Last Kitschmas Post of 2013

There are a couple last Kitschmas projects I wanted to show you before I pack everything away for another year.  *sniff*  Although my new job and the God Bless Our Pad kit prevented me from being as prolific with my Christmas crafts as I wanted – there were so many I had in mind that I just didn’t get to! – I did get a few things done.  I already showed you this year’s felt mouse ornament, but I also started another ornament series that I plan to make one of a year.  Last year I bought this adorable Nutcracker ornament kit made by Bucilla:

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I had originally planned to make all four this year, but I quickly realized that was crazy business.  These little guys are pretty fiddly and intricate!  So I wisely came to the conclusion that I should make one a year, just like the mice.  Requested by the boss Little Betty, the ballerina was first:

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It’s all hand sewing and embroidery, adding beads and sequins, then sewing the layers together, and finally sewing the back and fronts together and stuffing as you go.

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The sewing was definitely the least fun part as the spaces were so tiny it was darn near impossible to get stuffing in there!  Anyhoo, I’m looking forward to eventually having all 4 of these sweet ornaments on our tree.

Next up was hands down the most fun project this season.  Little Betty, my sister in law, and I made over 40 of these sweet diorama bell jar ornaments.  We used this tutorial.

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I wish I had pictures of more of them but we gave them to co-workers, teachers, and family members as gifts.  They were so fun to make and turned out tooth-achingly sweet, in my opinion!

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They were so cute, in fact, that my sister in law agreed they actually made us angry.  Now that, friends, is pretty darn cute.

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They are made out of plastic wine glasses, scrapbooking paper, vintage Christmas miniatures, and glitter.  In other words, magic.

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Little Betty had so much fun making these with us!  She was pretty prolific, actually, churning out adorable Kitschmas vignettes in record time for us to encapsulate in plastic domes covered with glitter for generations to come.

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Well, folks, that’s it.  Kitschmas is officially over.  I think this coming year I may start making Christmas crafts in July so I can get everything I want finished!  What were your favorite Christmas crafts this year?

Introducing….My Version of God Bless Our Pad!

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Friends!  It’s finally here!  I have received SO many requests to release a God Bless Our Pad kit that I finally gave in and produced a version of it.  It’s now ready for pre-order and will be ready to ship in 2-3 weeks!  Just like my Happiness Is Homemade kit, the kit finishes at 18×24 inches, includes high quality linen blend fabric stamped with the pattern, enough 100% wool to complete the design, a crewel needle, and instructions.  Beginners, don’t be scared!  You can do this!  Order here to get the first round of kits!

Win a Happiness Is Homemade kit!

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Have you been wanting your very own Happiness Is Homemade kit?  Well now is your chance to win one!  Leave a comment on this post and become a follower of the blog by clicking the +Follow button on the bottom right hand corner of the screen and you could be receiving your kit in the mail!

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Never done crewel before?  Don’t worry!  This thing is easy enough for a beginner.  And you can always email me if you have trouble.  I’m hard at work on some new, exciting designs that I can’t wait to show you!  But in the meantime, leave a comment and follow me before the drawing on the evening of March 24th, this Sunday.

WARRENTON!!  NEXT WEEK!!!  Prepare yourself for a couple weeks of obsessive posting about its wondrous bounty.

Crewel Stitch-A-Long: Let’s get started!

All right, y’all – the time has come to liberate this beauty from the depths of my stash and give it the shining glory it deserves in my collection!  If you don’t have a vintage Try A Little Kindness kit, don’t worry!  Use any crewel kit you have laying around.  Or, if you dare, search “vintage crewel kit” on ebay and get yourself one!

Today, we’re just setting up.  First of all, obviously, open the bag and remove all the contents.  Iron the fabric to get it as smooth as possible, and put the needle in a safe place.  Don’t put it in the fabric as a storage solution quite yet – we have some work to do first!

There are several ways you can do this.  First, you can opt for the traditional method and use an embroidery hoop.  You will want to use this method if you’re making a pillow.  Second, you can mount it right in the frame you’re going to use.  Or, the method I’m using and will demonstrate here today, is using artist stretcher bars.  You can get these at any artist supply store.  I’m choosing this method because it will already be pulled taught – no wrinkled fabric from moving the hoop around countless times, and no need for blocking at the end.  Plus, it will enable me to hang the piece right on my wall as is while I look for the perfect vintage frame.

This project calls for 2 18 inch stretcher bars and 2 24 inch.  18×24 is the size of the finished piece, so if you’re using another kit, you’ll want stretcher bars that match the size of the finished product, not the size of the fabric.  Just fit the corners together and use a rubber mallet to make sure they’re snug if necessary.  I found I didn’t need one.

Next, start attaching your fabric to the stretcher bars with your trusty old staple gun.  It’s basically just like upholstering furniture.  Start by stapling the center of each side and slowly work your way out to the sides, rotating sides so everything is done evenly.  Space your staples about one inch apart.  Pull taut, but not too tightly – you don’t want to distort your image!

You’ll find that any wrinkles that remained in your fabric will be pulled out.  Yay!  No wet blocking!

When you get to the corners, fold the fabric in whatever way makes it look smoothest from the front.  I’ve never found a sure-fire way to do this, but what usually works is folding the corner piece back across the bars and then bring the sides up.  Make sure to check from the front before you staple anything to ensure you like the way it looks!  Also, after finishing one corner, then do the one opposite.

After getting the corner folded and stapled you’ll probably want a bunch more staples on either side of the corner to get everything nice and smooth.

And voila!  Your piece is ready to stitch!  And hang on the wall, as you can see!  I’ve seen a lot of vintage crewel pieces unframed, hanging just on the stretcher bars.  Who knows – that may be the destiny of this one as well.  We shall see.

So get stitching friends, and we’ll meet back and check our progress!  If you are stitching along, send me photos of your progress and I’ll feature them here on the blog!

A Christmas Terrarium

In a flash of inspiration I decided to marry my two loves, Christmas and all things woodland, in a Christmas themed terrarium!

The first order of business was clearly a gingerbread house, so I set to work sculpting one out of polymer clay.  Mr. Crafter teased me mercilessly during this phase, telling me my transformation to a full-on grandma was complete.  Well excuse me Mr. Crafter, I think you meant my transformation to full-on AWESOME cause look at this thing!

I had way too much fun making this.  I really like working with polymer clay.  After baking all it needed was some glitter Snow-Tex and some Diamond Dust and it was ready for my terrarium!

Terrariums are super easy to assemble – all you need is some pea gravel at the bottom, a layer of potting soil, then a layer of moss.  You can get a package in the floral isle at the craft store.

The mushrooms I also made from polymer clay (left over from the terrarium-making station at Little Betty’s woodland themed 2nd birthday party) and the spun cotton snowman, tiny Santa, and ceramic reindeer are from my considerably large and growing stash of Christmas and woodland themed miniatures for just such an occasion.

Even Little Betty got in on the action!  I made the shapes for the gingerbread house for her and she assembled and decorated it and applied the snow and glitter.

Little Betty and I are definitely looking forward to digging in the next month and churning out lots of Christmas crafts!

Make a vintage-style Putz house Halloween style in Kids Craft 123!

Got kids?  Like to craft?  Then you MUST check out the brand spankin new magazine Kids Craft 123 sold exclusively at Wal Mart.  And your old pal Betty Crafter has her very own craft project featured!  In fact, I’ll be a regular contributor to this fab magazine.  Yay!

In this issue I share how to make a spooky Hallwoeen Putz-style house.  You know you need one for your Halloween decor, even if you don’t have kids, right?

Super fun and easy to make, and the best part is you can get as creative as you like decorating it!

The premiere issue featuring this project will be on news stands at Wal Mart Sept. 18.

A fun and satisfying DIY reupholstery project

This chair is the oldest thing in my house, by far.  It is at least 200 years old I believe.  My mom got it from my great grandfather, who had a barn full of old furniture.  (Oh what I would give to be able to pick through that barn now!)  She reupholstered it a few times, most memorably in a cow print, and since she has given it to me we have reupholstered it another couple of times.  Well since moving to our new house this chair has stuck out like a sore thumb.  Last year I bought some gorgeous barkcloth that I’ve had earmarked for this chair and today was finally the day to see that dream through!

Job one was to pry out all the upholstery tacks we used last time with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.  We had 3 generations contribute to this step!

Once that was done we could take off the unwanted upholstery.  The cool thing about this chair is that underneath there is still some really old feedsack or ticking fabric, which is covering the original brocade:

The next step was to cut around the discarded fabric pieces on my barkcloth as a pattern.

Then we laid the pieces where they went, for example, a square piece on the back, and folded the edges under so it fit perfectly.  We stapled one side down, then stretched it taut across and stapled the other side, starting in the center and working our way out to the sides.  Then we stapled the top and bottom.

On the seat, we just folded and pleated the corners until they looked right.  It’s not an exact science, but no one will ever know the difference.  Unless they are a professional reupholsterer.

After my whole chair was newly reupholstered, we covered the staples with braid, hot glued down over the staples.

The corners we “mitered” with a dab of hot glue on the top of the braid at the corner and then folded braid over so it looked like this:

After covering all the staples with glue it’s done!  Except for oiling up all the scratches made by the screwdriver, but never mind that for now!

And ta-da!

I’m totally loving this most recent incarnation of this well loved chair.  Not only is the pine cone / autumn leaf barkcloth my most favorite barkcloth ever, but I really love the juxtaposition of it on this super old, ornate mahogany chair.  Thanks to my mom for once again ripping this chair apart with me!

Easy peasy!  Now go give your out-of-place furniture some love!