Friday, May 31, 2013

Today's Featured Shop -- Susie B Designs

Today's featured shop is Susie B Designs.     Susan designs unique pillows and quilts from beautiful fabrics.  Here are some of my favorite items from her shop.

Christian Cross Quilt - Watercolor Art Quilt - Peacock Colors

 Raspberry Pillows - Silk - Ruched Fabric

Rose Pillows - Gold Embroidery - Very Unique

 Gold and Blue - Sunny Day Starry Night - Art Quilt - Van Gogh Inspired

Be sure and visit Susan's shop to see all she has to offer.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Witches Stitches - Chalk Paint Decorating

I know this post  has nothing to do with sewing, but I think it is a great decorating tip. Next week I will be back to sewing.
I am in the middle of getting ready to move. Moving is an opportunity to rearrange and redecorate.  I don’t like the idea of all the packing, but the thought of redoing some pieces of furniture to fit a new color scheme is always fun. I am changing the color of my living room and my kitchen so I thought this would be a great time to paint some furniture with chalk paint. I went to a local antique store to see  what my color options were. They did not have the color I wanted and then I saw it…the price!!! Wow it is expensive! Much more then I wanted spend. I thought I would just use other paint, but then again, regular paint does not have that great look that chalk paint has. I decided to look around on line to see if I could find a less expensive solution.  I found a way to make my own chalk paint that is easy to do and gives me the same look as the ready made kind. It also is very easy to distress. So here is how to make it and how to use it. Enjoy!!! 

Mix the following to make your own chalk paint:
2 Cups Latex Paint
5 TBSP Plaster of Paris
3 TBSP Cool Water
1 - Mix the Plaster of Paris and cool water together in a separate bowl.  (make sure the water is cool)
2 – Mix until the plaster is smooth with no lumps, kind of like pancake batter. (not like my pancake batter, mine always have lumps)
3 - Add the plaster mixture to the paint and mix. 
4 - When the chalk paint dries you will begin to see a chalky look .
5 – You can add more plaster if you want a more chalky look. It is all up to you.
6 – After your item dries you can distress it by sanding the edges . If you want a more distressed look, paint your item black. When the black chalk paint dries paint over it with the color of your choice. Before you paint the second top color use petroleum jelly on spots where you don’t want the top coat to stick. After the top coat dries wipe the piece down and the spots where you put the petroleum jelly will wipe right off. Go over with sand paper if you want. It gives a piece a deeply distressed look.  When your piece is dry you can give the piece an even older look by going over the entire piece with a paste wax. You can get a wax that has a tint or you can add stain to it for an even darker look. 

I hope this helps anyone who wants to get a great chalk paint look without the big price tag.



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tutorial - Making Raspberry Jelly

Please welcome Colleen Bass of Needles-n-Pins Stitcheries as she walks us through the process of making homemade raspberry jelly.

Raspberry jelly

You need to sterilize your canning jars, rings and lids. I reuse my canning jars and rings every year, but NEVER reuse the lids. Always buy new lids.  I sterilize them and leave them in the water while I am cooking the jelly.


Fresh wild raspberries (takes about a 1 gallon freezer bag of berries for 4 cups of juice)
Pectin packets (from the grocery store)
Lemon juice

You only need the juice from the raspberries so you get this by putting the cold berries in a cheese cloth or berry bags and squeezing the juice into a bowl.

Place 2 small plates in the freezer for testing the jelly later. After you get all the juice out of the berries discard the squeezed berries. Pour 2 cups of berry juice in a stainless steel pan. The stainless steel works the best. Bring this juice to a boil. Then add 2 cups of sugar and dissolve. Add 3 teaspoons of lemon juice and ½ a packet of pectin. This is what you start with….after testing the jelly you may have to add more lemon juice or sugar.

Cook 3-4 minutes while boiling. Now you need to be careful with this step as the jelly juice in the pan when boiling will rise to the top of the pan, so to prevent overflowing I always lift the pan off the heat until it goes back down. After about 3 minutes or so, take the little plate out of the freezer and spoon a tablespoon or so on the plate to test if the jelly will jell ok. After you put the jelly on the plate wait a few moments and then tip the plate and see how the jelly runs down the plate. If it is slow and creeping and seems to be jelling then the jelly is ok….if not and it runs fast you will need to put a little more ingredients in. I start with about ¼ cup of sugar and another teaspoon of lemon juice. After letting it boil a little I test again. You shouldn’t have to add too much to the original ingredients. Just depends on the quality of the berries that year. Once and awhile I have to add a little more pectin if the berries aren’t as high quality that year. You will learn what is best for that year.

When the jelly is jelling ok you then take the jars out of the water and ladle the cooked jelly into them. Leave the lids off for several hours for the jelly to “set-up”. When the jelly has set you can put the lids on and tighten them up and put them in storage. Whalla… have just made jelly.

raspberry jelly

Sounds pretty easy huh? Well, let me tell you we had quite a learning curve when we first started doing this several years ago. This first year the jelly wouldn’t jell and we kept adding stuff to it and I think we had more sugar than jelly in them. Also after letting it sit for hours to jell in the jars some of the batches didn’t set very good so we had to pour them back into the pan
and add a little more “stuff” to them.  The jelly actually tasted pretty good. So it takes practice. This year the berries were great and I think we have the best jelly we ever have had.

So all of you berry pickers out there… you can make jelly! Thanks for joining me in my jelly making process. Hope you enjoyed it.  

Needles-n-Pins Stitcheries

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Handmade Spotlight - Primitive Summertime

Check out this great selection of Summer Primitives. You can view this entire treasury by Clicking Here, or you can click on each item to see it in greater detail.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Jacquie's Up-Cycle Nation: Floral Bottle Board

Decorative signs ride current craft trends- but just because one style passes doesn't mean the sign needs to hit the trash pile.  Looking at an object for it's shape instead of the message can often lead to new life for would-be castaways.
This floral bottle board is a good example of "one person's trash is another person's treasure".
Believe it or not, what lies beneath this sign was so outdated, even the cashier at the thrift store gave me a cross-eyed look.  But for just $1, I knew I couldn't pass it up.
Despite the hot-glued bugs, this wood sign is in excellent shape and already has a whimsical wire hanger. Bugs are easily picked off (and set free into the wilds of my patio plants) and a good coat of paint with primer will cover this sign's current message.  Add some vintage bottles I scored for $3 at auction last week and I would have my own custom floral board.
What you will need for this project:
*  Wooden Sign  *  Small Glass Bottles *  Sandpaper * Paintbrush  *  Foam Brush  *  Spare Paint  *  Mod Podge  *  Scrapbook Paper  *  22 Gauge Wire  *  Wire Cutter  *  Ruler  *  Pencil  *  Upholstery Tacks  *  Small Hammer 
Start by sanding the entire sign, front, back, and sides.
Apply one coat of neutral paint with primer.  I used some leftover interior paint from the garage.
Paint that gets on the wire can be scraped off with a damp towel, or use sandpaper if the paint has dried.
 Choose scrapbook paper to embellish the sign.  For this project I used paper from My Mind's Eye's Lost and Found collection.  Once the paper has been cut to suit the sign shape, apply Mod Podge to the back of the paper and adhere paper to the sign.
 Sand edges of paper to decrease the harsh line where the paper ends.
Apply a second coat of Mod Podge over paper and entire front of sign.
Using a ruler, mark the center point of the sign.  From there, make a mark every two inches on either side.
With a small hammer, pound in upholstery tacks at each pencil dot. Leave about 1/4 inch open to wrap wire.  Add some distressing by randomly hammering the board to leave strike marks.
Using 22 gauge wire (or stronger, depending on bottle size), cut 12 inch strips.  Place bottle neck in center of the cut wire, wrap wire twice and twist until the wire is secure and the bottle can't slip through.
Bring wire ends up and wrap around upholstery tack twice, twisting together for extra security.  Snip extra wire with wire cutters.
Repeat this process for all bottles.
  Lightly hammer tacks to be sure any extra space around wire is tapped into the board.
Hang sign and tug bottles lightly to be sure they are secure.
Fill each bottle with 1-2 inches of water.  Too much water could create too much weight.
Now the bottles are ready to display your favorite garden flowers!
Display inside or outside and enjoy!
Jacquie Wheeler
Hand of Bela Peck

Sunday, May 26, 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, May 25, 2013

Time Saver Recipes - Are You Grilling This Weekend?

It's Memorial Day Weekend... Will you be grilling?

I'm always looking for new grill recipes and today I'm sharing a few that I find intriguing.

First off we have Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps. These look absolutely delicious and you could definitely change up the ingredients to make them healthy. I found this great idea at

One of my all-time favorite things on the grill... ZUCCHINI! You can find out how to make it perfectly everytime at

How about some grilled fruit? I've never tried fruit on the grill, but it looks fantastic. Here's how to grill pineapple.

My family loves potatoes and this is my own recipe for grilled potatoes, I've posted it on here before, but since we're on the subject, here's the link. Grilled Potatoes

Enjoy your weekend!

Deena Davis

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Witches Stitches - No Sew Book Cover

Adding a big decorating look for a little effort and a very little price!

I love books, all kinds. I keep my decorating books and look at them over and over. I also like to keep a journal to write down new ideas for dolls and other art work. I am also one of those people who like everything to match. I am a lover of prim and I try to hide all modern items that I feel don’t fit into my primitive looking home. If you are wondering what books and primitive decorating have to do with each other…well…my book covers don’t always match the color of a room or the look of the book in the room is just wrong. So I came up with a decorating idea to make them look like they are just as old and primitive as the rest of the house. I cover them with fabric. You can use tea dyed fabric or you can use reproduction prints from the 1800’s. If you are really lucky and have some true old pieces of fabric, all the better.
You can cover the books so they are readable or you can go to the thrift store, get some hardback books, cover them, distress them and use them as decoration on an old school desk or on an old table. You can even print a paper label and glue it to the front of the book to give it whatever title you want. I have made some fabric covered books, glued a label to the front, stacked two or three together and added some Sweet Annie to the top book. I use some old string or tea dyed cheese cloth to tie them together. They really do add a great touch to any room. If your decorating is not primitive you can use any fabric that matches your d├ęcor.

1 - It is so very easy to do. Get the books you want to cover and follow this step by step list:
2 - Open your book, lay it flat and measure the with and the height. Add 3 inches to all sides.
3 - Cut your fabric to match these measurements. If you are going to tea dye your fabric do it before you go on to the next step.

4 - Iron your fabric and make sure you get all wrinkles out.
5 – Put a light coating of white craft glue, (I like to use “Tacky Glue” in the gold bottle), all over one side of the cover. Lay your fabric over it, making sure it over laps by the 3 extra inches on all sides. Press down and smooth out all wrinkles so the fabric sticks and you have a smooth surface.

6 – Now do the spine of the book and then repeat the process on the back cover of the book. Make sure you do this with the book closed.
7 – Let it dry a few minutes. 

8 – You now want to fold the extra fabric over on the inside of the cover, front and back.
9 – You will have to clip the overflow part of the fabric from the top and bottom of the spine of the book so the fabric folds in neatly.

10 – Using a small amount of glue, glue the fabric down inside the cover by folding the fabric in. Do this to both front and back. Close your book and your cover is done.
11 – If you want you may stop here for a book that will be stacked and tied and uses as decoration. If this is a book you will be reading or a journal, cut a piece of fabric to fit the inside of the cover. Make it about an inch smaller than the cover itself. Glue it over the folded inside pieces of fabric. This will give your book a neat finished look inside and out.

12 – If you want your book to look even older you can sand the fabric lightly across the cover and a little heaver on the edges. If the fabric shreds a bit that is ok, it is part of the look. You can also sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on the book and then lightly wipe it off so just a bit of the dust is left on. To set this you can spray it with a very, very light coat of matt clear spray.
Just place the books wherever you want and they will be a great addition to your home. Maybe add a pair of antique reading glasses, or an old pen and glass ink bottle. A great look for very little cost.

Hope you enjoyed this decorating tip. If you have any questions just give me a shout.
Enjoy, Faith

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Handmade Spotlight - Summer Fun Celebration

Check out this great selection of Summer Fun items. You can view this entire treasury by Clicking Here, or you can click on each item to see it in greater detail.