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Sunday, December 5, 2010

More *almost* Free Gifts

I like to think that God has a sense of humor.  

Case in point- I have often been referred to as 'The Queen'......don't ask me why  ;-)   Seriously- even as a little girl my parents said I must think I was the Queen.  Hmmmm.  So, it would only be *fitting* that I should get a crown for Christmas, right??  Unfortunately, the crown I am getting is NOT the kind to put on my head!!  That's the irony at play here.....last night I cracked a porcelain crown on a molar.  Yippee  :/

So guess what.  More people on my gift list will be getting something handmade this year.  Not necessarily a bad thing. 

I visited a few craft shows in the last few weeks, and there are lots of ways to spend your hard earned money to buy 'personalized' gifts for the folks you love.  I have admired the collage name prints that have the lettering made from architectural pics that resemble or are letters.  Given my architectural background, that is a given, right??  

You can imagine my excitement when I found a Flickr group with these images to share FOR FREE!!  Ahhh, sometimes the stars align.  The name collage prints I saw for sale (unframed) at the craft shows were running just about $10 per letter, and that was in black and white.  I'm sure with the cost of colored ink, they figured why bother increasing their costs, right? 

Certainly, if you want, you can make these personalized word/name prints in black and white.  I like to add color through artwork, so I chose to print my collage on my color laser printer.  Just to save you some time, effort and ink, I will tell ya I tried this with canvas paper and got a pretty mottled result.  I got a vivid print with white cardstock, lightly textured.

Here is my collage print:

Here is my finished project:

The editing and collage program I use is Picnik The basics are free, but the collage part I used is in the premium features which are under $30/yr.  You may already have an editing program you love.....I was just putting that out there for anyone that doesn't already have one.  

Leo Reynolds  is kind enough to share his fabulous collection of architectural photos with everyone FOR FREE (you can tell I love FREE, right??) as long as you follow his copyright rules, which means no resale, but give as many of these awesome gifts as you choose!  

 Just a footnote:
I had my mat custom cut @ my local hobby store for a cost of $5.  The frame was one of many I have purchased over the course of the year at garage sales, etc.  You may have one laying around that could just use a fresh coat of paint.  But, still this project was far below the $150+ it would have cost to have the people at the craft show do it- and the most time consuming part was looking through all of Leo's great photos and selecting my favorites.
A BIG *thanks* to Leo for all of the fantastic Flickr images!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Still Time For a Homemade Gift.....

The weather outside is delightful these days.  But, being December it is not destined to last.  We have had a very mild and dry fall.  Most of our trees still have not turned colors.  It seems strange to have green leaves on many trees, and Christmas decorations everywhere.  I grew up in Michigan in the crook of the thumb and when I lived up there the first 20 years of my life winter meant SNOW!  Lots and lots and lots of snow.  Truck it down by the Tittabawassee and maybe by June it would be all gone. 

The extraordinary diversity of Texas includes 10 climatic regions, 14 soil regions, and 11 distinct ecological regions.  Here in North Central Texas we have 4 distinct seasons.  That means lots of clothes for everything from zero to 110 degrees!!  We are blessed with a long *flip flop* season, but we definitely also use warm coats, hats, gloves and boots.  Which brings me to this weeks tutorial.  It is a fast, fun upcycle which has a million possibilities for customization and personalization, and it is totally wearable, too!

Isn't this the cutest headband ever?? 
(Not so sure I'm giving this one away)

Here is my finished project:
Once you see how simple these are to make, and basically free, you will never spend $$ to buy one again!  I am totally working on the matching scarf!

Okay- this looks like a lot of steps, but hang in there.....once you get the pattern made it goes really fast.  
Gather some supplies:
I used an old pair of grey sweatpants that no longer fit anyone, and a scrap of red polar fleece left over from another project.  I am also considering using the wording area from a sweatshirt that no longer fits, and a felted sweater.  I hope to have some of those made to show you before Christmas, but no promises.  If you make one, I would love for you to email me the pics, so I can add it to the blog for others to see  :D
You will need basic sewing skills, basic sewing supplies, some paper to make the pattern (I used legal sized printer paper), and freezer paper for the stencil.    
I started by freehand sketching a basic headband shape on a piece of legal paper:
To make it come out even, fold in 1/2 width-wise, then fold in 1/2 length-wise, and refine the shape when you cut it out.  Use your sketch lines as a guide:
Here is the first part of the pattern cut out:
Add some ends to make it long enough:
Trim it to smooth out the shape:
Now you have your pattern!  Cut one of your top fabric (mine is the grey sweats) and one of the lining (mine is red fleece).  Be sure you cut your length with the stretch of the fabric!  I cut out a test pattern from some scraps of plaid fleece just to be sure I liked the size of the band on my head.  I have a pretty *average* sized head, so my pattern size should work for *most* everyone.  If you are the *Big Head* person in your family, (you know who you are) you may want a slightly wider band.  
 Here is the part that took me forever the most time.....picking the graphic!  Lucky you- you can copy my design if you want!
You are welcome to download a copy here:
When I printed it, I used the 'landscape' paper setting, letter size paper, and I 'justified' or stretched it to the length of the paper.
I traced the design loosely onto my freezer paper.  If you want, you can print on the freezer paper.  I wanted to be able to trace it more than once.
 Carefully cut out your design, and iron it onto your fabric, using the 'wool' setting on the iron:
I used VersaCraft ink for fabric in black.  I blotted it on, using my fingers under the fabric to get the edges of the design darker.  You could also use paint for fabric, or add a textile medium to acrylic paints.  Just be sure to heat set after it has dried.  

And We Have A Winner!!

Let's face it.....we are ALL winners, right??  But only one *special follower* can be the recipient of the $35 Gift Certificate from my good friend Sean @ CSN Stores!  I want to use a little space here to thank Sean for his support, and for helping to make someone's holiday just a little easier with his generosity.  :D

Drum roll, please........

Mixin' it up.......

Sorry for the blurry pic, but it's not easy to look away and take the pic at the same time!!!
And the winner is.........

The Winner is Princess of Everything!!!

I will be sending you an email to give you the coupon code for your gift!
Thanks to everyone that took time out from their busy holiday schedule to read my blog, leave a comment, and lift up my day.  I cherish each and every one of you, and want you to know that it enriches my life to hear from you! a tutorial I am finishing up, and these holiday decorations are not getting themselves out of the boxes, so I will be back a little later!  :)

All My Best

Telling People What I Think For 40+ Years!!

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