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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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!

 

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

 

Valentine Keepsake Box

Valentine Keepsake Box

The thought of Valentine’s Day can be a little daunting since most retailer’s put all the Valentine merchandise on the shelves the very day after Christmas! With so many back to back events during the holiday season, a bit of a break is most welcome.

Valentine Keepsake Box

I do love receiving valentine’s and have accumulated a number of them, especially from my son and daughter. I wanted someplace special to keep them- aside from my other keepsakes, cards, and letters.  I had a bunch of cigar boxes someone gave me and had been meaning to use them for quite some time. If you don’t know anyone who smokes cigars, many cigars shops are willing to give, or sell boxes to you for a small fee. They come in so many shapes and sizes, I know I will find uses for the others throughout the house.

I took some red velvet paper and lined the inside bottom to give it a finished touch. I took some clip art (the couple on the lower left) printed it on acetate then layered it over gold vellum. In addition to the other vintage clip art, I used a doily, Floral stickers, LOVE sticker, and edged the picture of flowers with an edge punch. I didn’t have any antique keys at the time so used a punch and gold paper for that.

The center was done by typing Valentine’s Keeper on the computer, cutting out and layering with a Spellbinder’s die. I bet you have bits and trinkets that you could use on a keepsake box. Keep those loving sentiments in a special place in a box that’s pretty enough to leave on display.

All the best,

Diane Long

 

 

More Flameless Candle Embellishing

Flameless Candle Embellishing

With so many stickers, stamps and art supplies now available, the decorating possibilities are endless. I just can’t get enough of micro beads and once again I covered the Love words printed off the computer, wrapped around the candle and added the beads. The second candle couldn’t be easier. Simply take letter stickers of your choice, and add stickers such as these to have as a sweet accent for a baby’s room. Perfect idea to keep a variety of craft  supplies and candles in various sizes on hand for a last minute, yet personalized gift.

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

Fall Leaf Cookies

Fall Leaf Cookies
Even though Fall seems to be speeding by, I wanted to take some time to make my famous-in-the-family
Fall Leaf Cookies. I used to love bringing them to my Children’s class for their celebrations and to friend’s houses. Yes they take time, but there is a lot of love in them, just as the crafts we make take a lot of time to produce, but they are expressions of love and care that can not be compared to anything store bought.
All the best,

Diane Long

Serendipity

Handmade Stamped Bookmark

I just love using Stampscapes stamps. You just never know how the finished project will turn out. Coloring is done with regular dye ink. Applied with foam pads, nibs and even an applicator stamp. Bookmarks are such an inexpensive way to give a personalized gift or pick-me-up to friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. You can also include a poem or inspirational verse on the back.
All the best,

Diane Long