Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Tutorial - Uncle Sam Pillow Pattern

I am seeing a lot of Americana crafts around the internet lately so I thought I would share this Uncle Sam Pillow pattern with you.

It is a 10 inch accent pillow and very easy to make.   Download the pdf pattern here,  Uncle Sam Pattern.

Hope you enjoy making him.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Jacquie's Up-Cycle Nation: New Life For An Old Frame

The right frame adds instant glam to any artwork but a quality wooden frame can cost a small fortune at a hobby store, often costing more than the work to be framed.  With a keen eye and 2 spare hours, you can create a masterpiece on a pauper's budget.
I scored this fab 1990's home decorating beauty for $3 at Goodwill.  It was the perfect size for an over-sized photo collage  I had made one rainy afternoon.
The back of the frame gave me all the info I needed:  The frame was real wood, the size was right, and this was not a true vintage piece.  This frame is sturdy, the glass is intact, and it is begging to up-cycled into a new life.

All You Need For This Project:
Out dated wooden frame
Sandpaper- 150 grit
Empty container for frame tacks
Spray paint
Damp rag
Antiquing medium
Paint brush
Matte or Gloss sealer

Using pliers, remove frame tacks.  Set these aside along with the glass in a safe place.  Sand the entire front of the frame to provide grit for the new paint.  With a damp rag, wipe away any sanding residue.
Find an open air space to do the spray painting.  I use the bottom side of a plastic pool and an old bag to catch and stray paint.  **Never spray paint inside, in poorly ventilated areas or near an open flame.**
Apply a light coat of paint.
Allow the paint to dry.
Lightly sand.
Wipe away sanding residue.
Repeat until the desired coverage is reached.
To achieve a high gloss, paint saturated look, apply 3-5 coats of paint and top with a high gloss sealer. 
To achieve a shabby chic look, sand the corners, hard edges and decorative embellishments.  Wipe away sanding residue.
To add age, use antiquing gel medium diluted with water.  I used 2 tablespoons medium in 1/4 cup water.  Apply generously to frame.
For a primitive look, allow the coating to dry and top with a matte sealer.
For a shabby chic appearance, wipe away the gel medium with a damp rag.  This will leave the aging primarily on the exposed wood.  Top with a matte sealer.
To add visual interest and definition, use washi tape to enhance the original fabric portion of the frame.
This particular tape helps carry the vintage theme of the collage to the frame.
Now the frame is ready for finishing.  Clean the glass and reinsert.  Using the original cardboard backing and frame tacks, secure the artwork and glass in place.  For a polished look cover the backing with brown paper.  Now the frame is ready to enjoy many more years of happiness.
Rest assured, the original reproduction floral print has not gone to waste.  It has been up-cycled into another project for a future post.  Be certain that if it could not be used it would have landed in the paper bin destined for recycling.


Jacquie Wheeler
Hand of Bela Peck

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blog Party Sunday - Share Your Handmades

Welcome to our Blog Party Sunday. We would love to have you show us what you are crafting.

You are allowed to add 3 links to your shops or your blog.

The rules are simple:
1. Follow our blog
2. Handmade items only.
3. You may list up to 3 items.
4. Family friendly items only.

The success of this link party depends on the participants so spread the word to your friends, visit the shops,  post about it on your  blog, in a forum or on your favorite social networking site, grab the button and put it on your blog or website.
Just click on the Add Your Link button below and add your items.
And if you would like to add a link to the party you can grab this button below.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Recipe of the Week - Green Tea With Citrus

I realize a lot of you probably drink iced tea all year long, but for some reason, for me, it only tastes good when it's warm outside.

Although I like just regular tea with no sugar, my favorite tea store-bought tea is Lipton Diet Green Tea with Citrus. It's somewhat expensive (in my opinion) so I don't buy it very often. However, I might be having it more often now after finding this recipe.

This is one of those copycat recipes and it comes from www.topsecretrecipes.com You'll have to visit the link for the full recipe, but this is what the recipe calls for...

Boiling Water
Green Tea Bags
Equal Sweetener
True Lime
Orange Extract

What's your favorite way to drink tea? Hot cold? Sweetened, unsweetened? Do you have any great tea recipes? Leave us a comment... we'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for joining us today,
Deena Davis

Friday, April 26, 2013

Today's Featured Shop -- Hand of Bela Peck

Today's featured shop is Hand of Bela Peck.    Jacquie loves to use upcycled materials in her work.

She is also a new writer on our blog.
You can find her column "Up-cycle Nation" on Mondays where she will be teaching you how to work with found materials.  

As you can see from the sampling of Jacquie's work below,  she makes some wonderful one of a kind designs with her upcycled materials.

Primitive Sheep Prim Lamb Wool Sheep

Fish Decoy Primitive Fish on Driftwood

Primitive Skeleton Doll

Primitive Snowman Christmas Ice Skating

 Be sure and visit Jacquie's shop to see all her handmades and check out her column right here on Mondays. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Witches Stitches -- Doll making 101

Cutting Fabric and Sewing
You have decided that you want to make a doll or two. The best way to start is to find a pattern you like. There are many to be found online www.etsy.com  they have a large selection. You can always make your own pattern, but as a beginner you may want to purchase one that appeals to you. Read all instructions for your pattern before you start your doll.

One of the best ways to sew and cut your pattern out is to trace your pattern onto white freezer paper.  You can purchase this at any grocery store. After you trace all the pieces onto freezer paper cut them out. Place the pieces on your fabric making sure you leave space between each piece so you have room sew around it, about an inch. Set your iron to whatever setting is right for the fabric you are using.  Iron the freezer paper pattern pieces onto your fabric SHINY side down, cut around each piece making sure you have left your seam allowance around each one. Sew around each piece making sure all your stitches are straight. Take your time sewing around the corners.  Make sure you leave the openings when the pattern indicates so you can turn your pieces to the right side.  

After you have sewn around all your pieces, trim and remove the paper from your fabric. Just lift from the edge and pull. Save the paper pieces, you can use them over and over again until the shiny side no longer sticks. You can get as many as 6 dolls from the same pieces.
Cut around the pieces closer making sure you leave an even seam allowance around each piece. After they are all cut out you will have to clip any curves or section with indentations with small slits. This will allow your piece to lay flat after you have turned it to the right side.

Now you are ready to stuff your doll.

How to make smooth seams on your dolls

Ever make a doll and it has bumps all around the seams? Well there are 2 ways you can make sure that does not happen and your dolls have smooth professional look.
Wrinkle free seams start with making sure your stitches are all straight and none of them are out of line. One stitch out of line and there will be a small lump in the seam. After you have finished sewing your seems check them to see if any stiches are out of line. If they are just go over that part of your seem.
Begin to stuff your doll with small pieces of whatever you have chosen to use. You will have to make sure you stuff the pieces tight to make sure you have a smooth seam line.  This way you build a lot of small layers instead of trying to stuff with large pieces. Using small pieces will take a little longer, but the smooth finished look you get is so worth the time.
A great tool to use is called a stuffing fork, you can place stuffing  in the smallest area. You can find one at www.etsy.com just put the words stuffing fork in the search and you will find several.
The Key in using a stuffing fork is to let the teeth on the end of the fork grab the stuffing and then twist it a bit. This keeps the stuffing on the fork while you guide it into place.
After you have finished stuffing your doll check all the seams. If you see any lumps take a very small piece of stuffing and use your stuffing fork to place the stuffing where it is needed.  If no more stuffing is needed, use your stuffing fork and slightly rearrange the stuffing already there. This will give you smooth professional looking seams.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me and happy doll making!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gift Jar Recipes for Mother's Day

Not sure what to get your favorite Mother for her special day?   How about some food kits in a jar.

Here are some recipe mixes she might like.  Make them extra special by putting them in a basket and add a special coffee mug to go with them.


1 c Instant Coffee Creamer
1 c Instant Chocolate Drink Mix -- powdered
3/4 c Instant Coffee Crystals
1/2 c Sugar
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg

 Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Pour into jars.
Attach the following note to jar:

 Instant Cappuccino Mix -- Use about 3 tablespoons or 4 teaspoons per 6 oz cup of boiling water.


3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Using a 1 quart or 1 liter jar, layer in the ingredients in the order given. Pack down the jar after each addition.
Put the lid on, and cover with an 8 inch circle of fabric. Secure the fabric over the lid using a rubber band, then cover the rubber band by tying a nice piece of ribbon or raffia around the lid.

Attach a tag to the ribbon with the following instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, cream together 3/4 cup of softened butter, with 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Add the entire contents of the jar, and mix by hand until combined. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto an unprepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Makes 2 dozen.

This last recipe is one you actually prepare and gift ready-made.  This is a wonderful gift for a health conscious Mother.


2/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 oz. wheat flakes
1 1/2 sticks melted, unsalted butter
4 oz. barley flakes**
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
4 oz. rye flakes**
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1/2 cup dry-roasted cashews

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil.
Mince orange peel with sugar in food processor about 1 minute.
Add butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg and blend 5 seconds.
Add remaining ingredients; toss thoroughly.
Spread on pans and bake until dry, stirring every ten minutes, about 45 minutes.
Cool and store in airtight container or jar.

Attach a pretty lid if giving as a gift **Available at natural food stores or substitute rolled oats.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Jacquie's Upcycle Nation: Jello Mold Pin Cushions

This week's trash to treasure is a quick and simple pin keep made from items most likely in the back crevices of every home: an outdated sweater and a vintage tin Jello mold.
As winter woolies are packed away for another year there is always an odd wool sweater, blanket or scarf that hasn't seen the light of day for more than a few seasons.  No need to be embarrassed by that 1990's cute theme sweater that never seems to disappear!  Now is the time to up-cycle it to new glory!
 Next dig to the back of the kitchen cupboard, behind the cookie cutters and under the mismatched random Tupperware lids to pull out those old vintage metal molds. The smaller single serve size works best for this project.
If not already at home, these tidbits can also be found in abundance at local thrift stores. Just be sure to use items of 100% wool. 
 Machine wash and dry on high heat to "felt" the sweater.  This compacts the fibers to create a stretchy but firm fabric.
After a wooly is chosen and felted, you will also need the following:
*Sharpie marker  *Wood glue  *Scissors
*thread or embroidery floss
*fiberfill* embellishments

With a Sharpie marker, trace 1/2 inch out from the mold onto the folded fabric, right sides together. 
 Don't worry if the circle isn't perfect.  The stretch of the fibers is very forgiving.
Cut the circles out and pin at center, leaving right sides together.
Machine stitch 1/4 - 1/2 inch from circle's edge.
Cut 2 inch slit on bottom side of circle. No need to clip around the outside. (All hail stretchy fabric!)
 Turn right side out and firmly stuff with fiberfill.
 When you think you can't stuff it any fuller, stuff a little bit more! Place the ball inside the mold to test the shape, firmness, and roundness.  Once you are satisfied with the appearance, slip stitch the opening closed.  These stitches should not be pulled tight but left loose like a toothy grin.
Fill the mold with wood glue.  Don't be shy- go ahead and slather it in, leaving the interior top inch clean.  This will prevent any oozing over the outside edge. Once the wool ball is inserted in the tin, place the pin cushion (right side up) under a large book to apply constant pressure as the glue dries. Let it remain drying under pressure for at least 6 hours.
 Wallah!!!  Your Jello mold pin cushion is ready!
 Now you can admire the fabric in its simple state or go hog wild with the embellishments!
 Here are a few examples of pin cushions I have made in the past.  I adore needle felting and find these wee canvases irresistible! 
Theme sweaters offer instant embellishment that turn a fashion faux pas into an heirloom keeper!

Experiment with your own style!  Mix up the molds- any shape and size can be used applying the same steps. These sweet keeps make perfect gifts for the stitcher in your life!