Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Friend June and more Upcycled Felted Wool Butterfly Pins

Today is a special day.  My dear friend June from San Antonio Texas is coming!  I will be picking her up at the airport later this morning.  We have been friends for many years...she is family.  She is a sister to me, a sister in law to my husband and a favorite aunt for my kids.  We have been  blessed that she has been able to  visit our family, at least once a year in the past 5 years since our move to Colorado. 

These butterflies were created using the Bigz Beautiful Butterflies die.  This Sizzix die is sold only through Stampin' Up who by the way, is now sold my friend June. I look forward to all the projects she will be creating in the future.  I also look forward to spending the next few days with my friend!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Upcycled Large Felted Wool Butterfly Pins

I have created pins using this Sizzix butterfly die with canvas but this is the first time I used felted wool.  Due to the size of these butterflies (almost 5 inches wide and 3.5 height), I found using the thicker felted wool worked best.  Like the smaller butterfly pins, these also have two layers of felt.  I think these large butterfly pins will be great embellishments for winter coats, tote bags and maybe even scarfs.   Here are some of my favorites:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Upcycled Mini Butterfly Rings

Lots and lots of mini felted wool butterfly rings!  I think they are cute and whimsical...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mini Up-cycled Butterfly Magnets

Creating these mini butterflies for my upcoming craft shows got my mind thinking of many other projects I can create.  These mini butterflies make great magnets and even rings.  In the coming months as I work on creating more felted wool tote bags/handbags I will use these mini butterflies.  I have sketched some new designs!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Butterfly Week

This past week went by quickly.  At the beginning of the week, I had plans to work on creating more up-cycled dress-forms using vintage linens but instead, it turned out to be a week of butterflies.  I started my week by finishing some in progress projects....the embellished t-shirts with fabric ruffles and coordinating pins (I posted those pictures during this past week).

Sometimes, I find I lack focus.  As I was sorting through my vintage linen collection, I came across a bag full of felted wool sweater scraps.  Since storage space is an issue, I decided I should use those scraps since I needed the storage space for, you guess it...vintage linens.  This is where my week took a creative detour (happens often).  Usually, I will use my sizzix die cut machine to cut flower shapes from the scraps but this week, I remembered I have several new sizzix dies.  Two of those new dies are butterflies.  

So, I cut butterfly shapes this week.  My new favorite  butterfly dies is sizzix but sold through Stampin' Up.  I used the Beautiful Butterflies Stampin' Up! Bigz Die.  I was able to cut two different sizes and shapes from the same that!  Inspired to create more butterfly projects, I went on to create many butterfly pins (3 diffferent shapes/sizes), magnets (2 sizes) and even rings!

  It was a great week.  The kids went back to school and  loving it.  I had a productive creative week as I continue to learn so much from Kelly Rae Robert's Flying Lessons E-course and created new items for my upcoming craft shows.   This coming week, I will post pictures of my new butterflies.  Here is a preview...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Canvas Butterfly Pin

Back in the spring, I created tote bags inspired by a fabric I love   It has a print of Indian paintbrush and Bluebonnet flowers commonly found in East Texas highways during the spring.  Those tote bags had a butterfly pin.  Using gel medium, I transferred the image of  the fabric to the canvas then cut the butterfly shape using the Sizzix die cut machine. 

This pin is just like the one I made back in the spring, except that I added a new layer of felted wool.  I placed the felted wool layer at the bottom, creating a butterfly pin with 4 layers (3 canvas, 1 felt).  I like the extra support the felt gives to the pin.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Butterfly Pin to Coordinate with Embellished T-Shirt

One of my favorite fabrics is from the Authentic line created by Sweetwater Fabrics by Moda.  Sadly, I can no longer find this fabric so I find it difficult to use this fabric since I can't find it anymore.  However, as a special treat for myself...I  used it to embellish one of my plain black t-shirts with a ruffle.  I love the newsprint pattern on this fabric.  I also created a coordinating pin using the same fabric with two layers of felted wool (black and red).  The center has a black glass vintage button.  I added a couple of tulle black leaves.  Since butterflies are my favorite,  I  created an extra fun pin for myself.  The  butterfly pin was created using a felted wool  and small black beads. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Embellish T-Shirt with Ruffles

Even as a teenager, I have always been a t-shirt and jean type of person.  I am now in my mid 40s and that has not changed.  It's good to know some things don't change because most things do.  Using some of my favorite fabrics, I decided to embellish some of my plain t-shirts with a fabric ruffle.  I placed the ruffle at the bottom of the shirt.  I also created a coordinating pin using several layers of fabric and crochet flowers.  The center is a vintage of my favorites.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vintage Finds....Buttons!

Perhaps my favorite items to find at the estate sales this summer have been the vast assortment of buttons.  Many are vintage and some are not, but the assortment I have found has been amazing.  I don't know exactly why, but I love to collect buttons.  I use them in scrapbooking, felted wool  projects like flower pins and handbags, paper flowers and of course, the dressform pin cushions.  Sorting through the jars and bags of buttons this summer has been a fun experience I was able to share with my teenage daughter Laura.   We referred to it as our mother daughter bonding time.    This is just a sampling of the buttons we found this favorites.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vintage Findings....Thread Spools and Tart Tins & Back to School

The kids are now back to school!  Alex is now in  2nd grade and everyone now knows how much he loves Transformers.  His backpack, lunch-bag, shirt, shoes....all transformers!  Laura is now attending her first day of High School!  She is happy and really looking forward to High School.  Now, it's my turn to focus and get some of my creative work off to a productive start.

This summer, I was lucky to re-stock my collection of vintage wooden thread spools, tart tins and Jell-O molds after shopping at many estate sales. I enjoyed finding these little treasures:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vintage Finds....Embroidered Linens

During this summer, the kids and I attended many estate sales.  Initially, their enthusiasm was quit low.  However, I think the kids were pleasantly surprised to find little treasures for themselves.  They knew mommy was in search for vintage items like linens, wooden thread spools, tart tins, jello molds and of course....buttons!  Alex found quit of few toys like cars, trains, trucks and even Legos.  This summer Alex's favorite activities have been creating fantastic items with Legos and watching Spongebob.  Laura has also found little decorative items and now has her own collection of buttons!  I guess it's contagious but my teenager loves to help me sort through all the vintage buttons purchased at numerous estate sales. 

I have to say, it has been enjoyable on these Thursday and or Friday mornings as the kids and I venture out into these estate sales.  I have found a great assortment of vintage linens at bargain prices.  There is some work involved but well worth it.  I always start by soaking and washing all the linens and finish by pressing them.  Now, I have several bags full of linens.  As soon as the kids go back to school (tomorrow),  I will get busy transforming these vintage linens into dress-forms, pin cushions and buttons.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

What Inspires Me?

Back in April, I posted about an on-line course I took with  Jenni Bowlin.  The class was Re-purpose, Re-think, Re-invent through Big Picture Scrapbooking.  It was a 12 week course I thoroughly enjoyed.  The   first week's assignment was to create an inspiration board.  With each passing week, we were asked to post a new inspiration item. I love how my inspiration board came together with items that truly do inspire me.

Now I am taking an inspiring e-course with Kelly Rae, Flying Lessons.  I am starting to see how one course is helping me understand the other better.   When I see my completed inspiration board, I feel inspired to create.   I truly love to work with felted wool, vintage findings, paper and so many other items as seen in my inspiration board.    My inspiration board will continue to evolve and my hope is that I will continue to do the same in whatever I create.

My kids go back to school in exactly one week!  Just as they go back to school to  learn new things, I will use that time to do the same.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flying Lessons with Kelly Rae

Last week I created this felted wool butterfly pin.  It was easy, I just added tiny beads to the center and layered two butterfly diecuts (Sizzix). 

I love butterflies and perhaps one of the reasons I love them so much is because it reminds me of something my mom told me many years ago.  I grew up in a conservative Hispanic family where the children would grow up, get married and live nearby.  I grew up visiting my grandmother every weekend and frequently, spending the weekend with her and my aunts.    Frequently, during these visits, I would also see  numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.  I was the first one in my generation to go to college and graduate (my brother and sister soon followed).  Living in El Paso, Texas  finding a job in the accounting profession was not easy so I realized during my senior year in college that I needed to apply for positions outside of El Paso.  This was perhaps one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my life.   It was difficult  because it meant I would be leaving the comforts of home and all that I knew into the unknown.  This is also one of those times where I listened to my told me, go for it!  I was 20 years old at the the time and I think I talked myself into it by telling myself to give it a year.  No matter how homesick I would get or unhappy I could be, I promised myself I would stay for one year.  If at the end of that year it did not work out for me, I would just move back home.  I think having that safety net gave me the courage I needed to leave my family and home.  

My decision was very difficult for many, but none more than my mom.  In her mind, this was not how it was suppose to be.  I was not suppose to move to another city after I graduated college.  She always wanted the best for education she could never have.  My mom is a self-taught dressmaker...the best in my opinion.  I was always in awe to see her create beautiful wedding dresses with no patterns at all.  She simply took measurements and a picture taken from a bridal magazine and created hand beaded gowns.  Frequently, I would hear brides asking for a certain top but different bottom or different sleeves...resulting in a customized wedding dress.  My mom may not have a formal education, but she always impressed me with her skill and ability to learn so much on her own.  My mom loved creating those wedding dresses! 

I know my mother struggled when I moved to Houston Texas to work as a tax auditor and constantly worried about me living alone in such a large city.  But, she was able to put her own fears aside for a moment and told me I was her butterfly.  I was meant to fly, even if it meant I was to fly away from home.  I have always remembered that. 

As difficult as that decision was for me to make, I know it was the right decision for me.  Within that year I met my husband so my plan changed.  I never returned to live in El Paso.  To this day, I also know my decision to not return to live in El Paso pains my mom.  She misses not being able to see me or my children as often as she sees my sister and brother and their kids/spouses (they all live less than 2 miles away).  Sometimes, I miss having that option, but I also know in my heart, I am where I am suppose to be.

Today, I started an e-course with Kelly Rae.  I hope to learn tips and techniques that will help me transition my love of creating into a successful business.  Today's topic of exploring my fears and truly listening to my inner creative whispers hit home.  After reading today's materials, I decided to blog about something that has special meaning to me...the butterfly and it's significance for me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Laura's 14th Birthday Party

Last night was my daughters 14th  birthday party.  Keeping with the theme of ABC Family show, Pretty Little Liars, she invited 3 of her closet friends (who also love the show).  It's was a nice sleepover party where 4 teenage girls had fun, at least I heard them laughing....alot!  I honestly don't know how late they were up other than they went to sleep sometime in the dawn hours....they don't even know how late they were up.  

Keeping with tradition, I made Laura's birthday cake and many of the party decorations.  This year the cake was easy because I just ordered an edible image  from Ebay. 

One of my favorite decorations is the birthday banner I created for Laura.  I had seem a similar design on a magazine and felt it was the right style for this year's birthday party.  It does not show up too good on the photos, but my favorite part was the little crystals hanging of each banner center.

 Every year, I try to create a unique party favor bag.  This year, instead of a bag it was a box.  It's a bakery box I purchased at Michael's.  Since I used the actual text pages from the first Pretty Little Liars book for the birthday banner and candy wrappers, it was only natural I use the text pages on these boxes.  I decoupaged torn pages around the sides.  The box is filled with goodies like chocolate, popcorn, frame, bookmarks, stationery, decoration and pencils with each girl's initial and of course some nail polish. 

 Since Laura is an avid ready, I also like to create bookmarks reflecting the party theme:  Laura picked out most of the images and I created the bookmarks using Adobe Photoshop Elements.