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

 

Snow Day Frame

Snow Day Frame

Wow, it’s been quite awhile since I sat down to write a post. Every time I’d start something, I’d get distracted, (or do more shoveling…) and I just didn’t feel like it.

Finally had an afternoon to myself so play I did. Loving these clear frames from Deflecto. Because the back is clear, you can play around with the different layers sandwiching things in the middle, attached to the back or adding dimension right on the front.

What better theme than a snow day! There are so many great paper punches to use and a tried using several different papers, glossy, vellum and even a few covered in translucent glitter.

Sure hope the cold doesn’t last much longer. Who’s ready for Spring??

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

 

 

Garden Tile Card

Garden Tile Card image

 

I really think that July is my favorite month. Seems to be the only month on the calendar where there are no major events to plan, deadlines, back to school, holiday prep (well, fourth of July is an easy one) There seems to be less cars on the road, everyone seems a bit more laid back, Things are growing, the corn is sweet, The days are sunny and the water is refreshing. So on one of these lazy days I wondered off into the craft studio.

Garden Tile Card

It is a pity this time of year is so brief, The flowers leave too soon. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy making flower themed cards, It lets me hold on to them a little bit longer.

You can use this technique with most any stamp and it’s fairly easy to do. For this particular flower stamp. (Outlines- no longer available) I stamped on glossy paper with India Ink. I colored the flowers with Prismacolor Markers. On the back I found the center and measured for four equal pieces and cut. Of course, you could do smaller tiles depending on the size of your stamp, being a square or rectangle design. I could have done this piece in 9 tiles for example. I would just take the measurement of the design and divide by 3 giving me 3 tiles across and 3 tiles down.

I went over all the edges of all the squares with a black sharpie marker. I just like not seeing white edges on the paper when I cut something out. Then I pressed the stamped side of the tile down on to a Versamark ink pad. Covered with UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Powder) that I placed in a tray. heat set. I did this with 2 more layers of UTEE. The final layer though, I didn’t completely heat with the heat gun, I placed them in the toaster oven at about 350 degrees on a ceramic tile. This helps the UTEE lay more evenly on the surface. After they cool completely, attach to a card with strong double sided adhesive.

Although I didn’t use the UTEE on this card, here is an example of using smaller tiles with words. It’s a great way to salvage a card you’ve made mistakes on. This is a Antique tile card using the UTEE.

Keep summer alive by creating something with flower tiles, and brighten someone’s day.

All the best,

Diane Long

 

Craft Storage Flea Market Find

Craft Storage Flea Market Find Image

Summer pastimes

One of Summer’s many pleasures that I enjoy is finding treasures and unusual things at tag sales and flea markets.  I think adding some one of a kind or refurbished pieces to your home gives depth and a rich character. They store memories of where you found them, what you were doing that day, or even how little your kids were at the time.

Craft storage flea market find

Believe it or not, when I laid my eyes on this, I didn’t even see the white cabinet sitting underneath the colored blue and pink little cabinet. There was so much stuff around it, and I was amazed that anybody would take such a cute piece and write on it with what I’m guessing was a bottle of fabric paints. I was thinking of all the sanding it would take to get off, and when I picked it up I saw the white one below. Well, that sealed the deal, sanding or no sanding, I had to have them both. They were marked with a combined total of $14 and with my negotiating skills brought it down to only ten bucks!

Wood cabinet flea market find

Wood cabinet flea market find

 

The process

It did take a fair amount of sanding to get that writing off but the task was much easier with the electric sander. My first mistake was spray painting on a hot and sticky day. It seemed to bring all the gnats out. As my shady spot was getting smaller in the afternoon, I had to keep the boxes closer together. The paint just dries way too quickly in the sun. My second mistake was choosing a spray paint with a lacquer finish. It was too glossy and there were imperfections that I didn’t get out with the sanding. This was going in my craft studio so total perfection was not my goal (ie; I’m lazy!)

craft storage boxes outside

After some re-sanding I went back to the trusty Rustoleum I normally use. Much better. After a few coats and a very gentle touch with steel wool, They looked much better. Also added a coat of paste wax to help the drawers slide better.

For the labels, I took a cereal box and cut out ovals. I used 2 Spellbinder dies that I’d taped together to give me an opening on the inside. Spray painted them with a few coats of gold. Keep in mind that if you go to spray paint something small like that, the spray will blow it away. I took a strip of green painters tape, laid it in a pizza box with the sticky side up and bringing the two ends down onto the box to secure the strip. Then I placed each cardboard oval onto the sticky tape.

When making the labels, I couldn’t commit to what supplies I wanted in each drawer. What if I changed my mind? What if I outgrew that drawer size and it didn’t hold enough? So, I came up with the general terms of Stuff, Things, Supplies and Crafts. I printed out 3 sets of them since I had a total of 12 drawers, traced outside the smaller oval Spellbinder around each title. I placed a piece of clear acetate over the titles and cut the oval through both the acetate and the paper.

gold oval

Next I cut narrow strips of scotch tape and taped the titles and the acetate to the back of the gold ovals and attached them onto the drawers with Wonder Tape

Craft storage closeup

Craft storage closeup

craft storage cabinet

craft storage cabinet

 

Now I get to decide what I’ll put in them. The largest drawer already has my Cuttlebug plates and the medium drawers can hold my Spellbinder dies. The rest will have to wait.

Have you picked up any great finds lately? Would love to hear about them!

All the best,

Diane Long

 

 

Mason Jar Card – Fireflies in a Jar

Mason Jar Car fireflies in a jar

Fireflies in a jar

I’d had this mason jar rubber stamp on my desk for ages, trying to think of something to do with it. It has been 2 years since I lost my brother and I was thinking about how incredibly funny he was. I started recollecting about all the many summer nights we used to catch fireflies: or lightning bugs as we called them. Well, one night our mom called us in as it was getting late. We’d collected so many fireflies that we brought our jars inside for show. My brother was older, so I really didn’t know any better than to listen to him when he said “take the lid off”

You can imagine what the house began to look like as these tiny blinking beings were spreading throughout the rooms. When I saw what was happening, I quickly jumped into bed and pretended to be asleep. Needless to say, that was merely one of the many, many pranks he pulled on us.

Mason Jar Card

Working with inkjet printable acetate. I stamped the jar (Inkadinkado) and the fly (unknown) with India Ink. Also stamped the jar on a piece of white cardstock. Colored the flies in with a yellow Painty marker on the front of the fly. Went over it with iridescent watercolor. Painted the lid with a silver Sharpie marker.

jar step 5

 

 

When the flies were dry I outlined the bottom with yellow sharpie marker and took a bit of Blending Solution on a brush and blended the color outward.

On the white card, I ripped a piece of scrap paper to use as a mask and added various blue inks shown (lighter to darker) with a Color Box applicator, also added a bit of pink. Did the same with the greens. Cut out the jar shape with a utility knife.

jar step 2jar step 3jar step 4

To layer the card, I taped the acetate pieces on the back of the cut out. then a piece of white vellum behind it, followed by a gold piece of vellum. This helps give the illusion of light shining through glass.

What summer memories can you recreate?

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!

 

Thomas Kinkade Rubber Stamps

Thomas Kinkade rubber stamps, Cornish Heritage Farms

I just love using the Thomas Kinkade rubber stamps from Cornish Heritage Farms. They can be challenging to say the least. Especially for someone like me who doesn’t have the best eyesight. Through trial an error I found a way to color the scenes in, yet keep all the brilliance that Thomas Kinkade is known for.

I made 2 videos to show you how. The first video is how to stamp them. The second video is how I color them.

Here are a few samples.

Thomas Kinkade Card Delft Blue

Thomas Kinkade Card Delft Blue

Thomas Kinkade Card with Verse

Thomas Kinkade Card with Verse

Thomas Kinkade Rose Garden

Thomas Kinkade Card, Cornish Heritage Farm stamp

Thomas Kinkade Card, Cornish Heritage Farm stamp

 

 

If you have these stamps I hope you try this technique. I would love for you to email me or tweet me a link to your card.

Happy Stamping!

Diane Long

 

Alcohol Ink Easter Eggs

Alcohol Ink Easter Eggs Image

Well I’ve done it again, I don’t know why I am obsessed with Easter Eggs but I am. Perhaps it’s the challenge of the surface not being flat or that its fragile nature can, shall we say, make or break the project. By the way, I could really use some more recipes for all the scrambled eggs I’ve got!

Maybe these first projects of Spring are so cherished, not only for the blessed Easter holiday they represent but the celebration of natures beauty coming alive again after such a cold dark Winter. It probably won’t be long before we start taking all the warm weather and scenic glory for granted!

How to Make Easter Eggs

As always, you want to start with hollowed eggs, you don’t want to use boiled eggs you will be eating. After they are hollowed and dry, you want to spray them with clear sealer. Begin making a design. I usually use Starform stickers. The butterfly used is from Elizabeth Craft Designs. I love these type of stickers because there are so many things you can do with them.Not only are they versatile but the designs are wonderful.

Using the applicator tool and felt, begin applying the colored inks of your choice, dabbing gently around the egg in a random fashion. These inks do dry quickly. I would avoid using the Blending Solution for this technique as I think it will have an effect on the clear sealer underneath. Simply remove the stickers and spray again with clear sealer. The sticker shapes have both an outline and the inside portion of the image and the Alcohol Inks do a great job of coloring the stickers as well.

On the blue egg, you will see the colored outline of the butterfly which was used as a mask for the egg to the right. I placed the butterfly outline on to the egg and added the gold inside portion from the sticker as well.

You can also refer to more detailed directions in the Instruction Sheet for Easter Eggs that I had done previously.

Make the most of these days!

All the best,

Diane Long

 

Stamped Winter Scene Card

Stamped Winter Scene Card

Had enough of winter yet?

It seems with a winter of back to back storms ice and cold, it can begin to wear on anyone. Maybe it’s the Turning Lemons into Lemonade motto or what but when the snow is falling, it looks spectacular. When the light hits the snow a certain way, it actually does look like falling glitter. You would have thought with all the days that I was actually snowed in, I would have gotten so many projects done. Truth be told, it takes a LOT of time to remove all that snow!

I did manage to make this winter scene card for a friend, somewhat different from the grey snowy card I’d done last season. It’s amazing how these stamps let you create nature’s beauty in every season. Here’s a video tutorial on using Stampscapes stamps  Their website is also a source of great information.

As 2014 is chugging along, I continue to hold onto focus, keeping my One Word in the forefront of my mind. Pursuing order, although at times I’ve fallen short, has made a tremendous impact on my life.

I guess we just have to keep remembering that in another month we’ll be turning the clocks ahead. Spring can’t be far off. right?

All the best,

Diane Long