Craft it Forward: 7 of Hearts

craft it forward button

Craft it Forward Button: Grab it for your own blog

In early February, I launched my first Craft it Forward.  It’s been great fun having an excuse to craft all year and the pleasure of trying new things.

December’s Craft it Forward is ‘7 of Hearts’ representing my 7th work from the heart.  As soon as I secure Vivien’s address, they’ll be on their way to the UK.

Vivien blogs at Where the Journey Takes me. She writes:

I live in a small old mill town nestled into the Pennine hills in Yorkshire with my long-suffering husband of thirty some years. I have two beautiful daughters who have flown the nest (most of the time!). I paint and draw (a little) when time allows, make and bake sometimes but not often enough and garden and grow things as much as possible. I recycle and up-cycle, hate waste and I couldn’t live without my time planner and lists.

Vivien is slowly renovating a quaint and picturesque cottage in Scotland, where she will eventually retire. We share a mutual love of gardening, card-making and organizing.

I crafted a set of cards from KaiserCraft’s Enchanted Garden Collection.  Vivien uses flowers and butterflies in her own cards. I incorporated both into the designs, below.

butterfly die cut

Die cut butterfly using my Silhouette

Butterfly Cards

Butterfly Cards

Using the same paper, I made a set of quilt cards, one of my favorite designs for the Silhouette. I enjoyed combining the geometric patterns of the card design, with the more ethereal patterned paper. Each of the six cards features a different combination of the papers.

Envelopes and card detail

Envelopes and card detail

quilt cards

Quilt cards

The last two cards feature the intricate illustrations of the Enchanted Garden designs.

Enchanted Garden Cards

Enchanted Garden Cards

I’ve kept the packaging simple, honoring her desire to scale back: they’re wrapped together with a single piece of ribbon.

What is Craft it Forward?

If you think you might like to try this on your own blog, G+ or Facebook page, here’s how it works. You put forth the offer to create a handmade item. The first five people to comment on your original post receive a handmade item, uniquely your own . In return, they agree to pay it forward, crafting their own unique item for the first five people on their list. Craft it Forward encourages community, creative spirit and camaraderie. It also encourages flexibility, so I expanded my list from five to seven based on interest in the project. Isn’t it fun making your own rules?

Plan-Free: My Mellow-Yellow Weekend

We had a mellow-yellow, no plans weekend. I loved it. That’s not to say I didn’t do anything, but that I enjoyed doing ‘whatever.’

First up, crafting a wreath:

wreath detailI’ve had an idea bouncing around in my head for a while and wanted to give it a try. I’ve been drying a few hydrangea blooms, now faded to a soft purple-gray. The sage is winding down the season, but still has plenty of purple plumage to spare. The thought was to wrap strands of the soft sage along the edges of the wreath, punctuated with three hydrangeas and a bit of ribbon. The colors are lovely, but the implementation is all wrong. Further, the more I worked with the hydrangea, the more I damaged the brittle blooms. Stay tuned for my sad little tale later this week.

Next up, seed organizing:

Oh, how I love organizing. And seeds. And my computer.

I gave my Seed Keeper an end-of-season clean out. It’s a great place to collect and store the seeds, but after a busy spring, I’d neglected the contents. When I had finished planting, I tossed empty seed packets into the box, thinking I would later use them for record-keeping.

Seed Keeper Deluxe

Seed Keeper Deluxe

Head slap: I keep a blog. So, remembering the log part of blogging, I tossed the torn packets into the recycle bin. (At one point I thought I would save them to make cards, but muddied finger prints and torn edges helped me realize the error of my ways.)

The clean out left plenty of room for this season’s seed collection, my most methodical and organized to date.

Matching garden photos with the seeds I plan to store, I created a photo collage.  I sized the collage to fit a sheet of name badge labels, passed it through the printer and voila, an easy way to make seed packets. Using glassine envelopes on hand from last year, I included the name and the year, added the label and seeds, and filed them in my nifty Seed Keeper.

flower seed packets

Flowering annual seed packets ready to fill

flower seed labels

Photo collage for identifying seeds

squirrel on the fence

Looking for directions (sorry buddy, these seeds aren’t for you).  The peanuts are one house over.

End of the weekend, project:

I connected with Emma at Greenhouse Starter over the weekend and made plans to ship her Craft it Forward treasure.  I stayed up making a card to go with it, the perfect end to my mellow-yellow, no plans weekend.

Are you making your way through Monday or still hanging on to the weekend?

The Magic of Snail-Mail: Gjeometry Crafts

Who doesn’t like finding personal mail in their mailbox?  Nobody I know, that’s for sure!  It’s become a rare commodity, so much so that many postal services are going broke.  I’m happy to report that we bloggers are doing our part, one wonderful note, card or parcel at a time.

Through my blogging community and Craft-it-Forward projects, I’ve received numerous goodies in the mail.  Last week was no exception.  Catja, over at Gjeometry let me squeak into her pay if forward list, even though I was number six and the cut off was five.  You can read a bit more about it on her blog. (Thanks once again, Catja).

Look what arrived in the mail.

gjeometry apron collage-188

Catja sent me this beautifully sewn, dual-toned apron sporting three large pockets and several tabs for holding tools.  The body of the apron is an incredibly soft rayon tweed with a subtle pattern, a cross between herringbone and check.  The face of the apron is a sturdy, floral canvas, trimmed in brown.   I *love* it!

Catja included a thoughtful note written on a card embedded with annual and perennial seeds.  I’ll be able to keep the card, and slip out the seed insert for planting next spring.  What a treasure.

embedded seed card

Bloomin’ Flower Card

The spoiling didn’t stop there.  She also sent a volume of essays called The Roots of My Obsession: Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden.  I can’t wait to dive in.  Here’s a quote:

There’s a mystery at the heart of gardening: Why would any sane person spend hours on hands and knees, courting aching joints and a ruined back, just to raise a bunch of plants? He simple answer, of course, is that gardening is an obsession that cannot be conquered or abandoned, only indulged.  The richer, more complex and more human answer can be found in the pages of The Roots of My Obsession.

I see joyful reading ahead.

gardening essays

Personal essays on why we garden

On the subject of spoiling, our resident felines received a treat as well.  It seems, Catja’s mom is also crafty.  She knit this wooly purple octopus for the kitties.  It arrived with a small opening for cat nip, with a length of yarn attached to sew it closed.  Our catnip plant is just now dying back for the winter. I pinched off a few of the leaves for their new toy.  Here’s a shot of Mighty Mouse checking it out.

knitted octopus

Tiny octopus

Mighty Mouse loves the new toy

Mighty Mouse loves the new toy

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Catja, for your thoughtfulness.  I admire your style, your grace and your creativity.

You can check out Catja’s blog at Gjeometry.  Her kitty features prominently in most of her posts. Here are a few of my favorites:

Coming Full Circle and a Blogger Surprise

Party girl, 1920's style

Party girl, 1920’s style

Boy am I tuckered out!  We attended two Halloween parties this past weekend, our own kid-friendly party and another one hosted for adults. Great fun.

I finished my Halloween costume Friday night, but for a few hand-stitches the next morning. Talk about cutting it close.  Party guests arrived here at 1:00 pm Saturday.  Nothing like a little pressure to keep your energy up and your adrenaline pumping.

We host a Halloween party every year for our boys.  We invite adults, too, but the focus is on the younger ones.

Later that night we attended an adults-only party, just a couple of houses away.  It was fun wearing my ‘party dress’ all day.  It’s not often you get to wear pink shoes, false eyelashes and a petticoat.

Many moons ago I attended San Jose State’s Theater Arts program.  Everyone studied a little of everything including acting, literature, backstage work and technical theater, but costumes are my first love.

Coming Full Circle

The inspiration for this year’s costume came from my dear friend Boomdee.  When she visited here in May, she brought me a beautiful hand-made easel decorated with lace paper, ribbons and bows along with tiny hearts and roses.  Featured on the easel: a lovely dancer from the 1920’s, dressed in soft pinks.  She chose the paper with my theater background as inspiration.  Now it’s both art and costume.

costume and muse

My costume muse

cottage craft flowers

I found these flowers at Cottage Craft

Lindy on the petticoat

Lindy is rethinking her costume…or simply keeping my petticoat warm.

Blogger Surprise

As if back-to-back parties weren’t enough excitement, an amazing treat arrived in the mail from Catja at Gjeometry.  Her tag line says it all: It’s in the Lines……hem, seam, stitching, grain, style.  I made it on to her Craft-it-Forward list earlier in the year.  She blew me away!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the full reveal.  Meanwhile, Catja, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Halloween Countdown:

mini pumpkin patch

My son set up our ‘pumpkin patch’. Individual pumpkin creativity ensued

Craft it Forward: Tiny Album, Big Heart

DSC_0197My kindred spirit Boomdee is flying home to Canada today.  Mr. B and the kitties can’t wait to see her.  I tried to convince her to stay through the end of October, but she didn’t want to miss the first snow of the season. 😉 I reluctantly took her to the airport this afternoon after seven, extraordinary days.

Although I’m partially responsible for bumping her suitcase over the fifty-pound limit, I was happy to deliver Craft it Forward #5 directly into her hands.  (It can’t possibly weigh more than four pounds (two kilograms).  It must have been those cute new shoes.

Boomdee’s charming blog is about ‘art, life and other bits.’  She says

“Picking a Blog name is such a personal thing.  Should it be a play on words, funny or witty?  I want to do so many things and I’m passionate about a ton of stuff. What will I write about? That’s how I landed on Boomdeeadda.  It’s a bit of a nonsense word but says so much about me.”.

The Challenge

I like to challenge myself with each of these projects. Though I’ve created many photo albums in the past, the challenge this time was creating something for such a talented crafter. If you haven’t seen her paper masterpieces, you are in for a treat.  Take a look.

She encourages me to go the extra mile.  I inked the edges, added layers of flowers, ribbon and photo corners here and there.  Mostly, I had fun, choosing her colors and mixing it in with a garden theme.

Album pages are viewable in the gallery below.  Please click on the gallery slide show.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 What is Craft it Forward?

Here’s how it works. The first five people to comment on the original post receive a handmade item with the gardening nirvana touch. In return, they agree to pay it forward, crafting their own unique item for the first five people on their list. Craft it Forward encourages community, creative spirit and camaraderie. It also encourages flexibility, so I expanded my list from five to seven based on interest in the project. Isn’t it fun making your own rules?

craft it forward button

Craft it Forward: Grab a button

Further, in the era of the internet, who doesn’t like ‘real’ mail? If you haven’t started your own Craft it Forward, today is a good day to get going.

Vintage Box Card: Garden Style

I’ve been at it again.

Last week I mentioned the Cameo by Silhouette, the clever addition to my crafting tools.  It’s so sophisticated, that I can hardly imagine topping it.  I won’t say that too loudly, as my limited imagination didn’t foresee carrying an entire computer in my purse a mere decade ago either.  For now, I’m thrilled with the state-of-the-art possibilities.

That said, I’ll always enjoy combining the old with the new.

My good friend Donna has a booth at Antiques Colony in San Jose called Green House Supply.  Donna is an avid gardener, crafter and purveyor of all things vintage.  She sells a variety of gently aged paper goods, including these alphabet flash cards (below), bingo cards, maps and pages from beautiful old books.  Her shop is great fun.  I never leave empty-handed.  This time I was on a mission.  I wanted to make her a thank you note to show my appreciation for the generous bag of gardening books she left on my doorstep.  I’ve been plowing my way through them and will also be offering them in our Little Free Library when we finally get that off the ground.

Here’s what I made.

Using a page from a child’s picture dictionary, I created the box card (with the Silhouette). I bought a vintage flash card with a D on it, turned it on its side, and added three-dimensional flowers. I wrote the note on the back.

Box card cut from vintage paper

Box Card and Insert

completed box card

Completed Box Card

I used scraps of paper for the face of the card and the band, inking the edges for an aged look. I added a small strand of leaf-shaped ribbon and another flower for a finishing touch

inside of box card

Note tucked inside

Closed card, sealed with band

Closed card, sealed with band

threaded leaf ribbon

Threaded ‘leaf’ ribbon, the finishing touch

The card is resting on a polka-dot plant and a dusty hydrangea, patio favorites each summer.

Box card design by Samantha Walker.

Birdhouse Gourd: Open for Nesting

After all the worry and fuss about drilling holes in my precious gourds, the first of two is open for nesting.  My resident handyman drilled a bird-sized hole on the front of the gourd, two small ones at the top for hanging, and drainage holes below.

dried birdhouse gourd

Birdhouse gourd: open for nesting

birdhouse gourd opening

Closeup: The opening should be the size of the bird you want to attract. We want to attract all the cute birds. That made it easy.

holes drilled in bottom of gourd

Tiny holes in the bottom allow for air circulation and drainage. Nesting is a messy business.

It’s amazing  how soft it is inside, almost like downy wool. I wasn’t expecting that. The walls of the gourd are thick and sturdy. It’s no wonder a bird might call this home.

I threaded a piece of florist wire through the top and I’m having fun hanging it from various trees. We’re months away from nesting season, but I’m glad to have one ready to go.

Several of our trees are deciduous, so they won’t provide adequate protection for a nest, but I do have a couple of ideas.  Our orange tree is fairly dense and in fact, houses a large nest from a few years back. The Star Jasmin vine in our side yard is another possibility. It’s so dense you can’t see to the center.

Mama birds know best, so all I can do is provide the medium and hope she likes it. Maybe I’ll write her a little note that says ‘pick me! pick me!’ and leave it on a branch nearby.

dried birdhouse gourd

Mama Bird Wanted: Inquire Within

In the meantime, I’ll hang the beautiful gourd in plain view. As nesting season draws near, I’ll tuck it away in a  tall, densely foliaged tree with hope in my heart while listening for the song of baby birds.

Do you have nests in the trees nearby?  Do you offer nesting material for your feathered neighbors?  Photos also welcome in the comment section below.

cat and seeds

Hmmmm…they do look a bit like cat treats.

birdhouse gourd seeds and gourd wall

This shows the thickness of the dried gourd. Bonus: look at all those dried seeds from inside.