Add a little "bling" to your holiday decorating with some vintage and upcycled materials

Monday, December 13, 2010

I just love to add a little bling and glitter to my holiday decorating and here's a few projects that I created to decorate my home for Christmas. I have a collection of old rhinestone brooches and earrings that I rarely get a chance to wear and just hate to keep packed up in a box ... so I quite often "add" them to my home decorating projects ... such as this candle that sits on a vintage plate in the kitchen. I added two velvet ribbons to the candle by using short straight pins to hold the ribbons in place at the back. Then I attached the brooch by sticking the brooch pin directly into the candle ... I added another long straight pin to balance the brooch and keep it in place. It's so simple yet elegant!

This next project is a vintage crystal Christmas ornament that I have been making for a couple of years. It was featured in Somerset Studio's GreenCraft magazine (Autumn 2010). I use vintage crystals, ribbons and lace, vintage buttons and rhinestone earrings to create these ... and because most of my supplies are often one-of-a-kind, I rarely make two of these ornaments the same ... so they are kinda of like bling snowflakes!
Here's how to make these ...

I start with two vintage crystals ... one large tear drop and one smaller ... you will need to remove all of the antique metal pieces if there are any. Then add long head pins as shown above. I add one head pin to the top of the smaller crystal for hanging then I make and attach a jump ring to the bottom so I can link it to the tear drop crystal. The wire on the tear drop crystal is left long and I use my pliers to twist the end of the pin into a circle so I can attach the jump ring at the top.

You can see how the crystals have been joined in the photo above ... now it it time to pick out other elements to attach to the ornament and as well as ribbon and lace. I am using one of my vintage rhinestone clipback earrings on this ornament ...

First I tie some ribbons and lace that I selected to go with the rhinestone earring onto the long head pin ... 

... and then I add the clip back earring to the lace. That's it ... again, another simple but pretty way to add a little bling to your holiday decorating!

One last project to add a little bling to your holiday decorating ... 

This is a great project to use up some of those old frames that are the wrong colour or just don't match your decor anymore. I painted mine all the same warm white and took out the glass. Then I used scrapbook papers with glitter, chipboard letters and a couple of wooden letters that I had lying around to make this for our fireplace mantle. I always seem to be picking up letters that are in our names so when I found the "e" and the "r" in my box of supplies, I decided to spell out "be merry" but you could say whatever you want. If you have larger frames you may want to add more letters to a frame ... my frames were all on the small side.

You can paint the letters or do what I did and decorated them with different scrapbook papers. I used modge podge to attach the papers to the letters and then used distressing inks to edge all of the letters. After that each letter was treated differently ... I added glitter to a few, silver beads to one and Inkssentials glossy accents to a couple of others. You can add as much glitter and bling as you want to this project ... make it as simple or detailed as you wish!

I hope that I have you thinking about how you can add a little bling and a little sparkle to your holiday decorating! Have a great week! 

holiday cards and a free download

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Christmas cards have all been made, addressed and are on their way to our family and friends as we speak. The material costs to hand make cards are a little high when you start to add everything up and it takes a long time to make the cards .... I know that I could buy a couple of boxes of cards for less ... but I won't ... this is one of my favourite Christmas traditions that I look forward to doing every year.

For this year's card I used old file folders as the base of the card ... I loved the natural and organic feeling of the kraft stock. I combined a number of different Basic Grey holiday papers in this year's design and created the photo element with a black and white photo overlay that I created. Black photo corners, a piece of lace machine stitched to the card and a vintage button lovingly handstitched in the middle of a paper flower are the final touches. I used a vintage date stamp to the back to add the year and my name.

Just in case any of you have not made your Christmas cards yet or would like something to file for next year ... I've created a PNG file for you to download ... it's for a 4x6 card that you use in Photoshop to create your own little card or photo insert. The picture above shows a sample of how it will look ... the photo is an engagement picture of our friend's daughter and I simply added the words that I wanted in the red space.
Please note that the download is free but it is for your personal use only - you can not use it for commercial use of any kind and I ask you to please not modify the art and call it your own (that's just bad karma!). If you would like to share the art with your friends that is okay if you tell them to download it directly from me! You can download the art here. Hybrid scrappers will most likely want to add some elements to this piece ... I can easily see some glitter and bling added to this ... maybe even a piece of lace or ribbon ... you decide!

Here's a quick "how to" tutorial for using the holiday card art ... I use Photoshop CS2 on a PC so you may have to modify some of the commands based on your software ...
1. Open a new file - 6"wide and 4"high, 300 dpi , RGB mode
2. File/Place/ and open my png file (let's call this layer "card design")
3. Then add another layer go to File/Place/ and open your photo ... you will want to move this new layer below the layer called "card design" before you go on.
4. Working on the layer with your photo, you will need to resize your photo and position it so that you are happy with the layout.
5. To add words to your card you will need to add another layer on top of the two we already have ... do this by adding a type layer and add  your text in the red box area.
6. To save your art for printing wherever you do your photo printing ... save your Photoshop file as a JPEG copy and you are ready to print!

Now speaking of printing ... I have to share with you a cute little print project that just arrived in the mail yesterday. I created these buck and doe tickets for Breann and Kyle (featured in the holiday card) and had them printed at .  This is the first time that I've used MOO myself ... it was really quite easy to upload the files online and they have excellent directions and templates if you want to create your own art. I screamed with delight when I opened the package. These cards turned out so nice ... beautiful colours ... nice thick stock and the finish is amazing. The best thing is that I could have uploaded 100 different images for one side of the cards for the same price! Breann and Kyle selected 4 engagement photos that they liked and I created the card backs as a ticket ... now all we just have to number the 400 cards and they will be ready to sell!

Aren't these just too cute! Oh and before I forget ... we need to give credit to the talented photographers who took Breann and Kyle's engagement photos ... Cindy and Kal at Silver Parrot Studio ! I can't wait to see the wedding photos next summer!

holiday ornament and a free download

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I took part in a Christmas Ornament Exchange with a number of artists that I met on line this year from Kelly Rae Roberts ecourse and I wanted to share with you how to make the ornament that I created.
The ornament is a basically a domino that I altered with a piece of my art and some vintage crystals and beads. You'll also need diamond glaze, a couple of bails, a strong glue to attach the bails to the domino, a few jump rings and a piece of ribbon to hang.  

You can download the my art for the bird design here .... please note that this download is for PERSONAL USE ONLY. You cannot use it in any commerical way, alter or sell it as your own. Please do not share this download with anyone ... you may refer friends to my blog for them to download themselves. 

The first thing you need to do is to print my art. It was created as a 4x6 jpeg so you can print it at Costco or where you do your photo printing. I don't recommend printing these on an ink jet printer ... we are going to add diamond glaze to the image and it may bleed. One 4x6 print contains enough art to make 6 ornaments. You will need to cut out each piece to fit the domino ... there is a bleed so you will trim smaller than what you see on the printout.
Next you will want to adhere the art to the back of the domino ... I used glossy accents but modge podge or any type of glue will work. Once it is dry trim off or sand the edges of the paper to make sure that the edges are clean and straight.
The next step is to give the ornament a glossy coat ... I did that by adding glossy accents to the photo being careful not to add too much that it spills over the edges of the domino. Let it dry for a few hours depending on how much diamond glaze you used. It is really important that the glaze is completely dry before going onto the next step because we are going to turn the domino over and work on the back ... if in doubt ... wait!!!

Using a strong glue you need to attach bails as shown to the domino. If you don't want to add the crystal and bead to the bottom of the domino just add one bail to the top for hanging.
After the glue has dried and the bails are secure it's time to add some bling. Use whatever you have on hand or can find at your favourite craft/scrapbooking store. I used a vintage crystal and a crystal bead on mine ... I simply attached them with jump rings (I added a wire to the bead for hanging first).

Then you just need to add a ribbon to the top and hang it on the tree!
Here's a picture of the ornaments that I've received so far from my "Flying Friends" ... Suzanna Leigh, Rebecca Everett, Kathrin Rasser, Kris Johnson and Dayle Achatz Micoff.

holiday gift giving

Monday, November 29, 2010

I can hardly believe that it is almost December ... what happened to November?
I've been so busy with so many different projects ... I really need to find some time to take pictures and start sharing. I have a bunch of freebies to add so keep posted for those soon.  Speaking of pictures ... I just bought a new camera and I seem to be going through a bit of a "learning curve" so I may not show a lot of photos to illustrate my how to's for a while. Hopefully a few good pictures will be enough. 

I just finished making my Christmas cards (70 of them) and I'm hoping to started writing inside and addressing them all by this weekend. I also designed the holiday cards for my husband's work and they are on the printing press as we speak ... can't wait to see the finished product!

I also decided to offer two more workshops in December ... I didn't think that I was going to have time but I've had a number of people ask me about projects for gift giving. So I've just added the details to my  class website . The classes are at Scrapbooking Queens and there is one this coming Sunday afternoon and another in a couple of weeks during the day while the kids are at school. We are going to make two of my charms, similar to the ones I sell on etsy and two gift containers, one is a small metal pail with a lid and the other is a metal gift card holder. Here's another picture of the projects ...

My hubby has done most of our Christmas shopping for us this year ... what a sweetie. There are a lot of gift cards so I'm going to be making a bunch of these gift containers to give as gifts myself this year.

I'll offer more classes in the new year but I haven't had time to work out all of the details yet. I really want to offer a couple of  introductory and intermediate mixed media collage workshops and I've got a great idea for a banner that I'm really excited about too. I recently designed the gift cards for Scrapbook Queens - they should be arriving in the store this week. The gift cards can be used for product in the store, crops and classes ... so they are great to ask for if you are interested in taking class and they are great to give if you want a friend or family member to take a class with you. Here's a sneak peak of my design ....
... this is the marketing piece that I made for the store to display. I can't take credit for the elements in the design ... I purchased a commercial licence for a digital kit to save time ... but the design is mine and I think that they are something that I'd like to see in my wallet!

Well that's all for now ... I'll post again this week with a holiday project that you can add to your tree.

BTW ... it's my baby brothers' (48th) birthday today ... I hope you had a great day Ted!!!

Michaels Holiday Contest

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm so excited ... it's back again this year ... Michaels Holiday Crafting Contest! And I just entered the wall hanging (picture above) that I made as a gift for my daughter Robyn. I created a similar mixed media collage on a wooden canvas last weekend ... and it was my inspiration for making this piece. You see, as soon as I was finished making my original collage, my daughter Robyn told me that she loved it and wanted it for her room at the cottage. Making another one for the contest was easy and I now have another gift to check off my list!

 In case you didn't know about the Michaels contest - this is the second week of the contest - I think that it runs for 7 weeks. Every Monday there will be a new "challenge" and a chance to enter the contest. Michaels posts on facebook what three basic items have to be used in your project and you have until Sunday to create and upload your entry onto their facebook page.

They ask you to list your materials and how you made your project ... and I thought that I'd share with you here how I made my entry ... so here you go:

I started by glueing old book pages to the charger. Once it was dry ...
then I used acrylic paints and distressing inks to add some colour and antique the edges.
Then I used my scrapbook papers to create a design for the centre of the charger. I printed the words on my inkjet printer and left a space for the word "butterflies". The scrapbook papers were glued to the charger. I used an assortment of metal and sticker letters to spell out butterflies ... 
... I added a paper measuring tape, some lace and some Martha Stewart glitter to the inside rim of the charger. Next I used my brand new, handy dandy Martha Stewart butterfly paper punch to cut butterfly shapes from two-sided scrapbook papers ...

... I love this paper punch because you can use it anywhere on a piece of paper (not just the edges!). I scored each of the butterflies to make them a little more 3-D. Some butterflies got glitter and a few others got rhinestone bling ... little girls gotta have bling, right?!! I glued the butterflies on the charger ...

... as you can see this charger is not going to be used during Christmas dinner ... so I punched two holes at the top of the charger and added a velvet ribbon to hang.

If you click here it will take you to the Michaels facebook contest ... please click "like" if you want to vote for my project for this week's (November 15-21) challenge under the "winners and gallery" tab. There are weekly prizes for a $100 Michaels gift card (every week!) and a grand prize at the end for a crafting cruise with Jo Pearson! ... wouldn't that be cool to win?

Jo Pearson has a really cool video on how to decorate chargers that you can actually use on your table and you can see it right here!

Good luck everyone and let's get creative!

Locks of Love donation ... Luke and Kathy

Monday, November 1, 2010

Here's a little story that I wanted to share about a beautiful friend, Kathy, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and her very caring and loving godson, Luke who decided to cut his hair to raise money for cancer research and donate his hair to the Locks of Love.

Luke plays left wing with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Today I went to the university with Kathy and Luke's mom and sister to take pictures and cheer Luke on as he cut off his long blonde locks!
 ... this is Luke before the cut ...
... Kathy and Luke's Mom getting Luke's hair ready so it could be sent off to Locks of Love afterwards ...

... Kathy made the first cut ... followed by Luke's Mom, Breann (Luke's sister) and Marlin Muylaert (Luke's head coach) ...
... and here's the "after" picture!

Luke's hair was just about 12" when it was cut ... more than long enough to donate for a wig. Luke has been taking pledges for Cancer here and I believe that he has reached his goal of $3,000. Congrats Luke and Kathy!

Luke's hair cutting ceremony is on youtube ... you can see it here.

 For anyone in the area that is interested, the Super Boobie Fairy's are hosting their 5th annual  Crop for a Cure at Scrapbooking Queens this Friday. The 24 hour crop event is to support Breast Cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital.

special class offer & printer display box instructions

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hello there and let me start off by saying thank you to everyone who stopped by for the grand opening of Scrapbook Queens on the weekend! I meet so many new people and was happy to see some familiar faces too! The store was busy all day. I received lots of feedback on my classes and future project ideas. I know that there will be a few mixed media workshops coming up after Christmas.

I had a lot of requests for my "charms" class at night so I've just added a class THIS FRIDAY NIGHT for anyone in the area that is interested in attending. There is a Friday night crop at the store from 6pm to midnight. I'm really excited because if you take my class you will be able to join the crop for no extra charge! The class will start at 6 and go for about 45 minutes. Our pieces will have to dry for almost 2 hours so you can work on your own projects at the crop. We'll get back together around 8ish and spend another hour completing our charms. These charms make cute teacher gifts and I'll have extra supplies on hand if you want to buy them from me to make additional charms in the class.

I also wanted to share with you my new jewellery holder ... I made it out of a old printer box. I originally designed it to store/display my earrings in my closet but I ended up using it to display my charms for the open house last week. Here's how I made it ...

I selected a couple of sheets of scrapbook paper .... I choose a black and white damask pattern. I carefully cut the paper to fit every opening in the printer's box. I measured every opening before cutting because I wanted the paper pattern to be repeated in the box and not every opening was the exact same size. If you use a solid paper you don't have to worry as much about reproducing the pattern but you will still have to measure the openings. Once I had all of the papers cut I used mod podge to glue the papers to the wood.

My next step was to add tiny screw eyes to each of the openings. I measured each opening and marked where I wanted the screweye to be placed ... then I used a drill to make a small hole so that the screweye would go in easily. When you add the screweyes make sure that you don't go through the back of the wood or you will mark the wall when you hang it up. You will also want to make sure that the screweyes are all set the same way.
I added small antique looking safety pins on each of the charms so I could hang them from the screweyes. If you use this to hang earrings that don't have post backs - they would just dangle from the screweyes!

Here's a couple of pictures from the opening at Scrapbook Queens last week ... you can see my printer box display on the table ...   
here's some of the croppers and another instructor, Karan talks about her classes ...
lots more cropping going on and Irena and Joe are busy behind the cash desk!
So many talented people in one space ... inspiring and fun!!!


Friday, October 15, 2010

yippeee ... it's "Pumpkinfest" weekend and I'm so excited that my girls are still into fall fairs and family traditions. Pumpkinfest takes places in a small town near our cottage called Waterford. We have been going to this for over 10 years and we always attend on Saturday so that we can watch the parade. I found this amazing article today on taking Halloween photos, you can find it here, and it reminded me that I should get my camera batteries charged up today so that I'm ready tomorrow!

I was looking through last year's photos and I realized that I better look for Robyn's pumpkin hat ... not just because I know she will want to wear but if I don't find it today I will forget tomorrow and we'll have to buy a new one at the fair (if they still have them!).

Do you have any Halloween or fall traditions at your house? Let me know in the comments section ... I'd love to hear how other families spend their time together!

And for my studio friends ... this has been a busy "short" week for me because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Most of my time in my studio has been spent working on a website to promote my classes and workshops at Scrapbook Queens. The site went "live" yesterday although I'm still working on it and adding dates, etc. but at least it's a start! It's a free wix website (so easy to create if you are a beginner like me!) ... please check it out at and let me know what you think!


Friday, October 8, 2010

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada this weekend ... looking forward to getting away to the cottage and spending some time with my family. Lots planned but I'm hoping that we will have some down time so I've packed some of my jewellery supplies so that my daughters and I can make a couple of necklaces. I've been playing around making these glass tiles necklaces. I'm going to try to make some of them with scrabble tiles on the back too. They are really fun to make and I've just started to wear a couple of them to make sure that they don't fall apart with use (so far, so good!).
 I've used pictures of my family on a couple of them and now I'm experimenting with pictures of some of my artwork (Robyn likes the mixed media collage close up of her as an angel with a bird on her shoulder - I gave it to her for her birthday!) ...
... I'm also experimenting with some of my photos ... I really like this one that I took in Paris a few years ago. I think that I will give it to my friend Sue later today so that she can tell me how it wears too. 

After I have finished "wear testing" these necklaces, I think that I might make some of these to put in my esty shop ... they would make great teacher gifts for the holidays.

I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

 Before I go, I also wanted to share with you a picture of a beautiful necklace that was made for me a few months ago. My friend Karen wore a similar necklace when we went to New York in the spring. Karen's mother made it for her and when we got back from New York she created one for me too. I love it and it is very special to me ... especially right now ... Karen's mother, Gee, lost her battle with cancer earlier this week. She will be dearly missed.