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

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!

 

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

 

 

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

When Something You Create Becomes Meaningful

Homemade donuts

Holiday traditions can be time consuming, a lot of work and very inconvenient. It becomes so easy in our busy lifestyles to say “oh, let’s just skip that tradition this year”. Yet, we said that last year too, and what about the year before?

Our family, like many others, have members who not only remembered the traditions that were handed down, they kept them going faithfully through the years. Until the years got to be too many, and they were no longer able to tackle them.

I didn’t want another year to go by, another party to go by, without mom’s famous donuts being served. Did they take a long time? yes, Was it kind of a pain to do? somewhat, but it was SO well worth it!

It wasn’t just donuts, it’s what they represented. It was a display of the past, and a promise to carry on what is inconvenient but oh so important in the future.

I hope you get a chance to create something meaningful today.

All the best,

Diane Long

 

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