Wreath Instructions

In August, I posted about this wreath when I made it. Jo-Ann's Store posted this link to the instructions this morning. Take a look!

Nice to see the fruit of making a holiday wreath in August.

Take your Vitamin C!

The Color of the Year

Oh yeah, Pantone has redeemed itself from the 2012 orange year by giving us Emerald for 2013.  I am almost as happy as 2010 turquoise. Greens have always been my fav colors. Come on, how can you not love emerald green?

I am so hip that I just bought an emerald green metallic tea mug without even knowing it was the color of the year. 

So, now, we start thinking in green! Use your Vitamin G!

The Gift

Every semester when the women's bible study at my church is complete, we have a brunch. It is a great time. Today, we ate, we sang carols, we visited with each other, and I was invited to be the speaker.  Oh boy, this is not my forte, so I turned to my forte. I gave a short devotional message on God's gift. God has given us the indescribable gift of salvation by grace. That gift is wrapped up in compassion, mercy, and love. 

And then I put everyone to work, crafting!

To help us all remember our lesson, we sat together and made these wood gifts, and added a bible verse about God's gift. Every single one turned out cute! 

 Here is how it all came together. I started with 8x8x2 boards and cut out the gift shapes.

 Cut scrapbooking paper a little smaller than the wood piece. I cut it smaller so that it did not have to match the wood perfectly. My woodworking skills are not that great. 

 Adhere the paper to the face of the wood anyway you want. We used small double stick adhesive pieces. I did not want to worry about wet glue and brushes. They worked great.

Wrap a one yard piece of wired ribbon around the gift. Knot at the top.

 Make a 2 yard piece of ribbon into a shape like ribbon candy.  You should get 6 or 7 loops. Hold this loopy ribbon piece at the top of the gift. Knot the tails of the first ribbon around the center. Pull tightly.  Arrange the loops and make them round. Yay for wired ribbon!

Write your verse or message on a small piece of cardstock. Stick it to the gift with a double sided sticky piece.

The wood pieces are about 8" tall, so they are fairly substantial.  They cost $2 a piece, which is fairly awesome!  

Today, my Vitamin C stood for creativity and cheap!

 Today was a fun day. I spent the afternoon in Central Detroit with two vans full of team leaders for the Bs in the D project. Because I am overseeing the whole project, I have not (YET!) taken on any rooms to design and lead myself. This has given me an opportunity I have never had before. I am able to spend time with the kids we are meeting. Chatting with them and their parents has been quite enjoyable!

This is Keisa. She lives with her two older sisters and her Mother in a home that CDC built. They own it, making them a wonderful little success story. The girls were darling, as well as the home. I got to interview Keisa. 

Me: If you could have anything in your room, what would it be? Go crazy. I am not promising, but say what you really want, just in case we can make it happen.
Keisa: Hello Kitty. I visited the Hello Kitty store and was there for an hour! I loved everything.
Me: Wow, that is a lot of pink.
Keisa: YEAH!

 This is Maciyah. We met her last weekend when we were there doing our leader training rooms. She lived across the street. She spent part of the afternoon, quietly in a corner, watching.  When we knocked on her door today, she was literally jumping and wiggling with excitement.  Maciyah has a gold medal from school for having a 4.0 average, does not want to grow up to be the President because that is way too much to do, and has interest in being a designer. In fact, she had some very good ideas of things we could do in her room. First she said to get rid of the wall color. We all agreed!

 Dan measured Devon's room. There were what seemed like 323493 little kids running around. Turns out it was only three. One had his underwear on backward. Not sure why I found that funny, but I did. Mom was not home and Devon (big brother to all), got Mom on the phone while we were there. So, little sister helped Dan hold the end of the tape against the wall to get the needed measurements.

 I turned around and there she was. She needed to know how the distance from the bed to the ceiling!

 Autumn could totally not believe that her brother Jeremy would not put down the game controller and pose for the camera. She talked to him about it and he had no interest. 

Never mind. Autumn knows how to pose!

We drove the neigborhood in a big van. When we turned one corner, we saw a Mom jumping up and down on the porch, clapping and yelling.  What better welcome could we have had? She lived in the house with her son, whose room we are making over. The house is a glorious old victorian that has so seen better days. The inside was quite bad and there was no heat. In the living room, she had gorgeous victorian sofas. Gorgeous. She told us she inherited the house from her Grandmother. Her Grandmother used to drive a cab. She moved on to be the bookkeeper of the cab company, and ultimately became the president of City Cab.  

And, I thought, when you have the blood of that woman in your veins, you are going to survive!

Now the meet and greets have begun. It is time for the Vitamin C to flow!

Trendy Kid's Art

 So, you know that I am working on the team to makeover a lot of kid's bedrooms, and that we do not have a money tree. That means we make some things ourselves. Of course, I love that. 

So, this morning, I went to Hobby Lobby and HomeGoods to see what is currently trendy in wall art for kid's rooms. Why re-invent the wheel? And I got some good ideas!

 The background is newspaper or book pages. I think you could draw over the top with paint, markers, or even crayons. 

 Encouraging words.

 This is a framed piece of paper. The words are on the top of the glass. It gives it depth.

 Felt flowers are added to the painting. It could be any element done in felt, fabric, paper, burlap, newspaper, anything.

 Another with book pages background and design on the glass.

 An open wood frame, no backing, with wood shapes filling the space. You see through to the wall color.

 Background on square canvas is painted or is a piece of scrapbook paper.  The design is wood, but it could be paper or canvas, attached with pop dots.

 Background is a patchwork of scrapbook paper. The fire engine is painted.

 Song lyrics. This would be really meaningful to give to a child with the words to the song her Mother sings to her.

 I thought this was a canvas until I got close enough to touch it. It is a double layer of window screen. Painted. It is really lightweight, and inexpensive. It made me very excited because I have a roll of window screen in the garage!

Even better, it can be cut into shapes. Love this!

Now, I have some basic ideas, and it is time to use my Vitamin C!

How about you?

I Love My Magical Crimp Tool!

 I don't usually do subtle in jewelry, and this necklace is no exception. Click on the pic to see the variety of beads in this necklace.

 No sure how I got on this, but I have been thinking how many partial tubes of seed beads I have. Probably most beaders do. They are useful, but apparently only until they get right down to the bottom. And, so, I made A LOT of seed bead rings. There are rings of all size seed beads, triangle beads, hex beads, and some small crystal beads. The rings range from 1/2" to 1 1/2" in size.

I went through the drawer and took out all of the green beads I had. Then I added a couple turquoise beads to add a touch of brightness.

My Magical Crimping tool got a good workout. I love that thing. Do you have one? I lost count of the rings around 120. Probably there are close to 200 rings on the necklace. The process took me a couple movies.

 When all the rings were completed, and there were some empty seed bead tubes, I used embroidery floss to knot groupings of the rings to the links of a chain necklace. That part of the process was pretty fast. I even added a couple of small charms. You could add as many as you want.

I saved a couple smaller rings to go on the ends, so it is a bit tapered and looks better around the neck.

It is definitely a 3D necklace!  Made of leftovers!
Use your Vitamin C....

Jacket: Kalmbach Bead Soup

 You have seen this bead soup project and this one that I have done while participating in Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Hops. Well, that smart girl, Lori has written a book about her bead soup blog parties. The publisher is Kalmbach. To celebrate the release of the book, Kalmbach has sponsored a blog hop of their own.

They asked bead stores around the country to donate the bead soup, and asked Lori's blog hop participants who wanted to play.  Natch, I said, "pick me!" They did.

I received a nice collection of beads from Christine Ballas at Wicks & Stones in Wyandotte, MI.  She sent me furnace beads, pressed glass beads, some black faceted beads, a couple short lengths of chain, and a big triangle toggle clasp. I had a lot with which to work.

 I started with a jacket I bought for $3.96 at my local Salvation Army Thrift Store. Never discount Salvation Army. You never know what you might find there. I like a man's jacket at this time of the year. It is the perfect weight, not too heavy , but warm enough for cool fall days. I roll up the sleeves and wear it with jeans and a solid color top.

 Using a beading needle and beading thread, I stitched on the furnace glass beads and some black faceted beads in a curvy line. This became the base for my design.

Then, I stitched the rest of the beads around it. I added some gold bugle beads and some copper triangle beads to add texture. If you click on the photo, you will be able to see the beads closer. 

My fav part of the design, is the added movement. I stitched on the triangle part of the clasp, by the loop so it hangs freely. Then I added a few bead dangles to it. They swing! You can also see the short length of chain I added at the bottom. The chain is attached only by the ends. Three small dangles of black faceted beads hang from it.

I had fun doing it, not worrying about design, just adding beads as I worked. I had forgotten about the lengths of chain in my soup. I thought I was finished and was cleaning up my work table when I found them. And it turns out the addition of one bit of chain is one of my fav parts of the design.

Thank you Lori, Kalmbach, and Wicks & Stones for all of the work that made this possible. Hope the book sells like hotcakes!

It is great to use your Vitamin C in a challenge! 

Flowers for Beds

If you have read my post on zip code 48202, you know I am working on a project to buy beds for kids in Central Detroit. If not, you can read about it here.

To begin raising some money for this project, I am offering some pins/pendants made by me. You will find them in my Etsy shop. Every cent you send me for these flowers will go toward the project. 

I have made these flowers so you can pin them to your shirt, jacket, or bag. Or, you can string a cord or chain through the ring on the back and wear it as a pendant. I have attached several to a necklace chain and it is quite striking. When I wear it, people stop me on the street to ask about it.

I call them faux enameled flowers because they are made of paper but look like vintage metal flower pins. They are heavily glazed and are quite sturdy. 

Maybe you could use one as a Christmas gift. Every dollar is going to this very important bedroom project.

Thank you!! 


I don't usually go off the creativity path in this blog, but this is firmly on my mind and I am hoping that writing about it will help me process some of it. 

For the next 7-8 months, I will be working on a project that will give beds and bedroom makeovers to some kids in Central Detroit. So, on Saturday, I took a tour of inner city Detroit, thinking I should find out a little about the area and the culture.

The bedroom project will take place in the 48202 zip code. That zip code is the poorest one in the United States. Not just Michigan, but all of America. It is like a third world country. Unemployment is 66%. High school graduation rate is 15%. The first grade class at the elementary school has 69 kids in it. Little kids have to walk 4 miles to school and then sit on the floor on a mat all day with 68 other kids....while being hungry, after sleeping on the floor with a blanket the night before.

Some families live without furniture, their children have never slept in a bed. Some homes have no electricity or running water. I saw several with broken windows and blankets stuffed in the holes. Think about having no electricity and trying to heat your home with the gas burners on the stove.

We did a poverty assimilation exercise. We were given $1000 for our family of 6, to last a month.  We priced food, transportation, clothes, and housing. We looked for jobs. It was impossible to even take care of the basics for a family. And then we were told they gave us a cushion and most families have more like $500 a month.

Now I am thinking about our lifestyle here in the suburbs. How many times have I pulled into McDonald's for a $1 ice tea? And how much could I have to buy food for someone if I had not done that for a year? And it just goes on and on from there. Sigh.

Yes, we have been educated and worked for what we have. But, don't we have so much that is not necessary? And we are sitting over here in the burbs with our miracle cell phones and computers and closets and pantries full, driving to get more stuff in our new gas guzzling cars? And not even thinking about the people over in 48202? 

See? So much to process. It puts reality to loving your neighbor as yourself.

Hoping my Vitamin C will work here.

fruits de l'aiguille

 My creative project of the week: Fruits of the Needle! I love to sit with a pile of fabric and floss and just stitch pieces together. It is therapeutic for me, I guess it must be the pulling of the needle through the fabric that is sort of soothing. I don't do it all that often, even though I would love to be an art quilter. It is just so time consuming. 

 These are for quilt market in October. The background is printable cotton fabric from Blumenthal Lansing. I found a free downloadable frame online, and put the words inside it using a cool font...then printed it. I could not have drawn it to look as good. Love this printable fabric!

 These will be framed together in a long frame. I think they would be cute in a kitchen.

Use your Vitamin C and some basic materials and see what happens!

Witchy Sister Beads

 Waverly Witch. She's the oldest of the sisters... gets her looks from her Mother's side. Waverly has a style all her own, and knows a spell for absolutely everything. Waverly has already gone to a good home, but her six sisters are sitting in my Etsy shop. The sisters have very different personalities and you can read their stories there.

I had fun designing the witch bead. She is made on a cone. Instructions for making her are in this month's issue of Bead Design Studio. And then, I had even more fun making the sisters and writing their mini bios.

And, go here to find instructions to make this Trick or Tweet ornament.

Scary thinking about Halloween being right around the corner, but it is. Use your Vitamin C!

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