Friday, December 26, 2008

New Toys!

It's after 1:00 a.m. but I am so excited about my new toys that I had to blog it! My family gave me a gift card to Michael's (though I told them to spend ONLY a certain amount of money, they didn't listen, as usual! LOL!) and my mom-in-law gave us gift money for Christmas. So.....after at least 2 years, maybe more, of wanting to get a Provocraft Cuttlebug.....I didn't. Instead, I got a Sizzix Big Kick (like the Big Shot, but different colors). If you aren't into crafting and are wondering how you stumbled onto this blog, I can only help you with the first issue. Big Kick, Big Shot, and Cuttlebug are die cutting machines. They cut paper into shapes by rolling a "die," a piece of metal with sharp cutting edges in a certain shape, and a piece of paper through these heavy rollers. It's like a pasta roller for paper. In fact, before I had any die cut machine, I used my Kitchen Aid pasta roller attachment! For probably 3 years, I think, I have owned a little die cut machine called a zip'emate. Got it on ebay for $20, shipping included, b/c the machine was not going to be made anymore. It's done its job okay, but it can't do all I'd like it to do.

Today, armed with a gift card AND a half-off coupon (I was taking no chances on paying full price), and following a call to the nearest Michael's to ensure they had this machine, I strolled into the store and asked for one of these new machines! THEN, since it WAS on sale, I tossed in a Cropodile Big Bite (it punches holes and sets eyelets). As if this weren't enough excitement, I found HUGE skeins of cotton yarn marked down, some smaller ones marked down, and a skein of brown yarn marked down. I plan to crochet a little toy football for a nearly one year old who lives down the street, so tossed in that last skein!

I have now made 2 reusable covers for the sweepers you can buy. Not sure I can use the actual name, but it rhymes with Biffer! I plan to have some available for sale soon. I also have made loopy reusable covers for the duster by the same company. This makes these ingenious little "brops" or "mooms" (broom/mop) and dusters even more friendly: easy on the back and easy on the budget with no buying those disposable refills. Just use this, toss it in the washer and use again! I will attempt making some with nylon netting in them, for scrubbing up sticky messes. Pictures will have to wait til we get to our house. We are at my mother-in-law's right now.

Can't wait to play with my new toys and get some pictures uploaded soon for you!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Cards COMPLETED!

That title is misleading. My Christmas cards to sell on ebay are completed. I would have liked to do have done more, but as it was I was sneaking these in just in time to get them sold & sent out by Christmas. I've been "studying" cards on ebay to see what people like to buy. It seems if you put LOTS of detail on the card and sew all over it, then it is more likely to sell. I'd like to make some with less time consumed in making them to list on webstore. I've decided that stitching on cards is a bit more challenging than fabric in that every little micrometer you don't sew perfectly straight shows up. Also, I now have a cheap sewing machine that has just a handful of stitch options. They are meant to be functional, not beautiful, but I suppose to the non-seamstress they just look like variety! LOL! I think straight stitching & simple zigzag works better than the hem stitching (that's the one with a few straight stitches, then a V shaped stitch).

Next in the crafting world, I need to stuff some potscrubbers full of netting and get them mailed. I hope to work on some gifts for the girls' friends soon. THEN I might get to start my Christmas cards to send out! More likely, New Year's cards.

Hope you enjoy seeing these cards! If you are interested in purchasing these, my ebay username is benaphlag.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pot Scrubbers & Recipe Boxes

It's been a busy week...busy month....busy our house. I am crocheting pot scrubbers as quickly as my little fingers (or long fingers, actually) will allow me. I bought something today that I was sure would be a huge benefit to my crocheting & ease any hand stress I get while crocheting. It was a Provocraft Ergonomic Crochet Kit. I've always loved everything I've bought from Provocraft. Notice that's past tense. This item was NOT made for me. I must hold my hook the wrong way to start with because none of the 4 different grip styles worked for me on this contraption. The good news is I'll be going back to Jo Ann's & getting money back in my bank account! I decided I'll just try wrapping some tape around my hook & then slipping on a pencil grip.

I have some Recipe Boxes to decorate & am itching to do this. I hope to make one or two in the next few days and get those posted for you to see.

Until then, have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The World's Best Pot Scrubbers!

A few years ago my mother in law asked if I could make some potscrubbers for her. I was sure I could do this, but needed a pattern. I found one at this link: and got busy crocheting! She liked these so well that she asked me to make some for a friend of hers, too. About a month ago a friend of mine asked if I knew how to crochet and if so did I know how to make Pot Scrubbers. Her grandmother used to make these, and like my mother in law, my friend said these were the BEST pot scrubbers ever. She said she would buy some from me if I would make them. So I did, and she did!

I'm making these to have handy for sale whenever anyone would like to buy one. They are $2.00 a piece. If you'd like to buy some, just let me know. I have several colors of netting and would be glad to make them in the colors of your choice (if that color net is available).

If you crochet, check out the link!

*Disclaimer* I cannot vouch for these being the BEST Pot Scrubber Ever because I have the BEST POTS ever! I have Pampered Chef nonstick cookware and I never have to scrub anything off of them (except for those little metal rivets where the handles are secured onto the pan forever)! Next time I use my PC Stainless Pan, I will let you know how well the scrubber does! If you'd like more information the BEST POTS ever, leave a comment with your e-mail address & I'll get my PC website to you!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dolly & Me

As I'm forging my way into the business of crafting (which is different from crafting strictly for pleasure I've found!), I'm doing a lot of research to see what is out there that people like. For doll clothes for the 18" dolls (such as American Girl, Life of Faith, Springfield, My Generation, etc.), I would love to create "Dolly & Me" clothes: Matching doll and child outfits. Also, rather than making up some outfits hoping people will want them, I want to know what people want and THEN make the outfits. I hope to get some samples made up before an Open House I'll be doing with some friends. Primarily, I'll have my Pampered Chef, but will add some crafting goods as well.

So, as a way of getting input, I thought I'd post pictures of some of the patterns I have. I'll let you know which pattern company each one is (in case there is some kind of copyright on sharing this info). The first one is a HORSE pattern! Yes, a pattern for a stuffed horse for your doll! I have a riding outfit pattern that is very similar to the one on this package. This is a Vogue pattern.

Another fun pattern is for an apron and outfit for your doll to help you make goodies for the holidays, or any time of year. This would be an IDEAL outfit to have made for a child and her doll. Pattern by Simplicity.

How about a special occasion outfit for your doll and her "Mommy?" Another Simplicity pattern.

How much fun is this? A sleepover set complete with a bag for your little girl to carry her doll or dolls in! This is a McCall's pattern.

These are just a few of the styles I can design for your doll and your darling girl. I can adapt any of these to fit the style you like. I have historical patterns as well as contemporary ones. If your daughter has an outfit she loves and you'd like her doll to match, I can do that. Or, if you want me to create an outfit for your girl and her doll from a style she likes, I can do that, too.

To find any of the patterns I've listed, you can visit these three websites:
McCall Patterns
Simplicity Patterns
Vogue Patterns

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I won a stamp set!

I am just over the top excited! I love doing crafts, as you know, but the budget for buying any materials has to be replenished by what I sell first. Tonight, Gina K. Designs is having a "Release Party" where they show new stamp sets and supplies that are going to be added to their product line tonight. Prior to the Release Party, they have several nights of "Sneak Peeks" where you can see projects made with the new sets. Each night, Gina K., the owner and main stamp designer at Gina K. Designs, gives away free stamp sets. As I was looking through some of the posts she sent tonight, I thought I'd see who the winners were of the different sets. I have already won sets from her in the past (about 1 & 2 years ago), so assumed I wouldn't be picked. Guess what?!!! My post was the random number generator's pick! Woo-hoo!

Here is a link to the blog with this stamp set: Cookie Set

If you know me, you know that I LOVE cookies. At least in my "former life" (pre-Celiac diagnosis) I did. Phil, my husband, and I would much prefer eating freshly baked cookies to pies or cakes. This set is so great for me to use in my Pampered Chef business, too! Hmmm, now I am more determined than ever to make some GOOD chocolate chip Gluten-Free cookies! Until then, I can't wait to make some GOOD cookie cards!

Be sure to check out Gina's entire stamp line. She has some great designs!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

I've noticed that some shopping centers have Christmas lights up already! I am thrilled as I LOVE this time of year. I love sending hand crafted cards with Christmas images. I have typically used images with Jesus birth or relating to that glorious event in cards for the past years, but there are just so many other WONDERFUL images that celebrate all that He has given us to celebrate at Christmastime. I am expanding my horizons on card images, but the heart of making these cards is in celebrating our Lord.

If you are looking for unique creative cards this year, I would love to help you check that off of your wish list!

This card is one we made at a stamp night and I've had 2 friends send me cards similar to this, yet different in their own ways.
This card uses Stampin' Up images, plus those from Lizzie Anne and Studio G. The Baby and the words are in copper.
One of my all time favorites, this card was stamped in a deep green. It has shimmery spray all over it and mounted on gold cardstock. My parents had their 50th anniversary the year I made this card, so I found several ways to use the gold cardstock! My favorite "joy" stamp is at the top of this image.
Snowmen....what could be more fun? Especially for those of us where snow is something we get in a cone, in the summer! The JOY cad is embossed in gold, and the wise men card has a vellum overlay with words embossed in copper.

Look for Christmas gift ideas coming soon!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Phew, my first Sewn Card!

I decided to try my hand at sewing a card. It was quite fun! Well, it was fun once I figured out I needed to loosen the tension as my gold thread kept breaking. I have a very basic machine right now. I can do a straight stitch in 3 lengths, a zigzag in 3 variations, a stretch zigzag, hem stitch, or buttonholes. There are NO bells & whistles, but there is a light and there is a plug, so I'm happy!

I first stamped this image in Black Brilliance ink, then embossed with kaleidoscope embossing powder. It's colored with markers, then glitter added. The leaves and flower on the main image were stamped a 2nd time, cut out, and raised on dimensional squares to give it a 3-D look. The pumpkin on the front bottom is stamped and embossed with gold embossing powder. It is also raised on dimensionals. The inside images were just stamped, then sewn around the edges.

I've listed this one on ebay. If you are still looking for fall/Thanksgiving cards, I have several images waiting to make cards, but will not be listing anymore on ebay. Feel free to contact me to ask for prices and types of cards!

I got the CUTEST Thanksgiving Stamp set today that I do plan to use for cards for my family if I can get them done in time. I'll share those when I get them done.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 31, 2008

First Card order COMPLETED!

I just finished my big 40 card order. I love how they turned out. I normally don't put this much detail into cards, but this is the type card she saw on ebay I was selling. I was so excited to have an order that I gave her a very low price. I will sell cards like this for $2-$3 with the detail in them.

Next week I'll try making some more for fun and show those to you!

Here are the outsides of all the different styles I made, and a few of the insides. I love how the little corner pieces really set off the inside!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Busy making cards!

I have been out of town, but I was busy making cards for my first card order while we were gone. My dear friend Kathy was with us and helped me create layouts for the images I'd stamped. I'll be posting pictures of these when I finish them.

This is a VERY busy week. We (the girls & I) were out of town from Wednesday afternoon til Sunday at 9 pm. We had an unexpected flat tire yesterday that had to be replaced. Thankfully Phil, my husband, had come up for the weekend (we were at his mom's house), so he did the manly job of putting on the spare for me.

That started our week off "behind" from the get go. Tuesday is our homeschool co-op day, Friday is "Hallelujah Day" (just my name for Halloween!) when we send the kids out to beg for candy, and Saturday I have a Pampered Chef booth and will take along cards to sell. At some time amongst those events, I will make a pumpkin outfit for Natalie's Build-a-Bear Bear, not to be confused with her Build a Bear Dog (a beagle named Bagel). If I can get sizes for these critters, I'd like to add these to items I make to sell.

I'll try to pop in with pictures soon of this week's creations. For now, I will share some of the costumes from the past that I've made for the girls. The poodle skirts were made for all the girls in dance class, and my friend Kathy came to my rescue and helped me cut poodles!

And here is the REAL Natalie!

Happy crafting!

Friday, October 17, 2008

What would YOU like to see in Doll Clothes and Papercrafts?

I'm trying to develop ideas for the doll clothes to sell in this new business. Obviously, the little costumes are great for this time of year. But, what else would your daughter, or any little girl you know, like in these type clothes? I can create pj's, contemporary clothes, historical period clothes, princess clothes (that look similar to those worn by animated princesses whose name is probably a copyright so I can't use!), and even horse riding outfits. I've even found a pattern for a horse to fit this size doll!

Would you like to see clothes for girls & dolls to match? Stay tuned, as I am going to bring you a pair of pj's for a doll to match something my own daughter just made for herself! I am so proud of her!

For Papercrafts, would you be more interested in cards, scrapbook pages, gift ideas (such as a set of notecards), or something different? I want to create things that people really want. I could make 100 Talk Like a Pirate Day cards, but I suspect no one would want those! ARGH! tee-hee!

PLEASE leave feedback for me! Thanks!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Cards

I've sold some fall cards and had an order for more like this. I am in the process of creating more and will post those when I get them finished.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some of my cards

The other "half" of my crafting involves paper. Lots of paper! I love paper. I can remember making paper chains as a little girl to hang on the Christmas tree. I was always challenged to try to cut out paper dolls without them falling apart. I loved to do snowflakes, and again, I had to remember which way to fold to keep it from being snow drops! My biggest love in paper is putting a rubber stamp into an ink pad, then pressing it onto a piece of cardstock. Voila! The concept is so simple. Each time I print the same image several times, I think, "This is so cool!" I wonder if Gutenberg thought that when he invented the printing press in the 1400's. Though, even 600 years ago, I believe the printing press is more advanced than what I do with a single stamp!

Here are some samples of cards I've made over the years. I'm working on a slew of fall/Thanksgiving cards. I have already received an order to make 40 cards! When I finish these, I'll get to work on Christmas cards. Hope you enjoy some of these samples!

With the exception of the chef card, the images are all from Stampin' Up. The chef is from Stamping Bella.

Pumpkin Outfit for 18" Doll

This is the first outfit I've made for an 18" doll. This outfit fits the American Girl Doll and other 18" dolls. It includes tights, a shirt, the Pumpkin top, boots, and hat. I can also make this without the Jack O'Lantern face if you prefer just a pumpkin.

I'm Gettin' Crafty!

I've decided to take the plunge & start a SECOND blog for my crafts. I've decided that we need additional income that can be done from home, in addition to my Pampered Chef business. With my unpredictable health and homeschooling two very active girls with special needs (my full-time job), My "alone time" when I can work is often at strange hours when I can't be calling my Pampered Chef customers or cooking for people. I am STILL a Pampered Chef consultant. That is my first part-time job and WAY more lucrative than selling crafts. Did you know you can make about $100 for 3-4 hours of work involving a bunch of friends laughing and eating and shopping----and it's LEGAL??? LOL! If you want to know more about THAT, I'm more than happy to fill you in.

My NEW 2nd part-time job is selling my crafts! In this blog, I'll share some of the pieces I am selling, and also just some that I'm making for fun or to encourage people. I have two main areas of items to show you: Papercrafts (primarily cards, though I WANT to scrapbook!) and Sewn items, starting with clothes for 18" dolls (such as American Girl, Life of Faith and Springfield, none of which I am affiliated with). The girls are old enough to help cut out patterns and are helping me design items and choose which ones to make first.

I'll post in my 2nd ever post the first doll outfit I've created!