Kitschdesigns

Valentine’s Day Fun

February 15, 2012 08:53 by ehouston

We have managed through another week and a half of head colds all around and today I was able to pull myself away from my own nap time to post about our card making day.  Last week I wrote about how we planned to make the wild animal cards featured in FamilyFun.com magazine and online.  It ended up being a lot of fun and I was surprised at how much of the process my almost 2.5 year old could handle.

Recently we moved one of the twin beds out of the spare room and into the play/media/exercise room – this was The Mister’s attempt at satisfying my strong urge to chuck the crummy futon and buy a small sectional sofa.  So far I like the extra seating, but my sofa longing has not ceased.  Anyway, that left me with one twin bed (we had them pushed together into a king) and a large open floor area in the middle of my craft space.  I have been loving the openness, but will admit I almost immediately filled it up with sewing projects, scattering piles of fabric from one side of the room to another.  I admit it, I’m a totally messy crafter.  So, I went in and made a space among the piles, patterns, ironing board and fusible webbing for our Valentine’s Day Card Extravaganza!  WOOT!

I found that one of my under bed storage boxes was the perfect height for me and the Little Guy to finish the assembly of his classmate cards. 

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While he slept I sliced the cardstock and animal print scrapbook paper to the size indicated in the magazine.  To make it easy (at least for me) I printed two sheets of word balloons, like you see in the comics, from Microsoft Word.  They are under Insert, Shapes, in case you are wondering what the heck I am talking about.  They made for a quick write up as we came up with the greetings for each animal.  I used the ones offered up in the magazine, along with a few extras for animals they did not feature.

My biggest surprise about all of this was how well he did in putting the cards together.  I figured the most I would get out of him was some sloppy glue stick action, but he was an old pro! 

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Not only did he spread on just the right amount, but at one point when I wasn’t paying close attention he stacked the pieces and moved on to the next one.  Of course, I had to straighten it out a bit, but it shocked me at how quickly he picked up the process and kept it going.  He also glued and placed most of the word balloons, but about half way through that part he grew tired of smearing and said, “Mama Do”.  So, I did.

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He loved picking out which animal went with each card, but I think his favorite part was gathering them up the next day, and putting them in a little heart bag I found in my gift wrapping stash. 

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He thought he was a regular old cupid!

I hope all your Valentine’s Day crafts were made and filled with, LOVE!  Now excuse me while I go eat my 4th iced heart cut-out sugar cookie of the day.  I mean, they aren’t going to gobble themselves up are they?

Kitsch Krafts


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Making and Crafts : Valentine Heart Wreath Revamp

February 1, 2012 07:45 by ehouston

Last year I wrote about adding a little holiday décor to our front door in the form of a heart shaped, yarn wrapped wreath

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And, although I liked how it turned out I was disappointed at how much it faded into the dark color of our front door.  While our house does sit back from the road, with trees across the front, I did hope to be able to glimpse the wreath on the door when pulling in or even driving by.  Unfortunately, it was very difficult to see until you got right up to the front porch.  Dark red on dark black door = disappearing décor.

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So, I got the idea to add a sort of lace doily effect to the back of the wreath giving it a white outline.  The hope was to make it pop against the dark door.  After considering many options (foam core board, stiffened fabric, actual paper doilies, etc.) I discovered stiffened felt at Joann’s craft store last week.  I had completely forgotten about this stuff and was super excited to see that I might have an easy option to work with for my idea. 

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The only downside was that the largest piece I saw was only 12” X 18” , which meant I would need to put two pieces together in order to cover the back of the wreath with overhang.  At that point I was not really sure this was going to come together the way I envisioned, but the low cost and ready-to-go materials made for a project just my speed these days. 

Easy, I’m all about it. 

Oh, that might not have come across the way it was meant….but trust me, this prude meant it in the lazy way!

The next step was to tape the stiffened felt together using clear packing tape so it would not show through to the front.

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I knew this was not going to be a permanent solution to keeping the pieces together, but it did work to hold them in place while making the design and attaching it to the wreath.

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My first attempt to freehand the scallop around the heart wreath was with a disappearing fabric marker (greatest invention around!), but the bumpy nature of the felt and the felt tip of the marker were not a match.  So, I resorted to using blue tailor’s chalk instead.  Because I did all of this freehand, things were not perfect and I made most of my cuts inside the lines to eliminated some wonkiness and the blue chalk.  After cutting out the basic heart shape with the scalloped edge I used an oval hole punch to add the cut-outs within each bump of the scallop.  Using fabric fusion, I glued the heart wreath directly to the white felt backing.  Since the wreath is a little uneven due to the wrapped yarn, I also used some fabric piles to help weigh it down a little for a better hold.  After a night of drying I used a couple of T-pins shoved through the felt and into the back of the heart for an added safety measure in keeping the felt “doily” in place.

Wholla!  Revamped Valentine’s Day wreath that can be seen from farther away than the bottom step!

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Kitschy, but fun for another year.  What type of holiday décor are you guys using to spruce your pads this year?

Kitsch Krafts


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Holiday Gifts

February 17, 2011 13:02 by ehouston

As per the usual, Valentine’s Day cards were late this year.  I don’t know what it is about this holiday, but I always seem to just get my idea or project started when I should be sealing the envelops and sending them on their way.  This year I was stumped, then I got an idea and then the Little Guy refused to cooperate.  Idea down the tubes, Valentine’s Day cards still unfinished.  I kept trying to think of a new approach, but I just didn’t get there. 

Then on Friday the 11th we had a couple of little friends come over for a playdate.  We decided, yeah “we”, I discuss all decisions like this with the Little Guy and he usually agrees with everything Mom says.  And, that’s the way it should be, right?  He’s such a good boy!  We decided to have a Valentine’s Day themed playdate.  This basically meant I had an excuse to make pink iced cupcakes and gobble them up like a street urchin out of a Dicken’s novel.  Another brilliant idea that we discussed was making Valentine’s Day paintings for a fun activity.  Getting toddlers to cooperate with any craft is virtually impossible, but after reading several parenting blogs I had become convinced that they could at least make prints using cookie cutters.  It turns out that they could make prints on big sheets of paper with heart shaped cookie cutters, or rather us mom’s could make the prints while our little ones smeared the markings, ate the paint and generally goobered up anything within reach.  It was fun for only minutes and luckily one mom was an art teacher and helped us understand that our experience was completely normal.  Later, after the “paintings” dried out a bit the little ones added puffy heart shaped stickers to polish off their masterpieces.  Even with the slight tantrums after being told paint was not for eating, I think things went pretty well.  We each left the playdate with fun holiday artwork. 

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Later I decided, well we discussed and then decided, to use the painting for special holiday cards for the grandparents.  In my craft arsenal stockpile I still had some unused cards and envelops.  With a little help from some scrapbook paper stacks we put together what I believe are some cute little greetings.  First I used some scalloped scissors to cut down the scrapbook paper to fit inside the front of the cards.  Then I created a template from junky cardstock that fit just inside the fancy-schmancy cut cardstock matt.  Using the template I was able to move it around the painting the Little Guy had created to find the best places to cut.  Basically I was looking for parts that had his little fingerprints, nice heart stamps and stickers that he had randomly placed. 

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Once I had all the card fronts cut from the larger painting I used craft gluesticks to assemble the pieces.

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Whoola!  Holiday cards via the Little Guy!

I then used colored pencils to write a simple greeting and let my tiny artist scribble his own signature.  I think the Grands will be happy with that!  At least I hope.

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Making And Crafts–Crafty Cheats and Scribble Art

February 14, 2011 08:41 by ehouston

I don’t know exactly where I first saw this idea, but I just remember glimpsing  this image while browsing all different blogs one day….

…and then cataloging it away in my brain for another time.  It turns out that it was a post by none other than Vickie Howell of Lark Craft.  She’s so crafty!  Anywho….I decided, after much browsing and consideration, that this was the route I would be taking for my mom’s Valentine’s Day gift.

For years I have been crafting some sort of heart shaped Valentine to give to my mom.  She has a huge basket filled with stuffed cloth hearts of all shapes and sizes.  Along with that collection she has heart shaped rocks, a crocheted anatomical heart, wire wrapped hearts…you name it, I have made it or hunted it down for her annual gift of love.  This year, as I did for 2009 (see here), I wanted to create something special from me and my Little Guy.  So, I used the idea above to transform some plain cotton canvas into a sweet heart felt (no pun intended) Valentine.  Here is how it all went down:

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It started with a crafting cheat that I found while searching through the embroidery aisle at Joann’s Etc.  “Stitches as quickly as if you were drawing a picture” got my attention right away.  And, while I knew it was against my nature to go about a project this way, I also understood time was not on my side since I was making this purchase on the 10th for a gift due on the 14th.  Shew!  I know, I always cut things way to close and they just end up being late.  Better that, than never, right?  Okay, so back to the rest of this project.

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I pulled together the materials I would need.  I had to purchase a small to medium hoop for this project, but the fabrics were from my stash.  I started with a soft creamy flannel, but ended up having to use a heavier cotton canvas.  I also started by placing a sheet of scribbled art over the fabric and I attempted to clamp it in the hoop too.  I figured this would make following the pattern REALLY easy.

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All it did was end up in the way, ripped to shreds and when I tried to remove the bits that stuck under the stitches the stitching just came out with the paper.  So, I ended up letting him use a pencil to scribble directly on the cotton canvas.  The punch embroidery tool was pretty easy to use and get the hang of, but it put a lot of wear and tear on the fabric.  Also, the stitches seemed to come out easily with the softer fabric, hence the switch to the cotton canvas.  I was so glad I used the multicolored embroidery floss, since it mimicked the way the Little Guy had scribbled, with dark and light areas where he changed pressure.

Once the embroidery portion was completed I cut around it in a heart shape and used the embroidered piece as a template to cut out the backing fabric.  At the last minute I also decided to add some vintage black and white crocheted trim to the edge.  First I sewed it around the cotton canvas piece and then I put the right sides together with the backing fabric and used the stitch line as a guide to sew the front and back together.  After a little snipping of the curved edges I turned the whole thing right side out, stuffed it with polyfil, then stitched up the edge by hand.

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I don’t know, I may be a tad bit biased, but I think it came out rather nice.

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Making And Crafts–Valentine’s Day Wreath

February 9, 2011 07:20 by ehouston

In an attempt to add a little celebration to our lives each month we have decided to get on board with the holidays- no matter how small.  Not that Valentine’s Day is an insignificant holiday, but to us it’s just not the same as Christmas or Thanksgiving.  Those are the majors.  Most other holidays fall into a different category around here.  One in which we have a simple, but special meal, a quick holiday greeting, maybe a card, and then we move on with our lives.  Usually there are no major decorations going up or weeks of shopping for the right gift.  No serious large meal planning and work to get ready for a stream of houseguests. 

However, we have decided as a family that we would like to make sure we do acknowledge the special days throughout the year so we don’t lose site of what is important to us.  Love, God, Fights for Freedom, Independence…you get the picture.  So, this year I finally got around to putting together a bit of holiday décor for the front door as a sweet reminder that this is the month of love.  After long admiring those wrapped yarn wreaths you see all over places like Etsy, I decided to give it a try myself. 

Retro Hostess Kitchen Wreath

(I have long admired this exampler from Knock Knocking.)

My goal was to create something cute, but only with materials I had around the house.  That was key!  I did try to find a foam heart form for the base because I thought it would be easier to work with, but the only ones I found were on the small side  Which ended up being a good thing because I really did not need a foam form after all.

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I ended up using a cardboard box that was laying around the house as a base for the wreath.  I don’t knit or crochet, so I did have to break down and buy some yarn, at $2.79, a skein for this project since that is not a supply I keep on hand.

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As I cut out the form I rounded the points a bit to help with the wrapping process.

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To give the form some bulk, softness and a little shape I wrapped it with some leftover heirloom cotton batting.   Then I just went to town wrapping the yarn around and around the form until I had the coverage I wanted.  It took two times around the whole thing, but with all the curves and points I had to get a little creative in the wrapping process.  At one point I realized if I kept things smooth and did not backtrack from to far up the line I could wrap the yarn outward instead of just along the form.  In other words I could keep wrapping in one area until I had the coverage just right and then I could move along the form.  The trick was to just be sure that you wrapped the next area to the same depth as the one before it.  Otherwise you would end up with bumps and lumps.  Once I realized I did not have to do one overall layer at a time things went pretty quickly.

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Of course I wanted to embellish the finished wreath with something a little Springy.  So, I cut flower and leaf shapes out of vintage and reproduction fabric scraps.  Then I coated them with fabric stiffener.  Before they completely dried I folded, curled and rumpled them up a bit to give them some character.

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After they completely dried I stitched the pieces together to form larger flowers and used vintage buttons to finish off the centers.

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I also really wanted some kind of ribbon or bow with tails to add a little charm.

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I think this vintage scalloped trim did just the trick!

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Later I broke out the glue gun and added the flowers.  I think it came out pretty cute for a quick, couple of afternoons project.  I figured it can grace our door through the end of the month, by which time I hope to have come up with something for March.  Clover maybe, or a horseshoe?  Hmmm….

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Feelin' The Love

February 4, 2010 01:06 by ehouston

I have been working on a  little Valentine's Day project and I came across this image online. 

I don't know why, but it just cracked me up.  So I am sharing it with you guys.

Happy Month of Love!

Kitsch Krafts


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So Many Holidays, So Little Time

January 19, 2010 23:03 by ehouston

It occurred to me this morning that we are already past the half way point in January of 20-10!  It seems like time has just flown by.  I have been noticing the luscious Valentine’s Day candy creeping in to every corner of my favorite big box stores, ready to fill the void a week of no leftover Christmas treats has left in my life.  I actually eyed the last few cartons of eggnog last week while grocery shopping, but forced myself to keep walking.  I never allow more than two cartons in the house each holiday.  I am the only one willing to drink the sweet stuff, so that rule is absolutely all about weight management.  I also realized that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and I need to start figuring out what treats of my own to come up with for my sweetie, and decide if I will make or buy a card.  I always have these great intentions of making the most romantic, yet hip and stylish card, only to end up finding the perfect thing out there already.  I guess I should be happy about this, but I have always seen this holiday as one that demands the handmade.  Unless of course you are in elementary school and have thirty classmates expecting a card from you in their revamped shoebox holiday mailbox.  By all means, please save yourself the insanity and buy a bundle of cute cards.  My Nonna (she is Italian and that’s Italian for Grandma!) actually buys and mails those bundled cards.  She just picks whichever cartoon character set that makes her smile.  Then she writes sweet little notes on the backs of each card, folds them around a $5.00 bill and sends them to all of her grandkids.  I know this because even though I am the oldest of all the grandchildren in her family by about 18 years, I still receive one every February.  This is not done as a senile old lady thing…she thinks it’s hysterically funny to keep sending these funny little cards to me.  She will write things like, “Maybe you can get a cup of coffee!?!  HA!” or “Don’t spend this all in one place!”.  She is a total crack-up and I love her dearly. 

Here are some Vintage Valentine Card images from my FLICKR file. 

www.flickr.com
KitschDesigns' Vintage Paper photoset KitschDesigns' Vintage Paper photoset

If you are interested in giving a vintage Valentine I still have several available.  They can all be found on sale at my Artfire Shop.

I hope we all find the perfect treats and cards for our sweeties come February 14th!  Do you have any vintage Valentine’s or other cool vintage paper products that make your heart swell?

Kitsch Krafts


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