Sunday, June 29, 2014

Painting With A Twist: 16th Anniversary Date

Thursday was mine and Nick's 16th wedding anniversary. Can you believe he's put up with me for so long? Good guy, that one.

That day Nick had to work, and that evening we wanted to attend a memorial service for a friend of ours who went home to be with the Lord this week after a battle with colon cancer. So there wasn't really much opportunity to celebrate, although we did have a lovely dinner together after the service. My parents took our two girls for the night, so with just Sawyer on board it was almost like a real date. ;)

But on Friday, Nick made big plans for us! He told me to drop the kids off with my parents (all 3 of them!!) and meet him after work. From there we drove to Painting With a Twist where he surprised me with a yummy dinner of fish tacos and an art class!

I did this several years ago at another place (Uptown Art, I think) with my friend Danielle, and we had so much fun!

I came home raving about it, and told Nick that I would love for us to get to do a class together someday. He's a terrific artist, and I can at least follow directions, so I thought it would be something we would really enjoy together, and I was right!

The class we took offered an option to do it as a couples class and split the painting, which is what we opted to do. This was perfect, because my one hesitation about doing it together was the thought that we would go home with two paintings that were essentially the same.

The instructor was great, very patient and encouraging, and it was such a relaxed atmosphere. I was not comped in any way for this post, and Painting With a Twist does not, in fact, know that I'm writing it, but I wanted to share was an awesome experience we had!

The price point varies depending on the scheduled painting, and it ranges anywhere from $25 to $45 a seat, although you can find classes like these on Groupon and Living Social all the time.

It was so cool to see how everyone's painting was a little different from everyone else's, and it was awesome to me to see how well mine and Nick's flowed together.

He added a little heart with our initials to my tree. :)

We plan on hanging these in our bedroom, and I would love to be able to do this again next year. How neat would it be to someday have years worth of artwork to look back on as memories of our anniversary each year?

This was such a fun date, and I'm a truly blessed girl to have the husband God gave me! I love you, Nick!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Busy, Busy!

Guys, I know I've been scarce around here. I've got tons of things I'm working on, including photo editing, Etsy orders, birthday gifts for several family members, and gifts for the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange.

And uh, the laundry.

So I'll be posting about all of those things as soon as I'm able (except maybe the laundry). But in the meantime, here's a picture from Father's Day of my dad with all his grandkids (including one cute little redheaded honorary grandkid) and their dads. Love you, Dad!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Camp Craft - Paracord Bracelets

This is not a tutorial - there are a ton of them out there for these bracelets, for instance here. This is just a bit of a recap of what we did at camp.

We don't usually have crafts of any sort, which we (my crafty church sisters and I) felt was a shame. So we decided to have the kids try their hand at making paracord bracelets. Right now with kids camps and VBS looming on the horizon, Walmart has a ton of these paracord kits in stock for a little under $5 (not an affiliate link).

So I stocked up on enough to make 54 bracelets, thinking that would cover what we needed. Then we ended up having more campers than we thought, and including workers we needed at least 76, so I went back and bought enough for 30 more bracelets. THEN the kids totally mobbed us and begged and pleaded to make more than one, so we ended up having to go back AGAIN to get 3 more kits just so the adults could make one too, because let's face it, paracord bracelets are just cool!

This was a crazy huge hit with everybody, and I've already started buying up more paracord for next year. Hopefully by the time camp rolls back around again I'll have enough stocked up for everyone to be able to make 3 or 4 bracelets if they want. I also found a great deal on flat side-release buckles, a must if you want your bracelet to be reversible, and they will also cut down on that fun oops-you-put-half-your-buckle-on-backwards moment we had to work through with about 15 kids. :)

Why yes, there are indeed two kids wearing a watch and nothing at all on their wrists.

It was really neat to see them enjoy creating something so much, and I loved how almost all of them wore the bracelets nonstop. We even made one for this big guy.

I'm so glad they had so much fun, and I can't wait to do it again with them next year!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Okay, guys. I know I've been gone for 10 days. But I've got a great excuse, I promise! From the time of my last post until this past Monday I was busy, busy, busy sewing up cornhole bags for our church and doing all the shopping and packing that goes into getting ready for a week at church camp. Then on Monday we headed up to Big Ridge State Park for Walridge Baptist Church Youth Camp 2014. It was an AMAZING week! The devil was working hard to throw distractions in our way, but we had 13 souls saved, and tons of decisions made in service of the Lord! We got back yesterday afternoon, and tonight we had our camp meeting at church.

It was my plan to have some posts pre-scheduled - unfortunately there just wasn't time. But I'm back now, and I can't wait to get back to posting!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Embossed Leather Cuffs

You guys, I can't get enough of this embossing powder stuff! I'm embossing everything in sight! So naturally, when my bag of leather remnants caught my eye, I knew I just had to give it a try. Thus came about these awesome leather cuffs!

These are so crazy simple. First grab a leather remnant and cut it to your desired cuff shape/size.

 I shaped mine using my trusty Westcott aluminum ruler. This is not an affiliate link - I just wanted to point out how handy this thing is. I use it when cutting and sealing ribbon with my wood burning tool, and the rounded end works great for things like shaping the ends of this cuff. An easy way to mark leather for cutting without leaving ink or pencil markings is to trace around your pattern shape onto the leather with the point of a seam ripper.

For a fastener I used a ball hitch fastener. These were by Spare Parts, but I know that at least at one time Tim Holtz offered them too.

You just unscrew the bottom like this.

Mark where you want your fastener to be.

Then punch a 1/8" hole for the post to go through. I used a Crop-A-Dile that I got from the same girl who had the embossing materials.

 Insert the post and screw the bottom back on.

 On the opposite end, punch a 3/8" hole for the ball to slip through, then use an Exacto knife or other sharp blade to cut a small slit on either side of the hole. Don't cut them too big or your fastener won't stay put.

Next stamp with pigment ink directly onto the leather.

Quickly cover the stamped area with embossing powder. Here I went with metallic gold.

Shake off the excess and funnel it back into the bottle.

Now fire up your heat gun and watch the magic happen!

 Bright and shiny now!

I just love it!

I liked it so much that I cut out the piece I tested this project on and made a key ring out of it!

I also had some gold leather that I tried it on, and the results were fabulous!

A couple of tips though: First of all, that lovely gold cuff will not be the most durable. The leather will last just fine, but because of the smooth surface, the embossing powder may scratch off. I tried sealing it with clear nail polish, but it just caused the embossing powder to bleed. You may have better luck with another type of sealer.

The best leather for this is going to be a very smooth suede, or a very soft, pliable kid or calfskin leather. These will provide a surface smooth enough to not distort your embossed image while porous enough to give the embossing powder something to bond to. Rough suedes will be too fibrous for the stamp to transfer cleanly too, and it will be nearly impossible to shake all the excess embossing powder off without also removing some from the stamped area.

Posting around here will be a little sparse for the next few days. We've got church camp coming up, so I'm going to be buried making corn bags for the cornhole tournament, as well as doing some summer sewing for Lily and editing a couple of photo shoots.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Embossed Mini Canvas Magnets

We're going to take a break from the Presser Foot Series because I've not had a chance to do some of the projects I need to do to show you how some of the feet work, but we will pick it back up in the near future.

But I do have a project for you all, and I looooove this one! Okay, you guys - embossing powder. I had never used it, although it always looked interesting to me. But I'm not much of a scrapbooker, and I'm more of a use-what-you've-got occasional card maker, so I never really had a good reason to justify buying the supplies.

But THEN...

an old friend asked me to make some cute travel pillow cases for her girls, and when I went to her house to drop them off she was doing a major pare down on her scrapbooking supplies. And right there in the middle of it all was a heat gun and several jars of embossing powder! So I came home with a new toy, and ever since then it's been EMBOSS ALL THE THINGS!

Well, I had these little canvases left over from Taylor's birthday party. And Hobby Lobby had a bunch more in black on crazy low clearance, so I grabbed a few packs. Last night I sat down with my embossing powders, heat gun, embossing pen, stamps, and pigment ink pads and made these awesome little canvas magnets!

Oh my goodness, SO CUTE! I love them! Taylor did some too. The one that says love is hers.

These are super easy. Just load up the stamp of your choice with pigment ink. It does need to be pigment ink, because otherwise it will dry before you can get the embossing powder to stick. I didn't know that beforehand, but fortunately I had several pads on hand already. It doesn't matter what color ink they are, because your embossing powder will cover them, unless you use clear powder, in which case you will want to use ink in the color you want the end result to be. That sentence felt awkward, but you get what I mean.

Anyway, stamp your design onto the canvas. If your canvas is stretched over a frame (some of mine were and some were just wrapped around a little board), you may want to rub the canvas from behind to make sure the stamp design fully transfers.

Once your design is on the canvas, lay the canvas on a sheet of paper, then sprinkle on your embossing powder, making sure to cover the whole design. Then shake the excess off onto the paper, and use the paper to funnel the excess back into the jar to use next time. You can gently tap the canvas on the table if there are clumps, and you can brush off any extra that didn't fall off with a small paintbrush. It will also help the powder to only stick to the ink if you rub your canvas ahead of time with a dryer sheet.

Now comes the magic. Turn your heat gun on and aim it at your design, a few inches away. Pretty soon you'll see the embossing powder start to melt, and when you do, start moving the gun over the whole design. You just want to leave it on there long enough to melt the powder. So much fun!

Look how shiny it turned!

You can even go back and add a second layer of embossing just so long as you're careful not to burn the design.

Just stick a magnet or two on the back using E6000 or even your glue gun and you're done!

I love these so much!

Next time I have any sort of crafty get together we are definitely doing these. Happy embossing!