Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Week Away

Getting ready for the "TRIPLE PLAY BLOG HOP" in one week!  Work has began on my ideas using the Sizzix dies designed by Brenda Pinnick, Eileen Hull and Karen Burniston.  So starting on November 3rd and continuing each week till December 15th, come and see some creative ideas designed by a great group of very talented people.

I'm anticipating being surprised by the ideas each one will come up with.  It will be fun and inspiring for me, as I think it will be for everyone that comes and "hops" along the blogs.
Each of the participants have the above, "Triple Play Button" on their blogs.  All you need to do is click on it to start and it will take you from one blog to the next by clicking "forward".  It is set up to take you through the blogs so you can see each idea.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

History Can Be Sweet

I love History. I enjoy interesting old things. I like visiting places that have "history" to tell and what could be better then a place that has a story, plus sells some wonderful goodies.

Back during the summer I posted a story about a town that is "just down the road a bit".  This small town is one of the reasons I love where we no live.  Up and down the Fox River are amazing towns and small cities that are filled with history stories.  I love it!  From time to time we drive through these towns and take in as much as possible of their history, plus the more modern offerings they also have.
So today here is a business called the "Pretzel Palace".  It is located on Main Street in West Dundee along a stretch of the road that is almost entirely lined with "turn of the century" homes.

This tiny little house dates back to 1848.  It was built 100 years before I was born.  This is the historical marker that sits in front of the home.  This house was stop for the "underground railroad" during the Civil War.
Sorry for the glare that makes it difficult to read
The handmade candy is made in the upstairs area of the house.  This was our first visit to the store after passing it several times in the last five years of living near-by.  It was closed much of the summer because of road repair just out front.  Well the selection of wonderful sweets was interesting.  Covered pretzels are the speciality, so we found many combinations.  They also had some coatings for carmel covered apples for this time of the year that sure looked yummy!  You will find a variety of krispy treats and skewers of marshmallows covered in amazing ways.    We walked out with "tortoises" instead of "turtles". One made with pecans, really great carmel and milk chocolate and the other with the same ingredients plus giant cashews.  Everything was decorated for the season. Looking forward to making a visit closer to the Christmas holidays.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our Four Little Gremlins

It sure is fun being a grandparent!  Our neighborhood came alive today from noon to 3:00. Since moving into our 55+ community five years ago, one of the best things that happen here, is that on the Sunday before the actual Halloween date, we invite all the residents grandchildren to come and "trick & treat".
Madeline (the rocker vampire), Baby Zoe (little pumpkin),
Tess (fairy princess and Joseph ( the Marine sniper)
The parade of kids of all ages today was so much fun.  The costumes were so great on both kids and adults who enjoyed the walk from house to house.

Days like today are wonderful!  Sharing these times with our kids and grandkids are priceless!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simple Spooky Jewelry

Hating to throw any leftovers away, I decided to come up with some fairly quick jewelry to wear for Halloween.  A couple of weeks ago when my older grandchildren were here to spend the night, we found our way into my workroom to create something.  They really enjoy spending time there and trying out crafting tools and ideas.

Joseph came up with an idea to make some sort of creature that he cut from felt and stitched together with floss, then stuffed and embellished.  Maddie was busy cutting out "Halloween" shapes with the Big Shot, decorating them and then stamping and creating Halloween cards.

After their visit, I was back in the workroom sewing up a costume for Tess to wear for "trick & treating".  Taking a break to clean up some materials that were left out, I had an "aah-haa" moment.  So with bits and pieces of things just laying around, I made a Halloween related choker and a funky flower ring.
For the choker I used four small Sizzix ghosts that I glued together with an eye-pin sandwiched between. Then covered the surface with glitter glue and set aside to dry. I coiled black wire to make spacers between the pumpkin charms and the felt ghosts.  They are all strung on a rubber cord.
 I used the 3D rose and tiny leaf dies to create the ring.  The flower was cut from canvas and painted, inked and glittered before forming and gluing.  Cut three leaves and a tiny circle using my Sizzix dies.  Glued the circle onto a ring base, followed by the leaves and flower.  Squeezed some yellow glitter glue into the center of the flower and dropped a bead into it.

Fun jewelry to wear and share.  IDEA: Use "glow in the dark" paint and glitter.
If you missed them - easy flower pins from leftovers too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Never Enough

Come on in and enjoy!

On September 1st, the Fall decorations started appearing around the house.  This being my favorite time of the year, what better way to enjoy it by surrounding myself with little bits of the season everywhere in the house and outside too.  (See earlier post here.)
Makes a great centerpiece
In an earlier post I did share some of the decorations I like to use.  There are many pumpkins involved, but with the huge variety of heirloom pumpkins that can now be easily found ... why not!  They just happen to look really cool no matter where you place them.  Here are some photos of some, and these will last through the entire season (and beyond).

Along with the "real thing" there are many "faux" pumpkins around the house, molded, glittered, wool, felt  and ceramic.  Those with faces will be put away after Halloween but the rest can remain till the next season of decorations goes up.
The little goblins will be out around our neighborhood this week-end.  On Sunday our community hosts a "trick and treating" afternoon for the grandchildren of the residents.  **(We live in a 55+ community.)  So the house needs some appropriate decor.  So out comes the ghosts, witches and a few creepy things.  We now leave the really spooky stuff to our kids but we enjoyed decorating the outside with spiderwebs and gravestones and other scary stuff.  We're "grown-ups" now! ... I guess!
Outside we have a little bit of straw bales, Indian corn, pumpkins of course, some broom corn stalks and autumnal colored mums, along with a strawflower wreath to welcome the goblins this Sunday.  The family will be here to share the fun with a pot of chili on the stove and pumpkin and apple pie to enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Creating For A Cause

Recently  I was asked if I would donate something to be auctioned at a fund raiser for Camp Nawakwa, a family camp run by the YMCA, in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin.  This was the third time that I have created something for either a raffle or auction.  Originally I had hoped to have the time to create a photo quilt for this cause.  A quilt is a huge undertaking and time just would not allow me to complete it.  So I went with an alternative plan ... you always need a "back-up" plan.

Every year that we make the trek up to the northwoods for our family summer "get away" (which really can't be considered a "get away" with the number of family members that are there), I have to bring a small collection of natural finds home with me each year.

After several ideas floating through my head, I created a canvas wall hanging along with two decorated frames.

For the wall hanging I used natural canvas for the base.  One of my favorite photos of the Big Crooked Lake was printed onto photo fabric and used as the center focal point.  I created tissue fabric using a technique from the book "Fabric Art Collage" by my very talented friend Rebekah Meier. This was then put in place around the photos and stitched with some very simple free-motion quilting.  Birch bark was cut into a strip to represent the tall birches that found in the northwoods.  Moss, washed pebbles, small pinecones from the woods help to frame the photo.  I fashioned an embellishment from copper sheets,  to represent the four seasons .  Each one was glued into a corner.  Handmade paper was die-cut after an iron-on adhesive was placed onto the back of a strip.  A dragon fly was made from paper clay.  When dry, it was painted black and then brushed with Perfect Pearls for an iridescent look.  Fine copper mesh forms the wings and copper wire was twisted to make the antenna before attaching with glue.  The canvas was then attached with canvas loops over the lichen covered branch.  The dragon fly was wired onto the branch. To finish the hanging correctly, I applied a piece of felt to the back.

A very simple collage frame was painted with a metallic bronze color and glued with the "petals" of collected pinecones.  I covered the insert for the photos with a textured, handmade paper.
The smaller frame was painted in the same manner before applying cut pieces of birch branches and small cuttings.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Country Roads

Who wouldn't love a quiet ride down country roads?

With the move we made over four years ago, we have found ourselves closer to a "country" setting then ever before.  Living for 28 years, near one of the busiest airports in the country, it is truly glorious to live with horse farms and cornfields nearby. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city and everything that it has to offer too, but I absolutely love our location.

We are located about equal distance from each of our three children. Each one is in a different direction.

Our oldest son and wife were approximately 5 minutes from us until a move last November.  They are now  about 18 miles southwest.  The drive to their house takes us down several country roads and what better time of the year to enjoy the ride!

Our destination
One of the best parts of this route is the stop we make at "Country Donuts" on the way for wonderful apple cider and pumpkin glazed donuts.
This week-end we are going on an "Autumn Drive".  This event has been taking place for a number of years.  It's been several since we last did this drive.  I'll share the experience of the "drive" next week.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Something BIG Is Going To Happen!

On November 4th, get ready for an amazing amount of creativity to come your way.  I'm a HUGE fan of Sizzix and its products and have been for some time now.

When they first came out with the "little red" machine, I was hooked.  When the "Big Shot" became available, it became my very favorite tool.  It is used for just about every project I work on in some way.  I was lucky enough to get involved with a blog hop earlier this year.  A very talented designer, that I met some time ago through and organization where we were both member, has designed a set of "Scoreboard" dies for Sizzix.  Eileen Hull's new designs were featured for that "hop".  I so enjoyed creating something different with each die and the biggest thrill was seeing the creative work by each of the other participants. What fun, what inspiration, what talent!

So now we have a whole new set of fantastic Sizzix designs by Karen Burniston, Eileen Hull and Brenda Pinnick,  that we can create with.  The "we" that will have the pleasure of this fun, is a long list of extremely talented people.  So please take some time to check out this link for the upcoming event "Triple Play".  You will find the information each week posted on my blog and then will be able to hop through the others to get some great ideas.  The group is extremely versatile and you are sure to gets loads of inspiration.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's In A Name?

Beside sewing curtains a few weeks ago for my two youngest granddaughters bedrooms, I made a easy wall decoration for each of their rooms.

I found thick, chipboard letters at a nearby Hobby Lobby.  Each letter was primed with white paint beforebeginning.  Then Ranger Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers were color coordinated for each of their rooms color theme.  Once the paint was dried, each letter was backed with a matching color of felt.  For decorating the letters, I used "Fancy Frills" stickers by Doodlebug Designs and other "puffy" stickers in coordinating colors.  Using the stickers makes this an very easy decoration.
Once everything was in place I used Aileen's Paper Glaze to coat the tops of each letter to hold and seal the surface, plus giving the letters a glossy finish.

Once everything dried well, tiny eye screws were attached with a strong glue to top and bottom of the letters.  The letters were wired together.  The finished names were hung in their rooms as a simple, colorful decoration.

So we have "Tess" with is a form of Teresa, which means "gather or harvest" and "Zoe" which means "life".

So next up ... something for Joseph and Madeline!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cooking In Style

An easy sewing project, that was shared with our quilting group this month, gave me this finished apron for cooking and baking in style.  We have been doing sewing for "causes" lately and decided we needed to treat ourselves to something that was just for us!

The pattern was shared with us from another quilting friend.  It required one or two "charm" packs of squares and small amounts of other fabrics to finish it.  I chose a solid brown for my back and ties to make this an apron that both my husband and I could both use.

Nice pattern and easy to make ... maybe some easy Christmas gifts!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Chill In The Air

Fall officially began last month, but these last few days have been lovely autumn days here in the Midwest.  The night time temperatures are going lower and lower.  This is my favorite time to bake.

Out came the apple peeler, pie plate and a few ingredients to bake the first apple pie of the season.  Using this great peeler-corer, makes the process so much easier and quicker.  One of the best tools to have on hand, even though it only gets used at this time of the year.  Another "time saver" is using Pillsbury Pie Crusts.  Really... easy, and just as good as making it from scratch.

My favorite apples are Granny Smith's and that what was used this time.  Most of the time I use a  mix of apples.
Another thing I love with apple pie is a slice of cheddar cheese on top, warmed slightly, before serving.  For this recipe I finely grated cheddar cheese onto the pie crusts and lightly embedded the cheese into the dough with a rolling pin before baking.

Dessert for tomorrow night!  What should I make next?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Autumn Flowers

So today is the first day of October.  My thoughts are of all things Autumn.  The words that come to mind are: pumpkins, harvest, leaves, mums, cornstalks, colors, baking, cool, frost, my favorite time of the year!

This month I hope to share as many ideas with you, that have something to do with those words above. Here's the first:

A little project that I have been working on to share with friends.  I found a interesting remnant of fabric a few weeks ago and thought it would make a pretty flower.

I cut strips of two varying widths and then gathered them to form circles.  Because of the material content, the edges burned and melted slightly, sealing the edges.  Frayed edges would have given another look to the flower but decided I liked the burned edge better.  The two sizes of gathered discs were then sewn together.  I die-cut a small circle from brown felt, added two various sized black buttons on top and attached them to the center of the flower.  Felt leaves and green felt circle are glued to the back of the flower, then a pin back was added.