Thursday, November 18, 2010

Posting Under the Influence...

...of my first cold of the season!  UGH!

I guess the winter season has arrive early for me!  I'm sitting here with a bad cold that started yesterday with a nose running like an open faucet and sneezing my head off.  I took Loratadine yesterday and last night, so I managed to get the "faucet" turned off a little, but still feel pretty lousy.  I wish I could go back to bed, but my arthritis was hurting so much this morning that I just couldn't stay in bed any longer.

So...since I don't feel like doing much of anything, I decided that I might as well share some more of my vinyl crafts with you!

This is a floating frame that I made to donate to an auction at my grandchildren's school for their Fall Festival.

This tile is sooo ME!  I scraplifted this quote some time ago, thinking that I would turn it into an embroidery design for a sweatshirt, but when my hubby brought home a few tiles, I decided to use the design to decorate it!

I didn't want to hang the tile on a wall, so I used the easel back from an old picture and glued it to the back of the tile with some Liquid Nails, since I was out of E6000 glue.  It's not centered because I used a tape measure that had a messed up end. so I was measuring from 1" across to 13" instead of across to 12".  I was tired and not thinking straight, so when I marked the center point, I messed up and figured half of 13" instead of half of 12" and counted backwards 6-1/2" from 13"!  I must have really been tired because I never noticed how off-center it was!  Oh, still works! LOL!

View from the side.

This is a name frame I made as a wedding gift for my hubby's great-nephew and his wife.  I got the frame at Walmart for $3.  I had intended to make it into a floating frame, but since the picture opening is hinged onto a permanent backing, I was afraid I'd mess it up if I took it off.  So...I had some 8-1/2" x 14" cardstock that I used to make the background.

First, I sprayed the cardstock with spray-on Kilz primer so that the cardstock wouldn't soak up my metallic copper spray paint (I chose the copper to coordinate with the copper color in the frame.  The next step can be skipped, but I think it gives the metallic copper a richer look.  After the primer dried, I spray painted the cardstock with satin black paint.  After that dried, I then sprayed on the metallic copper.  After it dried, I laid the glass from the frame on top of the cardstock and cut around it with my rotary cutter.

I used my Cricut to cut out their last name in black vinyl and applied to the cardstock.  I then used my Cricut to cut out their first names in a beige vinyl.  I flipped the design so that it would cut backwards.  I applied the backward-cut first names to the BACK of the glass, so that when the glass was in the frame, the names would be right-side out.  By doing the first names this way, the front of the glass will be easier to clean.

Since I already had everything but the frame, this wedding gift cost me a total of $3!  Not bad!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of my projects!  I have another one in the works that I've been procrastinating on finishing because it involves layering two different colors, which I've never done before.  I'm a little nervous about how it will turn out, but I guess if it doesn't turn out well, I can always scrape off the vinyl and give it another whirl!
Have a GREAT weekend!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Time goes fast!

WOW!  It's been TWO weeks since I posted!   Well, so much for my plans to post something incredibly funny, insightful and beautiful every couple of days!
At least I'm posting in time to join Smiling Sally for Blue Monday this week!

Part of the reason I haven't been posting is because I was working on some custom sweatshirts.  I can't post the entire sweatshirt designs right now, because they're for a special ballgame and my friends/customers want to be sure they are the ONLY ones at the game with shirts like these.  Two of the hisrts have the same design on the back, but this one is a bit different.  This mom wanted her son's number on the back of her sweatshirt, so I used my Cricut to cut the numbers our of BLUE FABRIC , and then I appliqued them to the back of the shirt.  Didn't the ladies choose a pretty blue fabric?

There was also quite a bit of machine embroidery involved in this project, but I'll have to wait until after the game to share it all with you!

Maybe, I'll be able to post more often, provided that I can come up with some good stuff to post!  The wheels in my head will be trying to churn up some new posts while I hope that you all have a great week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Found Something BLUE!

 Good morning!

Today is Blue Monday over at Smiling Sally's, and the good news is that I finally found something BLUE!

About the only blue thing in my house that I haven't already posted about is the wallpaper in my bathroom...and, while I still love the color and pattern, the paper is so crappy old, that it needs replacing.  I'll save posting a picture of that as a last resort!

A friend of our daughter gave her a large bag just full of the little packages of M&M Mnis, so our daughter brought them over to the house for our one and only trick or treater.  We live in the country, so the only trick or treater we had was our youngest grandson Buzz Lightyear.

We fixed Buzz up a bag with several packages of the candy, plus a few suckers and a couple of small toys, and he was happy as could be!

That was the good news!

Now, for the BAD NEWS:

MeMe, who had been deprived of chocolate for a couple of weeks, fell upon the rest of the M&Ms like a starving wolf ate a few packs of them.  Here is the evidence...rather, the evidence WAS in those pretty, bright BLUE packages!

Sigh!  I guess this means no more chocolate  for MeMe for quite a while!

Have a Happy Blue Monday and a GREAT week!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stencilling with a Cricut

My next adventure in Cricuting was making stencils out of clear contact paper.  I went out to my crap craft shed and found the bottle of Armour Etch that I bought years ago.  I had no idea whether it was still any good or not, but decided to see.

I am woefully behind on wedding gifts and needed one for a young couple whose surname is Byrd.  I had a nice vase, so I decided to decorate it for them.  I cut a fancy B out of the contact paper and, just for fun, also cut out a little bird on a branch right over the "B"  I applied the vinyl to the vase, although I had to cut the sides of the vinyl AROUND the design in order to accommodate the curve of the vase.

I pressed the contact paper down really well, especially around the edges of the design, and then I applied the etching cream and prayed that it would still work in spite of being 10+ years old.  I waited about 15 minutes, and then scraped the etching cream back into the bottle and ran the vase under running water to wash off the rest of the etching cream.  I then removed the contact paper to see if the etching cream worked.

IT WORKED!!!  WOO HOO!  No need to buy more of that expensive stuff!

I put a blue towel inside the vase in hopes of getting a decent picture, but you can barely see the branch on which the little birdie is sitting.  Anyway, I think it turned out pretty cute, and I hope that T and C like it!

I then started thinking about what else I could etch.  I thought about my Pyrex bowls and pans, and how I've always had to write my name on a piece of masking tape to stick to the bottom of the dish at pot luck suppers.  So, I cut out another stencil, along with a curvy little design on each side, and stuck it on my Pyrex meat loaf pan.  I did both sides of the pan this way.  I should be pretty "cool" at the next pot luck supper with my monogrammed cookware!

While I was looking for the Armour Etch cream, I came across some candles that I had bought on sale a couple of years ago.  I had intended to try my hand at hand-painting candles but never got "a round tuit".  I also found the bottle of candle medium that I bought for that unattempted project, along with a bottle of black craft paint.  Yeah!  I was in business!

Well, I did a couple of candles, and I'm not thrilled with either one of them.  I wiped down the candles with alcohol, let them dry and then applied the contact paper.  It was hard to get the contact paper to stick down very well on the candles,, and the paint is best when applied with a wide foam brush.  The nativity scene was supposed to have a very thin arch over the whole scene, but I ended up scraping it off.  I also got the bright idea of applying glitter to the star, but managed to glitter Joseph's head, as well.  Oh, well, this will do for us, but I wouldn't give it to anyone else!

My next candlepainting project was this fancy monogram.  Again, it was hard to get the contact paper to stick to the candle well, and while I was stuggling with it, I managed to get it crooked!  This design is too fancy, and some of the parts of it are just too thin to do well as a stencil on candles.  It'll do for us, though!

A poster on the HGTV craft boards suggested that I cut my designs out of black tissue paper and use a piece of waxed paper to hold the design against the candle while I use a blow dryer to melt the candle wax just enough to soak into the tissue paper design.  I have a few more candles, so I'm going to give that idea a try.

I've been painting the doors and trim in my entry way this week, so I will be back as soon as I finish that job and get the walls painted!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Latest Obsession

I just realized that if I had waited until MONDAY to post my previous post, I would have had something for Smiling Sally's BLUE MONDAY!   That's what I get for jumping in and posting without my brain in gear!

My sweet hubby bought me a Cricut Create for Christmas.  He totally missed Walmart's Black Frday sale of the Cricut Expression that I really wanted, but...oh, well, it's the thought that counts, right?

However, when I opened the box, there was no cartridge inside!  Apparently, someone had stolen the cartridge.  So, off to Walmart I went.  They had one more Create in stock...and someone had stolen the cartridge out of that box, too!  Finally, Walmart's manager just gave me a cartridge.  The only problem was that it was a "Home Decor" cartridge.  Sure, it had lots of cute stuff on it, and I did play with it for quite a while, but that cartridge had NO FONTS!  It's kind of hard to personalize stuff without any fonts.

Given our financial situation, my hubby didn't see any need for spending money on either a cartridge or the Make The Cut program that I really wanted.  With Make The Cut, I wouldn't need any more cartridges!

So, my Cricut Create sat, mostly unused, until September, when my wonderful mom gave me birthday money!  WooHoo!!!  I promptly sat down and ordered MTC!

It is super simple to use, and I really like that I can take simple images and convert them into die cuts!

All I needed was something to cut...preferably vinyl.  I was out of money, so I asked a friend who owns a printing/sign business if I could buy some of her scrap vinyl.  She GAVE me a whole box full! WooHoo, again!

The very first thing I made was this 4" tile as a gift for my cousin and his wife who were both celebrating their birthdays.  I had planned on making a set of 4 coasters; but, I was running out of time, and this intricate design took quite a bit of time to weed out the unwanted vinyl.  I turned it into a wall decoration, instead.

This is not the finished version.  I had to stop at Walmart on the way to the party to get some ribbon and sticky-back felt to finish it off.  I used E6000 glue to glue a length of 1-1/4" wide sheer black ribbon to the back.  I glued ribbon all the way down the back of the tile for extra security.  I then cut a square of black felt and applied that to the back.  For what it's worth, I do NOT like the sticky-back's very hard to work with, IMHO!  I was pleased with how well it turned out, and my cousins were delighted.

Then, my hubby came up with a request.  He had just gotten back from a fishing trip to our trailer in Arkansas with his buddies.  His buddy, Daryl, had rotten fishing luck that weekend, and my hubby likes to "rub it in" a little.  He asked me to decorate a coffee cup for Daryl, who was a good enough sport to laugh about it!

 My daugher-in-law likes to decorate for Halloween, so I made her this tile and finished it with the ribbon in the same way that I finished my cousins' tile.

For a more serious gift, I bought this fall charger at Walmart and applied a vinyl monogram.  She said that this was just the kind of thing she likes!

Then, my hubby came back with another request.  Our business phone numbers changed a while back, but we had not yet changed the numbers on our work trucks.  The work trucks got new phone numbers, and then I made new vinyl signs to put in the back windows.  We figure that people might notice those signs better than they might notice the signs on the sides of the trucks.  Maybe my signs will help our business!

I'll be back later with some more pictures of my obsession craft projects! Have a great week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm still around...alive and kicking!

WOW!  It's been a LONG time since I posted!

In case anyone was wondering, no, I'm not dead, nor did I drop off the face of the earth!

With all the hullabaloo of my husband's illness, my own health issues, and our financial setbacks last year, I just lost my posting and crafting mojo.  I did make a few things for Christmas, but that was about it, as far as crafting goes.

Hubby is doing very well now, despite a few set-backs.  He had issues with his blood thickening up, so had to take blood-thinners for about 8 months.  He also had another foot injury which put him back into the hospital for a few days, but the infection wasn't as bad as it was last year.  He now has a CPAP machine, which alleviates my fears that I might wake up to find that he quit breathing without starting back up again.  He had some issues with heart palpitations, but another heart catherization showed NO BLOCKAGES.  Thank goodness!  I'm inclined to think that the palpitations may have been mild anxiety attacks, as he's not had another spell of them since the catherization.  I believe that the catherization probably alleviated his worries, and thus eliminated the palpitations.

I'm at home full-time now, as my arthritis in my knee, hip, hands, and spine make it very difficult to be on my feet for very long or even do computer work on a full-time basis.  I'm currently awaiting a disability hearing...sometime within the next 8 months...MAYBE!   The knee was functioning OK for a couple of yeras, after I had a cortisone shot directly into the joint; however, the shot is now wearing off.  I'm hoping to be able to get another shot very soon.

Our oldest grandson graduated from high school in May, and is in his first semester at college.  It was a blessing that he won  enough scholarships to pay for his first semester!  We're very proud of him!

I started getting my crafting mojo back by monogramming sheets and towels for him to take to college.  I didn't take a picture of those, for some reason.

Our youngest grandson turned 3 in August, and since he graduated to a full-sized "big boy" bed, I decorated some sheets for him with machine embroidery and a little red rick-rack..

Here's the top sheet, from left to right.  The bottom sheet matches the pillowcases and coordinates with the top sheet.

I've been making quite a few things over the past month, but I'll save those for another post!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Trials and Blessings!

My husband is a diabetic with diabetic neuropathy in his feet.

In March, he stepped on a nail and walked around for half a day without realizing that he had a nail sticking in his foot.

He was headed to our trailer in Arkansas for a weekend of fishing with our grandson, so he loaded up his foot-doctoring supplies and headed out.

The following Sunday night, he came home and was pleased that his foot was looking good.

Monday, he went to work and was on his feet all day. Monday night, he showed me his foot, which was black and blue all over the top. My immediate thought was that he had dropped something really heavy on his foot. He said, "No. I haven't done anything but walk around on it all day."

He wasn't feeling very well, so he stayed home the next two days. In the meantime, I called his doctor for an appointment, but she was out of town for a week.

Wednesday night, I got home to find that his foot had a huge blister on top of his toe. He asked me what I thought, and I said, "I think we need to go to the ER!"

The ER doctor took one look and said, "We're admitting you for IV antibiotics."

By that time, the blister had ruptured and his foot looked like something out of a horror movie. My first thought was that he had that flesh-eating bacteria, and the doctor did order testing for that.

It turned out that my husband had a staph infection, a bone infection, and another kind of infection in his foot.

He was in the hospital for a week, but needed IV antibiotics at home for 4 more weeks.

Which would cost us about $4,500!

Our insurance would cover the cost of home health care, but NOT the cost of the medication. We had no clue as to what to do! We certainly did not have the money!

Praise the Lord for good friends!

For years, we have volunteered, along with our friends, with the Clydesdale Children's Christmas Store. Our main focus is provided needy children with toys, food and clothing at Christmas time, but we also provide small scholarships to deserving students and do fundraisers to help anyone with a genuine need throughout the year. This organization is entirely volunteer, with no salaries being paid out.

On Roger's last day in the hospital, the social worker came by and told us that she had good news for us.

The Clydesdale Children's Christmas Store was going to pay for the IV meds! We called our friends, Ronnie and Brenda, (with tears rolling down our cheeks!) to thank them. Ronnie was so sweet...he said that Roger had done so much for others (working fundraisers, cooking BBQ, etc.) that it was just time to help Roger.

I should also mention that the company providing the meds also agreed to reduce the price by $1200.

Because of their generosity, Roger did not lose any part of his foot and his foot began to heal nicely.

When his foot was nearly healed, we learned that Roger had 4 blockages in the arteries to his heart. He then had to have a quadruple bypass surgery.

Since my husband works in our family business, which is already suffering from the collapse of the housing industry, our income was virtually dropped to almost nothing. What little business we were doing was barely enough to pay our son, who kept the business going on his own.

In addition to the generosity of the Clydesdale Christmas Store "family", a whole bunch of friends threw a huge fundraiser for us, and raised enough money to keep us going through the months of recuperation that lay ahead.

God truly does answer our prayers. We are not out of the financial woods, yet, but we are rich in friends...friends who not only get to work and do what they can to help us out, but friends who offer up their prayers for us. We are truly blessed to have all these friends in our lives, and I thank God for them every day!

True friends are angels without wings who live on this earth and walk amongst us!

I am so proud to know so many angels!

Who are the angels in your lives?