Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas

I know I’m a little late to wish you a Merry Christmas, since it’s already over. But consider it retro-active. I was so busy preparing for Christmas that I had no time to post. I hope it was Merry and bright for you though.

I spent the weeks before Christmas making festive sugar cookies,

AND clothespins. Yes, my family and friends were so impressed with my paper embellished clothespins, and I’d done such a good job convincing them that they were the perfect last minute gift for friends and co-workers that my mother placed an order for 60 sets. At 5 pins per set, let’s do the math – that’s 300! I think she gave a set to every person in her entire workplace.

It was quite an order to fill but I had 2 great friends to help me, (thanks again Shawna and Angie) and we whipped them out in a couple days. The search for a local craft store with an inventory of 300 magnets however, took another 2 days and I was sweating bullets big and bad.

The best thing though is that there are now 300 clothespins floating around out there with my etsy site address on the back of them and I’ll take all the marketing I can get. I’ve also managed to post some on Etsy for sale.

We’re headed out of state to continue holiday celebrations with more family over New Year’s but I’ll be back soon and hopefully posting some more stuff for your enjoyment. I’ve got a great project planned for Valentine’s Day that I can’t wait to get started on.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Baking Extravaganza – and my cool flea market purchase

Some friends and I got together Friday night for what we dubbed, “Holiday Baking Extravaganza”. Five of us filled one kitchen with pans, sugar, butter, almond bark, chocolate and good conversation.

I and two of the stoutest of the group created holiday treats until 2 a.m. (the other two wimped out on us at about 10 pm). It was fantastic, and we all came away with tons of holiday goodies to share with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

I’m taking my goodies to work in a device that is my 2nd most exciting purchase of 2008 (my new camera is #1). I found this picnic carrier in a local flea market and couldn’t resist it. It was so unusual and unique. It has 5 stacking aluminum sections, the bottom of which has a removable handle that can convert it into a sauce pan or you can use the long handle and hang it over an open campfire for cooking in the great outdoors.

By the look of the literature inside I’d date it around the 50’s or 60’s. I found one on Ebay just like it and the bidding was creeping up to the $45 mark, which made me feel really good about getting this one for the low low price of 3.99!

I have no desire to sell it though, I love it too much. It’s perfect for carrying a large variety of different items very compactly and conveniently, plus it’s just downright retro cool!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Paper Embellished Clothespins – a Tutorial

When I first saw this particular craft I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t very impressed. After all, they were simply regular wooden clothespins covered with decorative paper. However, the more I saw of them, the more I realized that they were a charming, quick and easy little craft, and they could be quite useful.

They make great desk accessories to clip your papers together, they’re also quite useful to hang items on a ribbon or string such as a child’s treasured artwork or Christmas cards. Add a magnet to the back and they’re great for hanging notes, photos and important paperwork on the fridge.

All the practicality and utility of a clothespin but with more glamour and flair!

Their construction is pretty straight forward but I thought I’d do a quick tutorial for anyone interested in making some of their own.


Wooden clothespins – the kind with the metal spring
Scraps of paper
X-acto knife
Decoupage glue
Small paintbrush
Magnets (optional)
E6000 or other strong adhesive (optional)

Step 1

Gather all of those paper scraps that you’ve been hoarding for years in the hopes of employing them in some fantastic project. Finally their time has come!!

I trimmed mine to approximately 4” by ¾ “. If you want to try and measure the clothespin exactly and cut the paper to fit you can, but as the clothespins may vary slightly in shape and size, I found it easier to leave plenty of excess paper and slice it off later for a cleaner look.

Step 2

Apply a thin layer of decoupage glue to the top of the clothespin

Step 3

Place your paper onto the clothespin. You’ll need to rub it slightly with your thumb/fingers to make sure it is properly adhered.

If you want decorative paper on both sides of your clip you would now repeat steps 1 – 3 for the other side of the clothespin. I decorated both sides of mine since at the time of construction I wasn’t sure if I’d be using them as clips or as magnets. However, if you know you’re going to be placing a magnet on the back, you could probably save yourself the trouble and only embellish the side that will be visible.

Step 4

Allow to dry. Decoupage glue dries fairly quickly so you’ll only need to wait a few minutes.

Step 5

With your X-acto knife pushed up against the edge of the clothespin, carefully slice off the excess paper. It gets a little tricky around the metal hinge but with practice you can master it easily.

Note: Be sure that your knife blade is sharp. I learned the hard way that a dull knife can be disastrous as it will pull and tear the paper rather than making a clean cut. See the rough edges on the clips below

Step 6

Apply a layer of decoupage glue to the top of the paper. This seals the paper and gives it a nice matte finish. I found that one layer was sufficient but you could certainly do more than one if you feel it needs a heavier seal. You could also use something like a varnish sealer, or polyurethane if you wanted more of a glossy finish.

Step 7 (optional)

Apply a magnet to the back. I used E6000 for this as it creates a nice strong bond. Be sure to do this step in a well ventilated area as E6000 is potent enough to give you quite a headache and/or make you believe you’ve entered into a trippy episode of Fraggle Rock.

If I had to do it over again I would have used a slightly smaller magnet that would be less conspicuous but as I already had an abundance of this size on hand I just went with it, that and the fact that I wasn’t thinking clearly after inhaling all of that E6000. I think I might have mistaken the cat for a Doozer and nibbled a little on the kids’ building blocks.

There you have it! The makings of lovely embellished clothespins. I made up a few sets to sell at a craft sale and they took very little time. They’d make great quick and inexpensive gifts for co-workers, family and friends as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Have you ever been awake so long into the wee hours of the morning and had so much to accomplish that you begin to contemplate whether you should even bother going to bed at all?

I have, and the only thing that convinces me to eventually retire is the thought of what I would look like around 1:00 pm the following day – my drool seeping into the keyboard, my cheek resting on the spacebar and my co-workers huddled around giggling and discussing whether or not I’ll get fired right then and there or if management will simply document the infraction in my file so that they can fire me at a later date.

I’m trying to do so much crafting for gifts that I often cannot decide on which project to work on first and end up flitting from one to the other and getting very little accomplished.

I am bolstered though as each small project is completed. I can’t show you all I’m working on since the recipients of some of these gifts read this blog, however I can show off one thing that I’ve already gifted to my daughter for her 2nd birthday which was last week.

Bekkie is from a pattern by Rosalie Quinlan. She was quite simple to make but still time consuming. I made her tights out of a pair of socks I found on clearance at Target and her denim dress and shoes are actually made out of an old pair of my jeans – my way of both recycling and putting even more of me into this little gift.

As expected, the gift of such a thoughtful, heartfelt, handcrafted doll had little effect on my beloved baby girl and she unceremoniously tossed her into the corner of her room.

I’m not taking it personally though – perhaps she’ll learn to appreciate it in time, and even if she doesn’t it matters very little. My joy was in making it for her and that is enough.

Monday, December 1, 2008

They can't all be masterpieces

I'm busy knitting and sewing away to make all the holiday gifts I have on my list. In my haste I decided to choose a nice chunky yarn and an easy knitting pattern to bang out a scarf to give as a gift.

I chose Homespun yarn which is very soft and wearable and I chose a color that I thought would be neutral enough to coordinate with any coat color, and . . . well . . . it came out looking like a macrame plant hanger.

Now a couple people I've shown it to have thought it was lovely, however to me it is too completely reminiscint of the plant hanger my mother made in the 70's with jute twine that is still hanging in her living room. Nothing against macrame. It has its place and purpose just not around someone's neck. Even though this scarf is completley soft, I can barely stand to touch it because it looks like itchy jute, nor can I bring myself to give it to anyone. I might as well ask them to hang something like this around their neck:

I guess it's back to the drawing board.