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21  Queen of Everything. A Peg Doll. in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by rackycoo on: December 20, 2013 06:48:24 AM
I made a couple of peg dolls for a swap recently, and really enjoyed it. Because the supplies I purchased made six dolls, I've been playing with the rest of them. Here's one I just finished: the Queen of Everything.

She's got a shiny scepter, a golden crown, and a flag proclaiming her royal title.

Here she is, ignoring you, you peasant! 

I think I'm going to make me an army of peg dolls in 2014.  Cheesy

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22  Outdoor Christmas Joy from the Garden in Winter Holidays by rackycoo on: December 10, 2013 08:11:39 AM
I have some great pots on my back patio that look great in the spring and summer, but not so good during the winter. The plants in the smaller two pots die back, as do some of the annuals in the large pot. Here's my winter solution: so easy to do, and best of all, it uses plant materials from the evergreen bushes in my back yard. I did this last year, and the greens lasted until the end of January.

This pot's daisies were completely dead, so everything in here is new. I still added some holly, some artimesia, a variegated leaves from an unknown (to me) bush, and some bright red nandina berries. Much better!

This first pot has a large Rosemary plant which still looks great, but I still added extra greenery around the edges. Much better!

And finally, this little herb pot has lavender in it, but it's very scraggly now. I filled it out a bit as well.

And a nice, but slightly blurry, view of all the pots and my very rainy back yard.
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23  Vintage Look Christmas Ornament in Winter Holidays by rackycoo on: December 08, 2013 11:54:38 AM
Do you ever just wake up and think, "I need to make something today."? I did, just this morning. I didn't want to just start something, I wanted to spend a little time in the craft room and make a little project, start to finish.

So, a Christmas ornament. I used a small 2" round tin, some scrapbook paper, micobeads, faux pearls, some tinsel, a few rhinestone stars, and a bottlebrush tree and a little vintage plastic Santa.

The snow on the bottom is Apoxie Sculpt clay with microbeads pushed into it. The clay is so great to use because I just simply pushed the tree and the Santa into it and it holds them in place. 

Not a lot to it, but I love its sweet, simple vintage look. And it looks great on the tree.  Smiley
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24  Christmas Stocking Gift Card Holders in Winter Holidays by rackycoo on: December 06, 2013 08:48:20 AM
I love giving gift cards, but I hate just handing over a plain card. I want there to be some sort of little gift involved. This year, here's the way I'm presenting some of the gift cards I'm giving away: in little stockings! Alpha Stamps has some chipboard stockings that were specially sized for gift cards. And after the card is gone, the stockings can be used as ornaments.

I layered lots of strips of scrapbook paper to get the stripey effect. The back of the stocking has a little pocket that the card fits in.

Here's a detail of one of the stockings. I used Dazzles Black Thin Lines Stickers cut into small pieces to mimic the stitching on the heel, toe, and top of the stocking. And don't forget the jingle bells!
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25  Re: Vintage Christmas Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by rackycoo on: November 29, 2013 10:47:25 AM
Y'all are gonna be jealous! pottermouth sent me the cutest Santa ever!! I have a pretty large Santa collection that I love to bring out this time of year. This little fellow is going to sit front and center this year because I love him so much!

Get yer pinning fingers ready:

In case you're wondering, he's about 7" tall of cute. Isn't his little pink nose the best? Such great details!

Look at his sweet bag of Christmas cheer!

Even his little hiney is adorable:

Thank you so much, pottermouth! I know you said this was a new craft for you. You nailed it! He's awesome, and so are you. Thanks so much for swapping with me. Smiley

Now go and give him his own thread because he deserves it. I want to hear all about how he was made.  Cheesy
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26  Christmas Circus Putz Shrines in Winter Holidays by rackycoo on: November 29, 2013 07:41:06 AM

I love the sparkle and simplicity of Putz houses. They are such wonderful retro Christmas decorations. Recently, I got a few tiny circus shrines from Alpha Stamps. Leslie (Alpha Stamps owner) asked me if I was going to decorate them as Christmas or circus, and as we talked, the idea of "Christmas circus" took hold. Because if you know me at all, you know I love Christmas AND the circus! Measuring in at just 3" wide, the shrines were the perfect size for a tiny village. Thus, I present to you a "Christmas Circus Putz Shrine". Here's Santa, a tree, and a festive Christmas elephant, all in a little tent, sparkled up with Micro Beads.

This was my first go-round using Micro Beads, and I really love the way they look. It makes me want to glitter all the things! However, while I really like the way this turned out, there were a few things I wanted to improve on. For example, the beads distort any pattern a bit, so the tiny letters spelling out "Christmas" in the banner are fairly illegible. Also, I did not cover the sides of the facade, so the seams are dark, which I think distracts from the light snowy effect I was going for.

Here's my next, more successful shrine, along with some in progress photos and some tips I learned, in case you want to make your own:

As you can see, the sides of the facade have painted red to coordinate with the paper I used on the front, and I covered the back and sides of the shrine with one strip of paper, instead of covering each surface separately. Much better! For the painted areas, I used gesso first to have a good light base to paint on.

Here are the steps I took to make this project:

1. If you're planning on painting any surfaces, cover them with gesso first. For this putz, I painted the base, the flag, and the banner (not shown in this photo). I originally planned to paint the outside solid as well, so in this photo, it's white with the gesso coat. I did not like the way the joints showed when the putz was put together, so ended up covering the back and sides with paper. Notice on the two parts with the stars on them, which will be the inside of the shrine, that the decorative paper doesn't overlap the tabs. That's so things will fit together properly when it's time for gluing.

2. Cover all the inside surfaces with Incredi-Sheets, which are large sized sheets of double stick tape. Trim the tape to fit only the area covered with paper: keep those tabs clean! Once adhered, peal off the top protective layer of the tape, and cover with the micro beads. I find it useful to keep my beads in a flat Tupperwear bowl; it keep them from rolling around and getting loose, and later, you can pop the lid on for storage. I held the piece to be covered, sticky side down, and pressed it into the beads until it was fully coated. Once you pull it out, use your fingers to press all the beads down firmly, and then brush any excess beads back into your bowl.

3. Once all your interior pieces have been beaded, assemble the outer walls and base of the shrine. Hold firmly while the glue sets.

4. Here's how I treated the back of the tent shaped facade. Since only the top part shows, I covered and beaded only that part. Doing so assures that none of the joints that will be glued have any extra layers on them. I used one strip of paper to cover the top and sides of the exterior of the shrine. In the first example I made, I covered the top and sides separately before assembly, which made the seams too dark. Using one piece of paper to cover the top and sides made for a much cleaner look.

Once the front is attached, decorate the inside to your heart's content! I had fun using a mixture of Alpha Stamps products, and some little vintage Santas I had. I posted a list of products I used (plus links) here on my blog, if you're in the mood to do a little shopping. Cheesy
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27  Christmas Peg Dolls in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by rackycoo on: November 22, 2013 02:51:25 PM
I made some peg dolls! My partner in the Vintage Christmas swap (the awesome Ms. pottermouth!) just received the package I sent her, so now I can post it. She had a lot of peg dolls on her Pinterest, and I thought they were adorable, so I decided to try my hand at making a couple. She named them Pixie and Trixie, the Peppermint Twins, which I think suits them to a tee. Look at this cute "vintage" photo she took of them.

I gave each of the girls something to hold: the brunette has a couple of Christmas packages and an oversized ornament, while the blonde is holding a tiny tree and a "Merry Christmas" banner. Originally I designed them to both hold a banner that said "joy", but I really wasn't happy with the way it looked, so I decided they'd each be happier standing on their own.

Here's the blonde. The banner was cut from a sheet of scrapbook paper. Its flagstaff is a bamboo skewer. Both of the skirts were made by hand sewing a pre-made ruffle around the peg pin. 

The brunette's ski cap is actually an acorn top. I glittered around the bottom and made a little clay pom pom for the top.

One more photo of the girls together:

I have supplies to make four more dolls. I can't wait to see who they turn out to be. Smiley
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28  Fall Banner in Thanksgiving by rackycoo on: November 04, 2013 06:48:27 AM
I really loved having a banner on my mantel at Halloween, so I decided to make one for Thanksgiving as well. I was going to write the word "thankful", but that just seemed so long. I decided to make more of a fall banner instead. One with no letters in it!

I cut each flag pennant out of shirt cardboard, and then layered them with scrapbook paper and green paper ribbon. I used my trusty Martha Stewart paper scorer to make the medallions (thanks, Martha!). The adorable acorn buttons and tiny clothespins came from Alpha Stamps, as did the oak leaf cutouts and tiny pinecones. I put a butterfly on one of the pennants just for fun.

One more view:

I had made a bunch of small pennants that I thought I might use on this banner, but the scale was off. Wouldn't you know, I had made eight of them - just enough to write the word "thankful". My mom's had a pretty rough year, but she still manages to have a positive outlook and embrace the good in life. I'm sending this one to her. It should arrive in today's mail.
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29  Teeny Tiny Shriney in Completed Projects by rackycoo on: October 05, 2013 07:03:09 AM
I was fortunate enough to take a class from Michael DeMeng last week, entitled "Teeny Tiny Shriney". He is the best! He taught us all about mixing paints to age and integrate parts to make a cohesive shrine. Here's what I made in his class, out of one of the tiny-sized Altoids tins. The sides were built up with Aves Apoxie Sculpt clay, my new favorite art supply! This clay was also used to adhere heavy and/or oddly shaped items, such as the rusty bottle cap, the typewriter key, and the small finial at the bottom of the shrine.

Most of the parts I brought from home, but I purchased the awesome "floating shift" typewriter key and the Japanese doll hand there. My buddy cackle, who attended art camp with me, was nice enough to give me the eye, which really makes the piece.

I have been saving that perfect half-circle rusty bottle cap forever. I'm glad it finally found the home it deserves. Here's looking at you!

If you'd like to read about what else I made at "art camp", and all about the fantastic experience it was, click here.
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30  Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously: Art Camp Collage (pic heavy) in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by rackycoo on: October 03, 2013 11:44:50 AM
Preview detail:

cackle and I recently went to art camp! It was an art retreat hosted by Art Is...You, and it was a blast! We took several classes and learned so much. The creative energy was contagious. It was like finding your people, all in one place.

One of my favorite classes was "Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously", taught by LorriMarie Jenkins. She was so fun and encouraging. The class focused on just having fun with your art. We had a six hour time period and we all made two pieces, both measuring 12" by 12". What?!? I am a plodder and a thinker! I need more planning time! But not in this class...I really learned to trust my instincts, and I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Here's my first piece:

We layered each board with old book pages, then used lots of torn paper and fabric to add texture. Once we had a base collage, we added a copy of an old photograph and embellished it with ears or hats. This one has a mask because I accidentally ripped the image around her eye area. No problem; I just cut out some eyes from a moon image and slapped them down. Once we had the image of the woman on, we coated the entire piece with Mod Podge, and then gessoed everything except the image. I got way too heavy with the gesso on this one, but that's why we make two, to learn from our mistakes.  Cheesy

Once the gesso was down, we added in color using glaze, and then painted in details like polka dots.

Here are some details so you can get a better idea of the layers:

Burlap makes for great texture:

All that, before lunch!

After lunch, we started on our second work. On this one, I used more papers and less gesso. The text says, "the moonlight becomes her". In case you're wondering, that's Mrs. Grover Cleveland there. I hope she doesn't mind that I gave her a butterfly wing headdress!

Some details:

I may hang it in this bathroom, because the color really works with the wall color:

If you made it this far, congratulations! That was wordy. In any case, if you ever have a chance to go to an art retreat, do it! It was so incredibly inspiring. I have so many projects I'm dying to do now. Plus, I learned a lot of new techniques and worked with materials I'd never heard of, like the amazing Stabilo 8046 pencil, which outlines in a lovely dark black, but is water soluble, so you can feather a lovely shadow out from it. You can see this on the outer edge and around the images of the women in both of my pieces.

If you'd like to hear more about my experience in art camp, look for my article on the Craftster blog next Tuesday, October 8th. I'll talk about what it was like and also some of my other classes. Did I mention I met Teesha Moore, and Andrea and Michael DeMeng?  Roll Eyes If you'd like to read about what else I made at "art camp", and all about the fantastic experience it was, click here.
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