Pretty in Pink

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“I believe in pink.” –Audrey Hepburn

After a couple years of hoarding as many pink Christmas decorations as I could, I finally acquired enough to make a wreath for my lovely Goddaughter.  She is a pink-fanatic, and her college dorm room is bathed in it.  I have been admiring the ornament wreaths in stores and online for a long time, so it was time to give it a shot! There are so many great tutorials online, so I just looked at numerous blog posts and then went for it!

I decided to make my wreath using an inexpensive straw form from the craft store.  I didn’t realize how messy it was going to be.  There were little pieces of straw everywhere, so I decided to wrap it with some wide ribbon to keep contain all of the mess.  I knew it was going to be covered up, so I used some inexpensive ribbon I got at the thrift store.  I just secured it to my wreath with straight pins.

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Then I wrapped the wreath with rope tinsel and secured it with hot glue every few inches. I used wire to attach a small chain to the wreath for hanging later.  I wrapped the wire all the way around the entire form and twisted it to each end of the chain.

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I started with large balls and secured them to the outside ring using hot glue.  This picture shows the back side where all of the messy hangers used to be.

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Next, I turned it over and started adding balls from the outside in.  I tried to balance the pink and silver while varying the sizes of the ornaments.  Then I started filling in some of the bigger gaps with smaller ornaments.  Unfortunately, I was working on this late into the evening, and I had to wrap it up for our trip the following day.  Therefore, I was unable to get a nice, pretty picture with good lighting.  I am seriously disappointed that I didn’t get a better shot. Oh well, that’s what handmade is sometimes about…. working up until the last minute and using all of our creative energy to get something done in the nick of time!  That’s what makes it fun (sometimes!)

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This picture is a little bit better.  Yet, it’s a cell phone shot that’s zoomed in quite a bit.

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The wreath was a big hit with my pink-loving gal.  However, she says it’s not going back to college with her because it’s too precious!  I hope she will enjoy it for years to come.  I had so much fun with this project, that I have hit the thrift stores for more ornaments, and now I am planning some fun color combinations for next year.  Turquoise anyone?!

Happy New Year, and happy crafting!

Rusty Junk Flower Garden

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“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” –Henri Matisse

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I’ve been hoarding old faucet handles for awhile now trying to come up with just the right project for them.  I attended an outdoor art festival earlier this summer, and metal flowers were everywhere!  So, I decided to finally get them out and make something fun.

My biggest dilemma was figuring out what to use for the stems.  I visited our local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and started poking around in the scraps, and I hit the jackpot.  A big bucket full of rusty old concrete ties was just what I needed.  They were the right diameter and the “patina” was already there.  I picked up a big 5 gallon bucket full for $3.00.  I love that store!

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I removed one of the circular discs so I could trim the lengths to various sizes.

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Then, I slid the handle on to the “stem” and locked it onto my vice grip.  I used a hammer to pound the end until it flattened enough to keep the handle from sliding off.

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Next, I sweet-talked my husband into tacking the handles into place with his welder.  Before he agreed to help me out, however, I had planned on gluing the flowers into place with a high-quality epoxy like Loctite.  They have a formula for metal that works for outdoor applications.  This probably would have been sufficient.

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Finally, I put the flowers back into the vice, so I could bend them into random flower-like shapes.  I wanted them to have a little “movement.”

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Now, I have a garden full of funky-junk flowers that don’t ever need watering!

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Wishing everyone a wonderful rest of August.  Enjoy your flowers, both real and junky!

Bling and Baubles

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“I just want to know. Who got all the jewelry?”  –Joan Rivers

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My friend and I got together over the holiday break to do some crafting.  This is a project we have been planning for over a year!  I remember seeing a jewelry Christmas tree when I was a little girl, and over the years, I have kept thinking about it.  So, I started stashing jewelry and picking up pieces at thrift stores and garage sales.  Between the two of us, we had an enormous treasure chest full of bling and baubles.  It was the ultimate trip down memory lane as I shared the story about a pair of red/pear earrings I wore to a formal dance in college.  (These ended up on her tree, and they look almost as wonderful there as they did on my lobes all those years ago!)

She donated a pair of her mother’s cast-off owl earrings to me, since she knows how much I love owls.  There is one on each of my two trees, and I love them there!

My friend’s tree completely matches her personality.  It is bright, colorful and full of so many different fun things!  She started looking for as many animal inspired pieces and they really add to the eclectic mix. I also found a pendant with the “scales of justice,” and I knew she had to use it on her tree as a nod to her late father who was a judge.  Fittingly, she used it for the base of her tree.

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It’s really very simple:  Find a frame you love and use some spray adhesive to attach a piece of black velvet or other fabric to the cardboard insert.  Trim the edges.  Lay all of your jewels out in a piece of paper the same size as your frame, so you know everything will fit. Remove the backs of pins and earrings with needle-nose pliers.  I snapped a quick picture with my phone, so I could recreate my pattern when I started gluing.  This was really helpful because things start moving as you remove pieces from your template.  We used E-6000 glue to attach everything.  It is my favorite all-purpose crafting glue!  Let everything dry and enjoy your treasure.

This project was so much fun that I am imagining many more trees in my crafting future…. I want to do a diamond inspired tree…. a tree with lots of black accents…. a super pearly tree…. Oh, and maybe one that is mostly pastels… One thing I know for sure, we need to plan for more crafty afternoons in the next year.  It’s good for the soul!

Happy New Year and Happy Crafting!

The Case for Color

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Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. ~Pablo PicassoIMG_4498

My best friend is very talented at “Visual Note Taking.”  She is a curriculum director and a teacher trainer, and she attends more meetings than anyone I know!  Her life is ruled by what she lovingly refers to as her “nerdy notebook.”  This is the command central for all of her notes and appointments.  Furthermore, she has always been a very artistic person and once taught art to elementary children (in Bangladesh, but that’s another story.)  Somehow my friend has managed to bring her love of art into the daily grind of meetings and conferences.  Last August, we were sitting next to one another during a keynote speech at a reading conference, and I witnessed the full-extent of her creative note-taking style.  She pulled out a little box of colored markers and managed to capture the essence of the speaker’s message with doodles, sketches, bulleted notes, and creative lettering. (If you want more information about the concept of visual note-taking, I highly recommend Austin Kleon’s website!)

So, when I got my Fall (2014) issue of Better Homes and Gardens Do It Yourself magazine, I noticed a fantastic project for a roll-up colored pencil case made out of felt.  The moment I saw it, I knew I would have to make it for my friend.

416306913_lgWell, I finally got around to making this project, with her birthday right around the corner, and it turned out perfectly!  In fact, it’s better than I could have hoped! I did modify the dimensions from the written directions in order to fit the number of markers in the package.  I also used a black leather-like cord, instead of felt, as a tie.

IMG_4487 IMG_4493 This was a fun, easy gift to make, and I have just enough fabric left over to make one for myself! By the way, the book I purchased to accompany my gift is called Nature Mandalas Coloring Book by Thaneeya McArdle.  It seems we never grow too old to enjoy some coloring time, do we?

Happy Spring, and Happy Coloring!

Auntie Hangers

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The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.  ~Pierre Corneille

I am absolutely thrilled to have a short essay and picture published in the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine.  This call for submissions was for all artists who revel in the use of scraps, bits, pieces and left-overs!  I knew right away that I would submit my “Auntie Hangers” to share.  I use every last bit of scrap yarn I have, and these are the perfect stash busters.  I call them Auntie Hangers because I received my first crocheted hangers as an unexpected gift from my great-aunt, Helen.  In fact, you can read the whole story if you hurry and order your copy of Uppercase today!  It is hands-down my favorite magazine full of inspiration for anyone who loves to live a creative life.

In fact, making these hangers is also one of my favorite gift ideas.  Who doesn’t love a pretty, soft hanger on which to hang a special dress or blouse?

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I am in love with this latest issue because it features the beauty of feed-sack cloth its many uses “once upon a time.”  Each issue of the magazine has a small square of actual feed- sack cloth attached to the front.  It’s these extra-special details that make this magazine such a treasure!

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Happy scrapping and Happy Crafting!

A Boy…..And a Girl!

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“All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin.”     ~Lord Byron

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I’ve been on a baby-hat making spree lately.  There are lots of babies coming into the world amongst my friends.  This elf-hat pattern is so easy, and looks great no matter what color!  The pattern came from Etsy shop, BeezyMomsCreations, and it was exactly what I was looking for!  The big, fluffy pom-pom on the end really makes it extra special, don’t you think!  It’s the perfect time of year in northwest Montana for staying indoors and crocheting, so more hats are on the way! I can’t wait to see these on the special twins due any day.

Happy February and Happy Stitching!

Snow Day

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“January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow.”–Sara ColeridgeIMG_4453Is there a teacher or student out there in Northwest Montana today who doesn’t feel like today is a special gift?  I’ve learned to never wish for a snow day, because it has to be REALLY snowy in my neck of the woods for school to be closed, and in twenty years of teaching, I can remember about three such days. That said, there’s nothing as decadent and magical as a free day to sit inside and watch the snow fall.

Calligraphy Revisited

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“Certainly the art of writing is the most miraculous of all things man has devised.” –Carlyle

It’s true, I have a hard time throwing anything away, which sometimes makes me very happy.  For instance, when I decide that I want to dabble with calligraphy after about, oh say, 25 years!  Needless to say, I was ecstatic to find a folder with all of the old handouts given to me by the elementary teacher who taught me calligraphy in the sixth grade.  I’m one-hundred percent sure that she ran these pages off on one of those machines that she had to crank the handle!  I shared some of my thoughts about learning to write calligraphy with Janine Vangool at Uppercase Magazine, and she featured my short essay in her online newsletter here.

blog2I also found some of my calligraphy practice sheets.  I can still remember sitting at my old wooden desk – the one with the sloped top and a groove to hold my pencil – and making these letters over and over.  There was always a black ink stain on my middle finger for the rest of the day.

blogI was truly inspired, so I treated myself to some fun new ink colors, but I remained faithful to my old pen and nibs. Over the years, I have enjoyed using my calligraphy skills for certain projects, but I’ve been using the marker-style pens that make things so much quicker and easier.  However, when I decided to go “old school,” I was amazed at how quickly the movements came back to me after all of these years.

This is what I came up with….

calligraphyThere’s something extra-special about writing something that takes a little extra time and care.  Hopefully it won’t be another 25 years before I get out my pen and ink to do some “dipping and swirling.”

Happy Writing!

What Color Means to Me

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“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing?  Can one really explain this? No.” ~Pablo Picasso

I am proud to have a short essay and photograph published in the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine.  Issue 22 was entirely devoted to COLOR, and what a beautiful publication it turned out to be!  The Uppercase website  has a beautiful feature of the issue along with a video that you can enjoy.  The prompt:  What Color Means to Me… inspired me to write about learning to crochet as a young girl.  Crochet continues to be one of my favorite artistic mediums and choosing yarn for a project is such a happy, colorful process.

issue22-heldIf you haven’t had the pleasure of savoring an issue of Uppercase, you absolutely must treat yourself to a copy of this creative, and visually stimulating, publication.  Seriously, head over to the website and start your subscription.  It’s a gift to yourself.  Really. (You can even take advantage of the discount code “roygbiv” for $15.00 off the subscription price.)

U22-colourmeans-spread3That’s my piece in the lower left-hand corner.  (I never get tired of seeing my work in print!)

Best wishes for a colorful day!

Club Little House

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“For the person for whom small things do not exist, the great is not great.”     -Jose Ortega y Gasset

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When I was in elementary school, I became quite enamored by dollhouse miniatures.  There was something about the tiny little items that enchanted me.  Of course, I had quite a stint with my Barbies, yet it seemed I spent more time designing their houses than actually playing with them.  That compulsion to decorate somehow evolved into creating little dollhouses inside cardboard boxes.  Then I received a REAL dollhouse kit for Christmas, and my mom let me spread out all of the supplies on the kitchen table, and I glued and painted to my heart’s content.  I still have those minis tucked away, and I absolutely must get them out, dust them off, and enjoy them once again!  My love of miniatures has been dormant for quite some time, yet I recently rekindled my obsession by participating in “Club Little House” which was organized by the wonderfully crafty Amy Powers.
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“Club Little House” littles created by Amy Powers

“Club Little House” participants agreed to construct twelve 1:12 miniature items and ship them to Amy by the deadline.  For a small fee, she graciously packaged up twelve items and sent them to all of us in return.  As a result, we each received a lovely assortment of clever, and lovingly-crafted “littles.”  I am quite in love with everything I received.  You can take a look at all of the items, including mine, here.
I spent quite awhile trying to come up with just the right thing to create for “Club Little House.”  In the end, I decided to make something that relates to my job as a teacher.  Here’s what I came up with….
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“Club Little House” miniature school charts by Kerrie More

They are pretty simple, but to tell you the truth, they were very time consuming.  I love how they turned out, and I hope the recipients who received my “littles” enjoy them as much as I did making them.  (Just a note:  I did not make any money from the creation of these items.  If you like these images, you should go to this site and purchase them, much bigger of course, from – Paper Source.)

I was so impressed by the items in my “Club Little House” box, but imagine my delight when I discovered a sweet “little” from one of my favorite artists, Mary Engelbreit!  Don’t you love them?
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“Club Little House” littles created by Mary Engelbreit

Participating in “Club Little House” was really a lot of fun.  I want to thank Amy Powers for organizing such an enjoyable artistic opportunity and for sparking my love of miniatures once again. I loved it so much, I am already thinking of what I might create for the next “Club Little House!”

Happy Summer and Happy Crafting!