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

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!

 

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

 

 

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