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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Burlap Country Wedding Wreath Tutorial

My son, Joey and his fiancee, Hailey are getting married in a couple of weeks. They are having an intimate country-style wedding. In keeping with the country theme, the wedding decor will consist of burlap and flowers. Hailey and I are making all of the decorations. One of those decorations consists of a wedding wreath made from burlap roses and a fabric portrait of the happy couple. The really cool thing about this wreath is they can use it to decorate their home long after the wedding is over.


 Here's how we made it:

Supplies:
  • Wreath of choice - we used a 14" straw wreath;
  • glue gun;
  • glue sticks;
  • scissors;
  • pinking shears;
  • burlap in several colors (we used aqua (which we dyed ourselves), oyster and light brown;
  • felt in coordinating colors to match the burlap;
  • fabric image(s) and word(s) printed from home computer (we used June Tailor's Sew-in Colorfast Fabric in the pink package);
  • a handful of batting;
  • heart template to complement the size of the project (we made ours out of regular white printer paper).

Directions:

Take a wreath and wrap around it with a strip of burlap. Glue ends into place with a glue gun. Set aside.



Make up a whole bunch of burlap roses. We used this tutorial by Craftaholics Anonymous for making the roses and varied the directions slightly to accommodate our project.   For example, we made the roses in varying sizes.  The smallest roses were made with 10" strips of burlap; the larger flowers were made with 15" strips of burlap.


In addition, since we had so many roses to make, we hot-glued the flowers in an assembly-line fashion to the coordinating felt pieces, let them cool and then cut around the roses with scissors.



Set the roses aside.


Place heart template over desired photo.  You can either trace around the template and then cut out the heart, or carefully cut around the template with scissors.  If you wish to use words in your wreath, go ahead and cut them out now, too, but not too close to the letters.  You will need to have a scant 1/2" border around the letters.

Turn fabric image (heart) over so the right side is facing the work surface.  Apply a thin line of hot glue around the inner edge of the heart.  Do not apply glue to the bottom of the heart.  Carefully turn the heart over and place it on top of a piece of felt.  Repeat with the word(s), making sure to leave one edge unglued.
Let cool.




Once cool, take batting and lightly stuff the heart and word(s).  Don't overstuff these or they will be difficult to close.



Carefully apply hot glue to the underside of the open part of the heart and word(s).  Press down onto the felt.  Once cool, cut out the heart and word(s) with pinking shears, taking care not to cut into the glued borders.  You now have mini, sew-free "pillows" to personalize your wreath.



Use hot glue gun to apply the flowers, picture and word(s) to the wreath.  And wa-la - there you have it - a unique, personalized wreath perfect for wedding decor or to complement any room in the house.


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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Week of Quilting, Flea Markets and Craft Fairs - Part II

I've got to tell you - taking a week off work while the craft fairs were in town was an excellent idea.  I had a wonderful time strolling through the different fairs and flea markets around town.   There were some really awesome projects at the fairs, including:


Vintage-style Halloween decor:


Paper mache snowmen and Santa dolls made from vintage quilts:

Aprons made from old flour sacks and pillow case dresses made from vintage linens:

A large wall cross made from old license plates:


There was even a woman spinning yarn at one of the fairs:

To make it even better, I finally met one of my blog friends, Thespa from Vintiquities Workshop. I met Thespa while blogging about two years ago and we've been internet friends ever since. To make a long story short, we found out that we live in the SAME neighborhood! Can you believe it? It really is a small world! Anyway, Thespa and I FINALLY got to meet in person. We spent a full day wandering around the craft fairs together and a new friendship has formed. This is the first of many get-togethers we are going to have - and believe me, many of those will involve creating art. By the way, Thespa is also a published artist (and a very talented one, at that.) Her work currently graces the cover of Sew Somerset magazine, shown here:


How cool is that??? Be sure to stop by her blog for some wonderful mixed media inspiration.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to show you some awesome finds I found at the local flea markets and antique stores:

A vintage Coke bottle opener.  It is screaming to be made into a mixed media necklace, so I just had to get it:

These adorable vintage bisque penny dolls which measure about an inch and a half tall.  Aren't they sweet? 

More adorable vintage bisque dolls:





And this lovely 1930's feedsack quilt top. (Shhh... don't tell my husband.  He already thinks I have way too many goodies like these in my collection.  What can I say?  I couldn't resist...)

It was a really wonderful week.  Now, I need a vacation to recover from my vacation!  :)

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Monday, October 17, 2011

A Week of Quilting, Craft Fairs and Flea Markets - Part I

Every year during the second week of October, Northwest Arkansas is abuzz with thousands of out-of-state visitors.  The reason?  It's craft fair week.  There are numerous fairs which take place for 2-4 days each.  It's literally a haven for those who want to experience arts, crafts and shopping in a beautiful autumn setting.  This year was no exception.

This year, I decided to take a week of vacation during craft fair week to make the most of this experience.  Of course, on the days preceding the fairs, I made the most of my time by quilting and spending time with my family.

One of the quilting projects I completed was a split nine-patch quilt top.  I saw one of these quilts on my latest addiction, Pinterest, and KNEW I had to make one.   The color choices of green and orange are not colors I normally gravitate to when quilting, but for some reason,  I couldn't resist.  A local shop was selling the bright and cheery fat quarter pack containing these colors and I knew it would be perfect for the split nine-patch quilt.  To really make the colors pop, I added white and darker green fabrics from my fabric stash.  Now, I'll be honest, some of my blocks on the quilt turned out a bit wonky, but I don't think it was too bad  - all things considered.




I also completed a Trip Around the World quilt for a gal I work with as a gift for her unborn baby.  The baby - who is a boy - has a nursery decorated in retro colors of forest green, olive green, brown and a splash of burnt orange.  I decided to make the quilt so it would complement the colors of the nursery.   My co-worker received the quilt at her baby shower this past weekend and loved it.




In Part II of my post, I'll fill you in on some of the highlights of craft fair week.  Stay tuned...

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

And the Winners of the Halloween Giveaway Are...



The winners of my Halloween giveaway were selected by a random number generator this morning.  And the winners are...

Ann from Ann's Imagination Creations and FredaB.  Congratulations, ladies!!!  I will be mailing your packages to you this week! 

:)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Halloween Mixed Media Block Doll Giveaway




I don't know about you, but I can't believe we are already into the month of October. I'm not complaining, though. I absolutely LOVE the fall season - it's my favorite time of year. The cool and comfortable weather plus the changing of the leaves....It doesn't get any better than this.



To celebrate the changing of the seasons, I'm giving away TWO mixed media block dolls to TWO lucky winners. I made both dolls out of vintage images, wood, paper, colored chalk and fabric. To win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Please make sure that I will be able to contact you if you win. Two winners will be selected on October 16 using a random number generator.

Best of luck to all!


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Monday, October 3, 2011

Apple Upside Down Cake Recipe

This weekend, my daughter and I found apples on sale for $1.00 a pound at the local grocery store. I couldn't resist; I ended up buying a bag of these little beauties. Now that we finally are experiencing our beautiful autumn weather, I've been itching to make something with apples. There's nothing quite like the scent of baked apple desserts wafting through the entire house. It's the perfect complement to a chilly autumn day.

This recipe - which is a breeze to make - uses a packaged cake mix that is doctored to taste homemade. My family loved this. And, don't forget to serve it with vanilla ice cream for a really yummy treat.



Apple Upside Down Cake Recipe


Ingredients:

Topping:
6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into wedges. (I used a combination of 3 Granny Smith apples and 3 McIntosh apples.)
1 stick butter, salted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 small package vanilla pudding mix (3.4 ounces)
3 eggs
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pan, melt one stick of butter with the brown sugar. Once it is melted, stir in the vanilla extract and apple slices. Cook over medium heat until apples have softened and released their juices (about 15 minutes) stirring occasionally.

While the apple mixture is cooking, begin working on the cake base. In a large bowl, combine all of the cake ingredients. Mix with blender for 2 minutes. The batter will be thick in consistency.

Pour apple mixture into a 13 x 9 inch pan.  Spread the mixture evenly so it covers the entire bottom of the pan.   Spoon the cake batter over the top of the apples.  As the batter is quite thick, it may be necessary to use a spatula to bring the batter to the edges of the pan. 

Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Take the cake out of oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

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