailey Designs Store!

As always, if you make something with this design, feel free to post it on your blog or in the VDBC gallery and post a link down in the comments section!

Time to get crafty, people!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Color Swatch Thursday: Pumpkin Patch

Halloween is upon us!  Don't forget to take lots of pictures at the pumpkin patch.  I always seem to get there without my camera.  At least I have a semi-decent camera in my iPhone.  It does the job in a pinch.  After you get those photos, don't just let them languish away on your computer.  They will feel so neglected!  Time to preserve those memories in a scrapbook.  And I've got just the right color scheme for you to use for it, too.

This weeks color swatch is: Pumpkin Patch

I snapped this photo of the price display at the farm last Saturday.  They always get the most perfect pumpkins for their display.  I only seem to be able to find malformed ones that look like some bald guy's head.  Oh well!

This swatch set includes some vibrant oranges, of course, but also a nice dark chocolatey brown, a splash of soft green, and don't forget the blue of the sky on a gorgeous day at the farm!

I hope this inspires you to make something. Feel like making something with this color swatch set?  Feel free to post it on your blog and leave a link in the comments section below.

Time to get crafty, people!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Double Project Wednesday: No-Carve Pumpkin + Halloween Wreath

Are you excited for Halloween yet?  My kids are, as usual.  Hailey has decided that she wants to be a Black Cat.  I think I can handle that!  A friend of ours has a tail and ears she can borrow.  I just need to pick up a black body suit and tights and she will be good to go!  Samantha, on the other hand, has it in her mind to be Pocahontas.  Not necessarily the Disney Pocahontas, but a Native American girl.  She's been reading the American Girl books and one is about a Native American girl.  That's where the idea for the costume came from. That leaves it to me to pull it off! Last year I made princess dresses for the girls.  Hailey was Cinderella and Samantha was Tiana {from Princess and the Frog}.  They were so cute!  Once again, I neglected to blog last Halloween {did I just take the whole year off, or something?}, so I guess I should share some pictures from last year.  The photos aren't very good. I don't know why I continue to insist I can take good pictures with my phone.  I guess you just go with what's handy.

So, although I am completely capable of sewing a Native American Girl dress for Samantha, I'm totally not wanting to do it.  Last year I wasn't really working and so I had a ton more time to do things like that.  I need to just do it.  I shouldn't allow work to keep me from doing the things I love with my kids.  In later years, Sam might not remember what she was for Halloween this year, but she will remember that I took the time to do this service for her.  I'll have to keep it simple, though.  Last year I think I went a little over the top.  Gotta keep it all in perspective.

Okay, now that I've made you look at some pictures of my kids, it's time for some quick and easy Halloween decorating ideas!

Project #1 is: No-Carve Pumpkin

First up, the easiest way to decorate a pumpkin.  You will need a cutting machine for this project.  If you don't have one... well.. why not?  Maybe just become best friends with someone who has one.

I don't particularly enjoy carving pumpkins.  My main reason is because of the mess.  Now, if you know me, you'll know that my house is one big pile of mess.  I always point out my lack of housekeeping skills when people say how creative I am.  Perfect, I certainly am NOT.  The truth is, I don't like the mess of the pumpkin guts because I don't want to have to clean it up!  We got a large pumpkin at the farm last Friday and I've agreed to allow carving as long as it's done outside and I don't have to clean up after it.  I'm trying, just barely.

I prefer pumpkins in their natural state.  Then I can bake them into pies.  Mmmmm... delicious! My solution is to decorate them with vinyl!  I think it took me longer to get out the vinyl and cut it off the roll than it did to cut it and apply it.  I'm not even writing a tutorial on this.  Just do it!

I used the tree, raven and bat from one of my new designs, Page Scene Haunted House.  You can use whatever design and you'll be done in no time!  It certainly adds an extra element to my creepy shelf.  This is on top of my piano music bookshelf.  My students are loving it!  The effect is especially cool on a white pumpkin.  I wonder if these are good for pie?  I guess we will find out!

Project #2 is: Halloween Wreath

Here's another relatively quick and easy project idea.  No vinyl, this time {shocking, I know!} but I did use my cutter to make the banner.  I'm sure you could use a pre-made banner or even cut your own by hand if you don't have a die cut machine.  I went with a little E.A. Poe theme.  By the way, you can read all about the popularity of Ravens on this weeks Trendwatch Tuesday and also watch a great rendition of Poe's The Raven while you are at it.

I looked all over the craft store for a black wreath but couldn't find one.  I purchased a plain grapevine wreath about 20" in diameter for a few dollars.  I figured since I was painting those little pumpkins to look like mercury glass, I could just spray paint the wreath while I was at it.  It definitely took a lot of paint to get in all the nooks and crannies of the wreath.  I think it turned out great.  I love the glossy look of the paint.  I used a few of my painted pumpkins in the wreath, too.

I also decided to use some autumn flowers I got on sale to add to the wreath.  For extra creepyness, I painted them and a few leaves black, too.  I didn't want to add a lot, but I love how these few little things add to the wreath overall.

My only word of warning on this project is... while it may seem like an easy task to spray paint a few flowers and leaves, you may be surprised when you blast that first leaf with the paint and it flies away.  You will then be tempted to just pick up the leaf and hold it while you spray it.  Trust me when I say, this is really not a good idea.  Unless, of course, you want to be best friends with a cotton ball and bottle of nail polish remover followed by a scrub brush for the next hour.  Better to use a stick or something to hold the leaves and flowers in place while you spray them.  I'm sure I'll remember to do that next time.... right.

Do you need a tutorial for this one?  I used hot glue to assemble everything.  The banner is made from my Flag Banners 3 design with some letters added.  The patterned paper is from Teresa Collins and the solid is Colormates Treasures.  I tied it all together with some homemade bakers twine.  Easy peasy!  No tutorial necessary  just get out some of your supplies and get inspired.

Do you feel creative yet?

Time to get crafty, people!

Linked at:

Tip Junkie handmade projects
get your craft on button

The Shabby Nest

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trendwatch Tuesday: Ravens

Whoa, one week before Halloween and the feathers are flying!  Raven feathers that is!  It's been the year of the bird and the year of the owl in the design world recently.  Could it be the year of the raven?  Will we be seeing the raven dressed up in a Santa suit?  Bunny ears?  Probably not, but this certainly seems to be the "Season of the Raven."  Raven's are popping up everyone.  And, frankly, I'm loving it.  I'm not a blood and guts Halloween fan.  I'm more of an Edgar Allen Poe Halloween fan.  I prefer the creepy, vintage macabre of Poe over just about any other form of horror Halloween.

My favorite Simpson's episode?  It has to be the very first Annual Treehouse of Terror episode featuring James Earl Jones' reading of Poe's The Raven.  Best episode ever, in my humble opinion.

Linking for the video. Hope it works!

So, with that little introduction...

Today's Trendwatch is: Ravens

They're perching just about everywhere and the site I've seen the most on?  Definitely

Check out these lovelies hanging out on a front porch.  There's even a tutorial on how to make them.

Here's a tutorial on how to make cobwebs from MS.  But what caught my eye were the ravens eating out of the candy dish.  Love it!
Lastly, why not make your own No-Sew Raven Costume!  I'm not much for dressing up but this one tempts me.

Another Go-To Decorating site is Better Homes and Gardens (  Lots of ravens spotted there, too.
Ravens in a dead tree, a spooky centerpiece.
This Bed Dead & Breakfast sign with the waiting ravens cracks me up.
Add a little classic Poe to your decor with the caged bird.
In the Papercrafting universe... AKA the Paperverse... why not try a little Raven Flocked Paper from the My Minds Eye Haunted line.  Ravens?  Flocked?  On Kraft Paper?  Why yes, I'll have seconds please!
Even Stampin Up is getting on the Raven bandwagon in their 2011 Holiday Mini Book.  Their raven is dressed up as a clown, though. How humiliating.  Nevermore!

How about a printable sheet from The Raven by EA Poe before you go?  Click to enlarge and then right click to download.

Hope this gets you all riled up for some spooky {but not gory} Halloween fun!

Time to get crafty, people!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Make Your Own Monday: Faux Mercury Glass Pumpkins

Ahhh... Monday again... most people are not a fan of Monday's and I'm not really either.  It means I have to get up at 5:45 and wrangle the girls to the bus.  But I do enjoy the absolute quiet that settles over the house when I get back from the bus stop.  It's still early enough at 6:45 to have that super quiet feel.  Love it!

This past weekend we went to Apple Annie's in Willcox, AZ for a day of fun.  We had such a great time last year that we had to do it again!  This time we wen't with some of our older kids, Trevor with his wife, Molli, and little girl, Alana, and our other son, Alex.  We had lunch in the orchard, bought some yummy fudge {which I had for breakfast today, shame!}, got happily lost in their ginormous corn maze, ate some shaved ice, and went on a hayride to pick pumpkins.  They day was only marred by Hailey splatting face first in the pumpkin patch {those vines are prickly!} and someone making off with the big pumpkin Trevor and family had picked out.  Overall though, it was a great day!  I took some cute pictures that I just had to share.
Eat a hotdog in the middle of an apple orchard? Why yes, I think I will, thank you very much!
The girls got to make their own jump ropes with a rope maker.  They thought this was awesome!
The apples of my eye, for sure!
The corn maze was awesome.  There was a bridge we came upon in the middle of it that allowed you to see the whole thing from the top.  Towards the end, Victor and I were "accidentally" separated from the others.  We could hear them but they didn't know where we were.  It was too funny to hear the girls talk about what would happen if we got lost in there.
Gotta share cute little Ali hanging out in the pumpkin wagon.  She was starting to get pretty tired.
 Hailey in the pumpkin wagon being... well... Hailey.
My favorite picture of the day: Ali trying to help herself to the Tip Pumpkin.  Hahahaha!

Okay, now that I've forced you to sit through a slide show of  our family outing.... on with the show!

I've decided to try a little something new on my blog.  I want to attempt a new Monday series called "Make your Own Monday."  This series would focus on making your own versions of popular products for less, plus some interesting tutorials on crafting techniques, with the occasional project thrown in.

Today you are going to learn to Make Your Own... Faux Mercury Glass Pumpkins

I came across a tutorial on the blog-o-sphere for doing this recently.  I'll be darned if I can find it again!  In looking around there are several tutorials out there for creating a mercury glass effect.  Some are more authentic looking than what I've done, but they seemed a lot more involved.  I like how easy this method was and it looks pretty cool.  I might try some other methods later.

Essentially, you start out with a cheap-o pumpkin {or other object there's no saying this has to be pumpkins} and end up with a cool-shiny-mottled-silver-and-black pumpkin.
^-- This... to That.. --v
What you'll need is some pumpkins or other objects, a can of shiny black spray paint, and a can of shiny metallic silver spray paint.  I discovered later that there is a product called Krylon Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint.  If I do this again, I'm totally trying that instead of the regular metallic silver I used.  Don't forget the newspaper and most importantly, folks, do this outside! Do I need to tell you that?  Yeah, I probably do.  Maybe not YOU specifically, but it's those other people who've never spray painted before.  I was a little woozy after doing this outside! Spray painting inside is just right out.
You can see in this photo the difference between just painting  them silver.  The little gourd at the front is just spray painted silver.  The one next to it has the mercury glass effect.  Totally different, don't you think?
The wet black spray paint under the light coating of silver really gives depth and dimension to this project.

Here is the tutorial.  If you are having trouble reading it or would like to save it for later, just click on the image to open it larger.

As always, if you make something based on this tutorial, feel free to post it on your blog or in the VDBC gallery and post a link down in the comments section!

Time to get crafty, people!

Linked at:

Tip Junkie handmade projects
get your craft on button

The Shabby Nest
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