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

 

 

How to Dry herbs

How to dry herbs image

I just love having an herb garden! With little effort, nature produces tons of free herbs that last the entire year. It amazes me every spring to see the barren dead ground come alive and provide lush fresh herbs to be used in cooking, homemade scent blends, aromatherapy and more. Some of the herbs in my garden are mint, chives, sage, lemon balm, catnip, and oregano.

herb garden

Even if you don’t have a garden, you can have herbs, even tender perennials, inside on windowsill. You can also get herbs in season at the local farmers market and dry them yourself. I’ve found the best place to dry them is in the attic. The heat and dry air work wonderfully. If you don’t have an attic you can use, check with a neighbor. They might be willing to “rent” you the space in exchange for some herbs of their own.

Drying Herbs

When I purchase fruit, vegetables or herbs I always soak them in vinegar for a few minutes and rinse well. When I bring in herbs from the garden, I soak them for a few minutes in salt. If any little pests were carried in with the herbs, they will soon make a run from salt.

The easiest way to wash them is with a salad spinner. Let them soak for a few minutes in the basket, then lift out, rinse well and put the basket back in the salad spinner and spin. Stop the spinner, pour out any water, replace the basket and spin again. You probably won’t even need to pat them with a paper towel but you can if you like.

herb spin

The easiest containers to dry herbs on are the trays (flats) you get from the nursery that annual flowers come in.  There are a few different styles. I try to get the ones that are flat on the bottom but the other kind will work as well. Just lay the herbs out spreading them evenly across. If the flats you find have very large holes on the bottom you can cover it with a piece of screen.

When placing the trays in the attic, I rest them on small plastic bins (the kind in the dollar store that looks like a little laundry basket- has square openings on the sides) This way the trays are not on the floor but lifted up so that air can circulate all around. Check on them in a few days, they should be a crispy dry, with no signs of moisture.

herb dry

To make labels, I just typed up what I wanted and used a clear frame stamp. Stamp with clear ink, emboss with silver embossing powder. Simply cut out and run through a Xyron adhesive sticker maker. Store herbs in a glass jar in a cool dry space.

herb label

Dry herbs can also make a great gift! Take a jar of oregano and basil and add a jar of gourmet sauce and a pizza stone. Include a recipe for homemade pizza and you’re all set!

See what you can create with Summer’s bounty.

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

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


Great Craft Ideas for You

photo(22)

As I’m finishing some remaining work on areas of the blog, I want to turn my focus on upcoming projects.
One in particular I wanted to do was a series, One Stamp, Many Uses. I haven’t decided exactly what stamp that would be and I’d like to ask you for help. Do you have a favorite stamp that is your go-to? Let me know, I may end up having a full blown challenge with PRIZES!!

If you think about it, part of our creativity is stretching ourselves to see how much we can do, and how far we can go. Sometimes that’s with limited resources. We don’t always have to have the latest products and everything stores have to offer, do we?? (I say this as HSN has a 24 hour craft day!)

Moving forward, I would love to hear from you on what types of projects, tutorials, ideas you would like to see.. I appreciate you and thank so many of you for your kind comments and emails.

You can reach me by email or let me know by leaving a comment..

All the best,

Distress Ink Easter Eggs

Distress Ink Easter Eggs
I had so much fun last year making Sticker Resist Easter Eggs that I thought I’d do it again this year. Yes, my family will be eating scrambled eggs all week but that’s a small price to pay for a holiday tradition. Using a large needle, I poke holes in the egg slowly making the hole larger (Using anything larger may crack the egg) Blow the insides out, rinse and dry. You can tape one hole and pour some thin craft glue inside the egg and let it dry. this will make it a bit more stable in case you drop it- and you will drop it. Lightly sand the egg in case their is any rough patches.
I used Starform Stickers, letters and circles. Applied Distress Inks, Archival inks and Adirondack Spray, heat set between coats, remove stickers (I put the letter stickers back on for the photo) Spray with clear sealer. Added gold dot stickers to the brown egg and white borders stickers to the misted egg.
For How to instructions on both sets of Easter Egg projects, Click the PDF
Need to finish up some other craft projects before the weather gets too nice to stay indoors.
All the best,

Diane Long

Craft Frenzy Friday

Blog Hop Button Its Back! Colorful Spring Crafts Blog Hop + Giveaway

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