Fall Leaf Cookies Tray

Fall Leaf Cookies

I’ve said it before but I just love Fall! and I love fall leaves. I love to recreate them in any way possible. I know in just one short month we will be celebrating Christmas but I hate to let go of Autumn.

While there’s still a bit of time to squeeze into my schedule, I wanted to make these cookies. I made them several years ago and loved how they turned out and actually forgot about them! So glad I did remember, as they are easier than coloring the actual dough (which is what I always used to do.)

Baking cookies

I think part of the beauty of these cookies is the shape of the leaf. Can’t remember where I purchased the cutter but it truly replicates an oak leaf.

Wilton makes decorating them easy! I used color flow icing for the yellow. The other colors were adding by simply spraying on their color mists in red, green and orange.

I know we have a lot to be thankful for. and I hope you do as well. Times are changing and life isn’t always easy, but it is a whole lot sweeter with special loved ones to share the journey with.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Diane Long

Queen For A Day

Queen for a Day Crown Cookies

With a good part of 2015 in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start thinking about the remainder of the year. It’s holidays, family gatherings, sports themed food indulgences and changing weather.

My journey took a bit of a detour; well, hit a brick wall is more like it. But we mustn’t forget the joy creativity brings us, even in trying days. Force ourselves if we have to, to get into the craft studio, kitchen or garden. To feed our souls as well as brightening someone else’s day.

Queen for a Day Crown Cookies

Don’t you just love birthday parties? There’s nothing like them! We recently celebrated a loved one’s birthday who doesn’t care for cake. Since I am a huge cookie baker, I was up for the challenge.

I’ve been collecting cookie cutters for years. There are so many things you can do with them it’s simply endless! They are an easy size to manage, and I decorate them over several days. This is especially helpful when making Christmas cookies.

I bake the cookies one day and store in plastic containers. You can also take a day to make several batches of dough and refrigerate for up to several weeks.

To make the icing I use Wilton’s Color Flow recipe and try to keep on the thick side. Keep it covered with a wet paper towel as this icing dries quickly. After mixing in a stand mixer I pour some out in a shallow bowl, take the cookie and dip top side down and drag a knife across to remove excess. Place on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Let them dry several hours or over night. Avoid stacking the cookies sheets until icing is thoroughly dry, otherwise the color comes out blotchy. I do stack sheets in oven overnight (to keep out of sight and wandering hands).  Its amazing but they don’t get stale once the icing is on.

Now they are ready for the piping. This is a Wilton Royal Icing recipe. It does have to mix for a long time and can crack or be hard to work with if it’s not right. Definitely worth checking out some videos for helpful tips. Now the fun begins! although your hand will get stiff from squeezing, you can decorate and embellish with any sort of sprinkles, glittery shapes or colors your heart desires. If you want, you can individually wrap them in clear plastic bags with colored twist ties or bows. Add a cookie to each place setting, add some with a gift of coffees, hot cocoa or basket of baking supplies.

Make someone’s life a little sweeter with something from your kitchen.

All the best,

Diane Long

Mother’s Day Lace Frame

Mother Lace Frame

After going to a recent trade show, I fell in love with this new (to me) craft called Hasty Lace. Such a relaxing craft. Can be done almost anywhere including watching TV. Pity I found this at the end of this dreadfully long, cold Winter. None the less, the sample shown were amazing! I just had to give them a try. Since Mother’s Day is coming up, I thought it would be nice to do something to show my appreciation that was more than just a card. You basically have two options. The main technique is using a very tiny ball tool with the stencil. You can attach it to a light box and just start poking. If you want to add more detail and refinement you can use a single needle tool on certain areas of the design. This is similar to Pergamano but with much less work.  One nice thing about these stencils is they come in relatively small sizes so you can finish one in about 20 minutes. An added bonus of the stencils is that many can be extended to create a larger design, creating bookmarks, photo mats etc. They have larger designs and scenes as well. I hope you check out the Some-Assembly-Required website (SAR). They are a wonderful couple with great products and lots of helpful advice. Have you discovered any new crafts lately? All the best,

Diane Long

 

Magnetic Tic Tac Toe Gift

Magnetic Tic Tac Toe image

Well, Autumn has actually arrived. It’s been quite a month of drama, a crisis or two, and packing my youngest off to college (sniff)

Nothing like some craft therapy to throw yourself into in times like this. I’m having so much fun with the magnetic sheets from Delfecto. So easy to punch, cut with diecuts or regular scissors (they are great for storing your dies too)

Magnetic Tic Tac Toe

Continuing in a series of handmade gift ideas, This tic tac toe could make a great gift for a male teacher (especially hard to get for) a co worker, just about anyone and simple to make!

The metal storage tin can be purchased at a craft store on online shop. The one I used is about 5 x 51/2. I had some black binding tape that I cut into thin strips and placed on the lid.

Using Spellbinders Font One set cut Xs and Os in the magnet sheets. Cut again using gold and copper paper. Take the metallic letters and run through the Xyron machine to adhere to the magnet letters.

With a project this easy, you can make a bunch!

All the best,

Diane Long

 

Stamped Wooden Box

Stamped Wooden Box image

I’d like to kick off Fall with a series of handmade gift ideas, but let’s see how I do. Not sure I’m ready to give up summer yet and I have been outside more than in my craft studio lately. That being said, I do realize how important it is to get a jump on the holiday gift giving season so here goes (and as always, please forgive my persistent lack of photography skills….)

Stamped Wooden Box

I picked up a set of 2 wooden boxes for less than 5 bucks but I think I will check out the different stores to see how the quality may vary. It was nice that it had the smaller square already cut into it, made eyeing the stamp even easier. The stamp was just a foam one I had but I do find many uses for it. The wood burning tool I had not used for years but had been wanting to do something with it for awhile. Reasonably priced and fun to work with. You may want to get some practice wood to try it on first.

wood box supplies

I applied gold acrylic paint to the stamp and stamped it on the wood. Took one of the finer point tips to insert in the burning tool and preheated. Traced around the design with the tool working towards me. Sometimes it can stick a bit and leave a larger burn mark but that is less noticeable when done. I painted over the design with the Lumiere Metallic Gold paint (the acrylic stamps better but the Lumiere shows up better)

wood box paint

wood box burn

Apply stain of your choice and add a urethane finish. You could also paint the box with acrylics and lightly sand to reveal design. This box could be used for any number of things including stashing a gift card inside.

Check out some other Homemade Gift Ideas to stitch and Ornaments to make

Let’s get crafting!!

All the best,

Diane Long

 

 

Gift Idea for Mother’s Day…Father’s Day too

Key chains made from polymer clay

It’s been a while since I dug out my polymer clay stash and I had been wanting to play so out they came. I set up my pasta machine, but don’t let that scare you, you don’t need to have one to create with polymer clay. Buy some of the softer clay brands that you can kneed by hand (they are usually marked Soft) if you find you do enjoy it, look for a pasta machine at a thrift store or ebay.

Mother’s Day Gift Idea

I always like to include something handmade when gift giving. What better time than Mother’s Day. Maybe it’s the old school memories of painted hand prints or noodle artwork that we gave as children, but it feels extra special.Keep in mind, this technique can be easily used to make a pendant, pin or earrings when sized appropriately.

A note about the photos- I just couldn’t get a shot of how the blue and white key chain looked. The white has an iridescence to it which I’ll explain in a moment but try as I might, my photography skills are lacking.

Polymer Clay Key Chains

I wanted this to sort of look of Mother of Pearl. so I grabbed some white  Dicro Fibers and ironed it in between some parchment. Kneaded some Pearl polymer clay until pliable. Cut random shapes out of the ironed Dicro Fiber and placed on the clay, folded it in half and ran through pasta machine. Continue to fold and put through machine in different directions until you can see the threads of the fiber showing through. I also added some Crystal Effectz for added shimmer.

dicro fiber trans

Press a rubber stamp into the clay pressing firmly and evenly. You can do this either by pressing the stamp down onto the clay or turning the stamp rubber side up and pressing the clay down onto it (sprinkle some corn starch on rubber first to prevent sticking) Cut out square with a shape cutter or clay blade. I like to work on a piece of tile, this way, I don’t have to move the piece onto a different surface to bake. Bake in the toaster oven according to manufacturer instructions.

heart stamp

I rolled out some blue clay, cut it into a slightly larger square.Made a small hole with a bamboo skewer and baked. After the pieces were cool, I spritzed with some Armor All (interior car wax) which gave a bit of shine. Attached the two pieces with super glue, added a wire to hold the key ring.

The heart design stamp was an old one from Stampa Rosa. It was nice because the heart shape became raised when stamped in clay. Had some other stamp designs that would have come out debossed in clay so I decided to make a mold. I just took some bits of scrap clay (ended up purple) and I stamped the design, cut it out and baked it.

stamp mold

 

When cool, I rolled some tan clay (combination of tan, gold, white, brown) making sure not to blend completely, I liked the variations of color.

brown clay

Press the clay into my purple mold, and got the positive image of the design. Added a hole and baked. When it was cool I added some brown acrylic paint into the crevices to bring out the design. Added wire and a key ring.

So, now I’m ready for Father’s Day too!

 

Christmas Poinsettia Tag

Christmas Poinsettia Tag

Wow is Christmas coming quickly this year! I just might finish everything on my to-do, to-make, to-buy, to-clean list. Of course back to back snow storms on the east coast are not really helping. I think it’s vital to keep tons of supplies on hand so you can execute a Plan B or even a Plan C.Couldn’t make it to the mall to get some shopping done but had lots of baking supplies on hand. I was able to prepare several batches of cookie dough to freeze for later. Always try to keep a stock of craft supplies and grab when they are on sale. Then the cabin fever is not likely to set in if I get inspired to create something and have plenty to work with.

Gift Tag

I love dressing up a bottle of wine, gift card or a batch of cookies with a handmade gift tag. You can purchase pre-cut ones or trace your own out of card stock. This tag is done with some gold embossing powder and a poinsettia painted with iridescent watercolors. Not as hard as you may think.

Add a personal note on the back. If you add a ribbon it can be hung from the Christmas tree. If you’d like step by step instructions, you’ll find them HERE

If you’d like more ideas and inspiration for the creative journey, sign up for the FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER  HERE

All the best,

Diane Long

Join in on Project Inspire here

Beaded Photo Ornament Sneak Peek

handmade ornament Diane Long900

UPDATE

Since I participated in the Holiday Extravaganza I was playing around and decided to do one more photo ornament. this time printing the image on clear acetate as I did with the tree ornament here

Just to show them all together, you can see the 2 printed on photo paper on the left and the two printed on clear acetate on the right. I’ve added a step by step instruction sheet PDF HERE

 

Beaded Photo Ornaments

Beaded Photo Ornaments

Hey, wanted to let you know about an exciting Holiday extravaganza happening soon over at rukristin.com. I’m so thrilled to be guest posting during the event with instructions to my Beaded Photo Ornament!!

holiday_extravaganza_square-600x600It will begin at midnight Friday. There will be a new guest post every hour. Also challenges, DIYs, tutorials, games, prizes, and a ton of fun!!! There will be a more comprehensive supply list early next week for participating in the challenges so head on over to the website HERE

We will also have a Facebook Event Page 

where you can chat, as well as Instagram and Twitter using hashtag #holidayextravaganza Hope to connect with you there!

All the best,

Diane Long

Cross Stitch Bookmark

cross stitch bookmark

Don’t know if it was the colder weather setting in, the holidays coming or what, but I had an itch to do some needle work. I had some cross stitch patterns in books and found this easy design.. Of course any color combination can be used. I added the monogram at the bottom, not following any pattern. Thought it could make a quick gift to go with a book, add on a package, or include with a gift card. I was able to do the stitching while watching an old movie (another thing I like to do when the cold weather sets in)

The canvas I used was called Perforated Paper by Bucilla which felt a bit thinner than the other cross stitch canvas I had but not sure if it is still sold. I counted the squares on the pattern to judge how big the design will be on the canvas. I allowed room for the border and decided how long I wanted it. Marked where the center of the design would be and began stitching.

When I was done, I found some black velvet paper sometimes called suede paper and I scored it on a score board about a quarter inch all around and then a second quarter inch. This allows the raw edge to be folded under, taped, then folded over again. I used a white chalk pencil on the score lines so you could hopefully see them a bit clearer.. I mitered the corners, and taped them down with Wonder Tape 

bookmark lines

 bookmark folds

If you have someone on your gift list who is a reader, why not spend part of your day crafting a handmade gift that they will cherish.

If you enjoy the projects you see here, why not sign up for my NEW crafting newsletter? Full of tips, ideas and inspiration, plus ways to save time which will allow you to add some creativity in your day! Sign up HERE

All the best,

Diane Long

 

Candy Corn Cookies

Candy Corn Cookies

After such a hot summer, it's nice to get back into the kitchen and turn the oven on for some baking. This is another cookie I often baked in the Fall, and loved bringing it to my children's school. It's much easier to do then the Fall Leaf Cookies but uses the same basic Sugar Cookie recipe many of you probably already have.

Divide the dough in four sections, put one aside, that will be the small “white” part. Take another quarter and divide into 3 pieces. Put 2 with the quarter that will be yellow, and one part for quarter that will be orange. If you are not sure how the colors on candy corn align, you’ll have to buy a bag of them like I did. (what I won’t do for research!)

These dough measurements are just estimates, you can always blend one color a bit into the other to make it work. Roll out the yellow in a long narrow rectangle about 1 inch high. Do the same with the orange, since there is less dough it won’t go as far, it will narrow as you build the layers, Roll the white and place on top. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze till firm. Cut into slices. I usually have to reshape them a bit as I put them on the cookies sheet. Make sure they don’t get too brown.

candy corn logThere will undoubtedly be some leftover pieces of dough that wouldn’t make a candy corn, just twist it around a bit, roll out and cut circles for some interesting cookies to eat. Enjoy!

All the best,

Diane Long

 


Trick or Treat Thursday

Well Crafted Wednesdays

Set of Handmade Cards With Storage Box

Handmade Card Set with Gift Box

It’s always nice to have some hand made gifts stashed away. It’s easy to forget a birthday, need a last minute hostess gift or have someone on your list who says “ you don’t have to buy me anything”

I found this great little suitcase at Hobby Lobby and thought I’d do something with it. It was a great size to put a set of cards in so I got to work.

I used a variety of different greetings stamps but stamped them all in the same color. I dry embossed a border with a brass stencil and cut ¼ from the edge. Added a strip of patterned paper over the top of the verse with enough tan paper to stick over the top about ¼  inch. Layered that over the larger piece of patterned paper from K & Co. I used the Life’s Journey paper pad. and added some gold sticker dots to finish them off.

I used some self-stick black felt for the lining (it’s sold by the sheet) I didn’t really do any formal measuring. I cut a piece for the lid by tracing around the outside of the box.

I took an envelope and marked the back of the felt allowing enough room for clearance, drew a line, then I made 2 lines ½ inch apart. I scored and folded these lines  I cut away the backing on these marks to expose the adhesive, then I put a little strip of cardboard down and folded over the other ½ inch section to make a lip. I measured again to the edge of the box and cut off excess. This little section is where a pen will go.

Now to make a section for the postage stamps, Again, I just placed stamps on the back of a piece of felt, allowed a bit for clearance, made a line, made 2  ½ inch lines, scored and folded. Removed the backing paper from just in between these lines, laid down a strip of cardboard, folded over the other ½ inch section to seal. Now I have 2 pieces of felt that each have a lip. These will be attached to the inside of the box after it’s painted.

I painted the box with  Plaid acrylic paint in Country Tan. I wanted a subtle look since the cards were fairly light. Surprisingly, the paint was close to the actual color of the box. I covered the painted box with some Distress inks from Ranger in Brushed Corduroy and Frayed Burlap. I applied the ink directly to a non-stick mat, sprayed the ink lightly with water, then applied with Cut N Dry foam.  I went in a circular motion than switched in a straight line as it dried. I heat set it to make sure it was dry. Went over it with a quick coat of Mod Podge to give a bit of a leathery sheen.. The ink may smear some but that even coloring is the look you want to achieve.

I added ribbon around the outside adhering with some WonderTape

Hope you find some time for crafting before the Summer ends.

All the best,

Diane Long


Flameless Candle Embellishing

Flameless Candle Embellishing

Embellishing flameless candles are a great way to personalize gifts and home decor. The first candle uses a rubber stamp from Impression Obsession, clear ink, sticky powder, and Martha Stewart glitter On the second I used gold vellum paper, a Martha Stewart punch, and the entire surface is covered in clear micro beads.(although it doesn’t show in photo) I also used a wedding photo covered in micro beads on a candle in a previous post. Lots more ideas on the way.

Happy crafting!.

 Diane Long