Living creatively, love of photography, and passionate living.

Posts tagged “crafts

My new crochet shawl.

Hey, everybody.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I seem to be having a hard time lately getting to my computer to blog.  I think it’s work and being busy and life in general getting in my way with my blogging.  But that is just how life works, isn’t it?  Maybe it’s not so much that life is “getting in my way,” but that life is just happening. 

My very good friend (we’ve known each other since Jr. High) has a mother who is dying of pancreatic cancer.  My thoughts have been with her lately.  We’ve been talking  a lot, as we do when something comes up in our lives that is so life altering, and I want to make sure that I am there for her to support her.  I made her mother a prayer shawl (which I forgot to photograph before I gave it to her) out of baby yarn that was a sherbet green.  She is so frail and only weighs about 80-something pounds–at least that was a few weeks ago.  I didn’t want to make it too heavy for her so I made it out of chain stitches with an open crochet look to it to keep it lightweight.  She loved it.  I was so glad I could make her smile.  I hope it brings her much comfort in these last days of hers. 

And then I was sick myself with what I think was food poisoning.  I was so sick I had to go to the ER.  But I’m better now.  While I was resting and getting better, I started crocheting some shawls for myself as well.  I have made three shawls in the last few weeks!  I am going to show you them all, but one at a time.

I made this shawl out of black yarn with in an open crochet pattern.  It has fringe and I can wear it many ways, as you will see.  I got all the patterns from either the internet, books, magazines or old patterns I had stashed in my project files.  You can find many yourself or make up your own.  Hope you like this one and it inspires you.  I’ll show you the second one next time!


How to use old frames.

I love creating something new and different out of old things.  I use to go to auctions, estate sales, garage sales, and flea markets all the time.  Many times something would capture my attention because of some element of design, such as color, shape, or texture, and I would think I just couldn’t live without it!  I would purchase it, not sure how I was going to use it later, but sure in the thought that I would find a way. 

While out at an estate sale one day, I found these old, ornate frames and knew I wanted to hang them but didn’t have any large pictures to put inside them.  I wondered how I would find something I liked and that would fit my decor.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money because I had already got a great deal on the individual frames.  And they were all gold and peeling and flaky.  I liked the ornateness of the pieces, but not the gaudiness of them while they were gold.  So the first thing I did was paint them all.  I’ve already finished them a long time ago, so I can’t show you the process, but I can tell you what I did.

I cleaned the frames up with some rags first.  Then I took an old scrub brush and lightly brushed off any flakes of the gold finish that were already coming off.  I wiped them again with a clean rag and set them on some old newspaper to paint.  I found an off-white color and poured some into a dish.  I really didn’t want to paint completely over the frame in a thick paint, so I added some water to thin the paint out.  I used acrylic paint, like what you would use to paint your walls.  I also purchased some other pastel colors in small cans that I used for accent color.

First, I lightly brushed the off-white paint over the frames.  I didn’t worry about getting every spot and crevice, because I wanted to show off the texture and keep some depth in the design.  After I let that dry, I mixed the pastel-colored paint with water, also.  Then, I lightly brushed over the relief areas of the frames.  I didn’t do the whole frame, just areas I wanted to highlight with a touch of color.

After the frames were dry, I was anxious to hang them.  Only, I still didn’t know what to put inside them.  I went to one of the local craft stores here in town one day and found these really beautiful and small fabric frames with ribbon hangers.  I bought two of them and used some old, dried flower petals I had in my freezer to insert into their display area.  Then, I hung these inside of the bigger frames on my wall!  I absolutely loved them!  It was perfect for me.  I didn’t want these huge pictures on my walls because my room is long and narrow and I didn’t want to make it look smaller than it was with images that were too large. This solution was much better.

As you can see, I also hung an old piece of costume jewelry (which I have a nice collection of) on the corner, just for some added attraction. 

Here’s the other beautiful, old frame after I finished it.  It’s got just a hint of a mauvy-purple on it.  It’s kind of hard to see in this picture, though.

One frame was left.  This one was vertical.  I needed a place to fill above my desk where my computer sits and where I spend a lot of time.  It’s a narrow little corner in my bedroom and I like color for inspiration.  My walls are a nice neutral color that change a little as the day progresses.  They start off a sort of buttercream color and change to an almost pinky-apricot toward the late afternoon and evening. 

I wanted to keep the frame in the same color as the other two on the adjacent wall.  So I just painted the main color and no highlight color.  Because I decided the color would come from what I would hang inside.  I use it as a sort of catch-all for colorful posters and mailers and postcards.  Right now I just have them stuck inside or tacked to the wall.  I want to get some cork board and cut to a size that I can tack to the wall behind the frame. 

I like looking up while I’m working and seeing the array of images and color.  I’m going to fill the whole space up like a collage. 

So, that’s something you can do with old frames without having to find an exact image the right size to go inside.   It doesn’t even matter if they are falling apart.   A new coat of paint will help them stay intact.  I’ve had mine for over 6 years and they are not flaking or peeling anymore.   Hope you enjoyed this post.  Go out and find something old and inexpensive to decorate with that makes you smile when you look at it!

Sisters and Quilt Shows

Today I had a great time doing a little sister bonding and perusing the Walnut Valley Quilter’s Guild bi-annual quilt show.  It was entitled “There’s No Place Like Home…A Kansas Quilt Show.”  It was about a 45 minute drive from where we both live, so it gave us plenty of time to talk and catch up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives. 

I knew the drive was going to be just a little bit, so I took along some crocheting to keep me busy.  Actually, the truth of the matter is, I wasn’t sure what kind of driver my sister was because I haven’t been a passenger in a car she’s driven in quite some time.  So, I was trying to distract myself — just in case.   I do all the driving around here, chaffeuring my two teenagers around everywhere.  I don’t trust very many people to drive me anywhere, and it’s nerve-wracking for me to be in the passenger’s seat rather than behind the wheel.  I hate having no control in any situation.  I didn’t say I need to be in control of everything, I said I dislike not having even a tiny smidgen of control in a situation. (Did you hear that ex-husband? Do you understand the difference? Oh, hell, you don’t even read my blog!) 

Anyway, she did okay, I guess.  As I said, I tried not to pay too much attention.  It was nice to talk about our interests, how our kids were doing, the similarities in raising teenagers, and family gossip.  Normally, I don’t like gossip and try not to partake in it, but this was family gossip. You know, things I need to know.  The weather was perfect.  It wasn’t supposed to get bad till later in the day so we were fine because we left early enough in the day.  We had a great time looking at all the beautiful, hard work these people put into their quilts. 

         “Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!”

                               How fun is that?!  I loved all the colors and the artwork.

                  Normally, I’m not a fan of dark quilts in general, but I really liked this next one. 

There was also another room full of quilts called The Patriotic Exhibit.  It was fantastic and very sentimental.  They were so beautiful it made me want to make one to display in my home.  One in particular had the Pledge of Allegiance embroidered on it. 

There was also an area entitled “The Man Cave” with a sign quilted saying exactly that.  At first, I thought it was an exhibit.  I was standing there staring at the sign and the work put into it and the two smaller quilts in the area portraying “man cave” scenes.  There was an older gentleman sitting in a chair and he was not very friendly looking.  We were laughing at the idea (and I was wondering why the man was not telling us anything about the mini-quilts).  Then I realized it was an actual “man cave” for the men who did not want to walk around looking at quilts with their wives!  Ooops!  We quickly walked away, our heads down. 

On the way back, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant to have a bite.  We sat and talked about our kids, laughing and sharing our frustrations over the antics of teenagers.   Finally, we drove home.  We decided we should do this kind of thing more often.  It was nice to get away for a few hours.  And living in the mid-west, there is always something of this nature going on somewhere.  We made plans to make plans for a once-a-month trip during the summer and fall, maybe just traveling to an out-of-town quilt shop for supplies and to drool over the fabric, buttons, patterns and ideas. 

I’m so glad my mother taught us to sew when we were young.  It not only created a good life-skill that helps us save money and gives us another outlet for our creativity, but it brings us together and enables us to continue to create good memories in our lives as we spend time sharing our love of sewing.  And I really enjoy that.

Free Christmas Cards.

I do a lot of work in Photoshop.  I use it for editing my photos, and I use it to create templates and all kinds of other creative things.  I have made business cards, collages, senior graduation invitations and announcements, and even sports templates.  I’ve made them for myself, for clients, and for other photographers.

I like doing cards because I can make something creative in a short amount of time, thus giving myself that quick little outlet for creativity and inspiration.  I’m sharing some of these with you so you can use them for ecards or for your own photo cards to mail out.  At this time, the only way you can use these is if you email me so I can send the .psd file to you for your own use, which you have my permission to do.  My email address is on my ABOUT page. You will need some edition of Photoshop–which ever level does not matter because it’s a .psd file that can be used in any edition (or any program that allows you to use .psd files, really). 

Hope you like them.  I have lots more, but am only giving these particular ones out for free. 

Card 1 – size 4″ x 6″

Card 2 – size 5″ x 7″

Card 3 – 5″ x 7″

Image in Card 1 and 2 are by Rita A. Ruiz.

Image in Card 3 is by Darren Decker.



Not exactly Cinderella’s glass slipper, but…

No, there’s not a glass slipper in the bunch.  But these slippers will keep your tootsies nice and toasty warm on these cool fall nights and in the not-so-distant future winter months when it’s cold and snowy outside.  Mmmm…! I can smell the hot chocolate already! Marshmallows, please, and extra whip cream in mine.

I hate wearing shoes in the house, and so does everyone else under the roof we share.  But we don’t like cold feet.  And socks get worn out so fast when your walking back and forth from your bedroom to the kitchen to get a snack and then to the living room to watch that movie you’ve been waiting to see.   So I finally decided to make some crocheted slippers that will keep our feet warm and makes us happy at the same time when we wiggle our toes. 

These lovely slippers don’t take long at all to do.  And you can use leftover yarn from other projects.  You just adjust the stitch you are using and the hook size to get different looks.  I also varied the strap.  I love using contrasting colors for the edging.   Since I never throw anything away because I always think I’ll come up with a use for it somewhere down the line, I have all kinds of small amounts of yarn in tiny little balls that I can use for the edging.            

These slippers are crocheted in the round.  Make a ring first with chain stitches that you join with a slip stitch.  Then start crocheting your stitch of choice, increasing as needed till the top piece fits over your toes.  Then simply start making rows back and forth down the length of your foot.  Decrease in the middle of the last row, sew a seam with slip stitches, and then edge in contrasting color and make your strap.  That’s it!  Simple and easy.  


I made the little crocheted flower for embellishment. 

Black can be edged with nearly any color.  I love these because there so soft and lightweight.  It’s more like wearing socks rather than slippers. 

I think I ‘m going to put a pair of these in a baggie in my purse so when I go to someone else’s house that doesn’t like shoes worn inside, I don’t have to be barefoot or walk around in my socks at their house.  I can just slip these on.

I love these purple ones.  I used a chunky yarn and a larger hook.  I am going to sew down the straps and put a cute little button on top once I find the ones I like.

There just so adorable and comfy!

These will make great stocking-stuffers and gifts for the girls where I work.  Good thing I got started early.  Just don’t know if I can part with any of them!

If you don’t crochet, and would like a pair of these warm and sweet slippers, just contact me (go to “About Me” page) and I’d be happy to whip you up a pair for a fair price.  You can pick the colors you would like, too.  Happy crocheting!

Oh, how I love my beads…

I absolutely love beads.  I like shopping for them (I have been known to drive quite a distance just to shop for beads.  Once, I made a friend of mine drive an hour-and-half away from her home near Dallas so we could find this bead shop and purchase some beads.  We ended up getting taken to lunch by the owner.  He bought our lunch and we sat and talked with him and had a very pleasant afternoon–so it was well worth it!), I like making things with them, I like having them around just to look at. 

It must be all those colors and shapes.  I have tons of them, too.  It’s an addiction.  Truly.

I have made all kinds of bracelets and earrings with them. 

Bracelets are pretty easy to make.  You can use wire or the stretchy cord.  You can bead tiny little beads, or the big chunky ones.

The great thing about making your own jewelry is that you can coordinate with your wardrobe and style. 

All it takes is a little creativity. 

You can keep your beads in any kind of container that works for you.  I have purchased bead holders like the plastic containers at the top.  But I also have used anything from baggies to baby food jars. 

Whatever works for you.  Making a bracelet is a good way to get in a quick, creative fix and have something nice to wear, too!