One Thing Leads to Ten

I started out just wanting to make a 3-dimensional family tree.  I had the stamp set from Martha Stewart.  I should have dropped the 3-dimensional part and I would have been fine, but nooooo, I couldn’t do that.  I had already had the idea.  I ordered some dies for my Big Shot thinking that will give me a nice flat cut on my name plates.  And it will.  Problem being the shape of one of the dies doesn’t fit the shape of the stamp in the kit.  Problem Number 1, uh-oh.  I still want the two line trim on the name tag, but I want to use my die.  Problem Number 2:  The circle dies are either too big or two small for the circle stamp.  I am beginning to feel like Goldilocks here.

So, I just spent an hour or more in Hobby Lobby, my one-stop shopping resource, and I think I have the solution.  At least a solution.  The very best solution would have been to buy a printer that takes card stock and printed my name tags and a Silhouette machine that would cut out my name tags exactly like I want them, but we’re talking close to $500 here and I am not going to spend that on a possible one time project.

I’m walking the aisles at Hobby Lobby with my problems well in hand and I come up with these solutions.  My first solution was the Martha Stewart circle cutter that will cut just about any size circle you want.  Then I spied a printing “kit” for a compression machine like my Big Shot.  That was nearly $70.  I don’t want to pay that for something I’m not sure will work with what I have so I begin to assemble what I will need to make my machine do the same thing.  Basically, what I’m going to do is my own offset printing.  And print just like Benjamin Franklin did.  I purchased a tube of ink, an ink brayer and a block of lino which I could use for printing, but I’m going to use to spread my ink on.  I already own a sheet of plastic which I can cut with an X-acto knife to make my printing surface.  And I will use tacky spray to attach that to one of my own plates.   Then roll the ink on top of the plastic surface, put the card stock on top of that and roll the whole thing through my Big Shot offset printing my borders on my card stock.  Then I will use my die to cut them out.  Voila’.  At least in theory it will work.

Supplies for 3-D Family Tree

MIA

I’ve been missing in action these past few days; or has it been a week or more?  I’ve had several things I absolutely had to do for my mother.  She is 90.  This can only get more intensive as time goes on.  We are in the process of getting her affairs in order so if anything happens I can step in and help her.  Not something I ever thought I would do, but it seems to be something a lot of my friends are doing right along with me.  This week we handled the Power of Attorney that will allow me to act as her agent.  I have to say it wasn’t one bit fun and I feel very odd taking the reins from my very independent mother.  If you ever speak with a lawyer in this situation you will find out this is a must have.  And if you don’t have one and something does happen, you are up the proverbial creek without a paddle.  I would hate for someone else to be making decisions for my mother.

However, there was a bright spot today.  I am working on my 3-dimensional family tree and my dies came today.  So, very soon I will be able to get back to playing with my “toys.”  I have the Sizzix Big Shot that I bought quite some time ago and hardly ever use because I’m not a scrape book person.  But it is going to help me tremendously to put together these trees for my family.  My plan is to make them with the names of my daughters and their husbands as the trunk of the tree.  Take it up three generations because that’s a lot of people right there.  30 people already on the tree.  Then I will add their children in color appropriate little birds at the base of the tree.

The fun thing is I’ve had to collect most of the ancestry myself because they don’t have any idea who their great-grandmothers were.  And that has been a lot of fun for me.  I love finding all the pictures and stories that appear on Ancestry.com.  I just love those little peeks into the lives of our ancestors.  Because one of my sons-in-law has a yet to be proved, but highly suspected, Cherokee woman in his tree I want to make special note of her by adding a feather onto her little card.  Of course, I will make sure she really is Cherokee before I do that.  Dawes Rolls, here I come!

This is a labor of love for me.  In this age of email and Facebook and digital photos, it is very important to me that we preserve our own family history.  I told my daughters that I am hoping they will cherish these trees and place them in a display of family pictures.  If I can find pictures of their grandparents beyond what I already have, I may copy those for them.  I’ve seen ancestry walls in other people’s homes and they are so fascinating.  I love to see if I can find a family resemblance among the prints.

Family Tree Stamp Set

Yesterday while I was wandering around Hobby Lobby looking for stickers and the like to decorate eggs with I stumbled across a stamp kit from Martha Stewart that  lets you create your own family tree.  I snatched it up!  How fun this will be to create a framed family tree  for each of my children.  The great thing is I can make the tree as big or as small as I want with the stamps.

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The kit has the base of the tree, a forking branch and two other shapes for branches, two different leaves and two different name plaques.

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I thought I would sit down with a piece of paper and write out the part of my family tree I want to include and then sketch out how I will do it before I begin.  Then I will make a trial run on paper and after I am sure I have what I want, I’ll do a permanent one on something sturdy enough to be mounted in a frame.  I thought it would be the best to keep it rather small so the tree could be placed in a grouping of family photos.  Since I happen to have been working on the books for the grandkids, I can use their own family tree adding in their fathers’ lines.  How cute would that be in a hall or somewhere?

Vinegar and Food Coloring

Easter EggsLast year sometime I saw an article on Pinterest about using dyes that are natural.  I loved the muted colors.  Here is a link to the blogger that posted the idea first.  Natural Dyed Eggs.  But the whole thing got me thinking, why does that work and can I expand on that idea.

It works because of the vinegar.  (Yes, I didn’t know all this.  I had to research it.)  The acid of the vinegar works on the base of the egg. If you’ve ever done the “rubber egg” experiment you have seen the end result of leaving an egg in an acid.  The vinegar makes it possible for the color of the dye to enter the shell of the egg and tint it.  That being said the last time my husband made beets I found myself looking at the juice wishing I had a boiled egg to try and dye just to see what happened.

Which brings me to my next problem.  How do I convince my husband to blow out his egg in the morning instead of cracking it.  How fun would it be to have all those egg shells around every time a good color came up in the juice of something and use the juice to dye the egg shell.  I might turn into a formidable rival for the Easter Bunny.

The other thing is, why are we buying all these little “kits” to dye eggs with?  I know my children always got so excited when they appeared in the grocery store aisles because that meant Easter was on the way.  But you don’t have to buy them.  You can use food coloring (the little liquid kind) that you probably already have and vinegar and accomplish the same thing AND mix the colors until you get your own unique colors for your eggs.  All you have to do is get your cups, one for each color.  Put in your water.  Enough to cover the egg, but not spill out of the cup.  Add a tablespoon and a half of vinegar.  And then add drops of food coloring.

Since I’ve just taken all the joy out of it for the children because they didn’t get to buy the little kits.  Try loading up on some stickers with shapes to put on the eggs.  Then dye them.  Then pull off the stickers and see what you have.

There are tons and tons of ideas on egg dying so I will be devoting several blogs this coming month to the different things you can try.  For now I’m going to go research the very best way to blow out eggs and start collecting them.  No need in having to do this again and again every year.  What if I come up with some real masterpieces?  I certainly want to keep those.

It’s Curtains

I’ve been making curtains for our dining room and living room.  They are just panels hung by clips since I don’t think the grommet look is appropriate for our living and dining room.  You would think that wouldn’t be that hard.  Just a matter of measuring, cutting, measuring, pressing the edges under, sewing and hanging.  Ah, not so.  Not with me anyway.  The first panel I made was a disaster, but it is hanging in there right now because I simply can’t back up again.  I would have to order more material and we all know what a mess that is.

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But I can tell you the easiest way to make panel curtains now.  It just requires a big space to lay out your curtain.  And maybe I can help you avoid the mistakes I made.  I cut my panels.  I had to join two panels together which I did first.  Then I turned under and hemmed my bottom hem.  I then pressed under all the other edges including the header and pinned them down.  I then made my liner.  Once I had the liner made I laid the curtain down on the floor flat (that’s the trick) and laid my liner on top of it, flat.  Then I repinned all my edges except the hem which was already sewn, tucking the lining in under the edges.  I then sewed all the edges down.  This makes the most beautiful panels.  They hang beautifully.

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I used what is called a trouser puddle.  It is just a break in the hang of the curtain like the break that occurs on properly hemmed trousers.  We plan to replace our carpet with wood floors someday which means there may be a difference in the length from the rod to the floor.  But the other reason I have fallen on my knees and praised God that I chose to do this is it hides any discrepancies there may be in the hem length.  At this point I would say definitely puddle.

P.S. See that ironing board and iron?  Well, let me tell you, be sure you use the appropriate setting on your iron while you are pressing your curtain material.  These are raw silk curtains and I had the iron set too high on the first panel. (I was simply amazed at how well it held the crease.)  The iron shrunk the material, eee-gads!  Had I not puddled I would really have had to start over.

You’ve Got Mail

The notifications are coming in.  I’m going to be receiving a few packages really soon.  My edible art Valentine cookie transfers should be here any day.  Pictures will follow.  Yesterday I got notification that material I’ve ordered to make draperies for the living room and dining room has been shipped.  One catch, they’ve only shipped the lining.  That creates stress in no uncertain terms.  I don’t really need 19 yards of lining if I’m not going to get the curtain material too.  I did check the site and they said my order was “being processed.”  I hope that means they’re cutting and packaging the curtain material.

Motivated by an upcoming shower at our house I am taking on a glacial remodel of the front room which combines our living room and dining room.  You see this is my second marriage and this is my husband’s house and he will be the first to tell you he is no decorator.  And he’s right about that!  As a matter of fact, left to his own devices, he would have a hanging florescent light with a folding table and chair and call it good.  While I, in the meantime, am consulting my color wheel, getting samples and plotting a dramatic revitalization of a dated room.

We have a little dance we do when I get the remodel bug because he really doesn’t want to let go of his control, but he recognizes he doesn’t know anything about decorating.  His idea of color is white, white and another shade of white.  So, I take it slow and try not to announce the more shocking aspects of my plans.  Like the fact that someday I want to completely re-face the fireplace or a little touch of orange would really pop with the blue and brown base colors in the front room.

Today, though, I have to devote to getting the oil changed in my car and returning my samples to Joann’s.  Maybe I’ll have some surprises when I get home.