Saturday, December 11, 2010

Easy Christmas craft

You will need

- clear glass or plastic ornaments
- acrylic paints in at least two colors
- narrow ribbon for hanging ornaments
- small paper cups, the 3 oz. bathroom cups are the perfect size, but you can use other sizes
- paper towels or cleaning rags for wiping messy fingers and paint spills
- vinegar

The day before you want to make the ornaments,
- take the tops of the ornaments, store where they won't get lost
- mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a measuring cup or pitcher, something with a pour spout

Rinse the inside of each ornament with the vinegar-water mix, then rinse with plain water. Turn upside to drain, let dry.

To make an ornament:
Start with a rinsed, dry ornament. (It's ok if a few drops of water remain, as long as it's not enough to be able to pour out.)
Choose your first paint color. Squirt paint into the ornament, letting it run down the inside of the ornament. Repeat with your second paint color, and all remaining colors you wish to use in this ornament.

Rotate the ornament so the paint covers the entire inside surface of the ornament.

Turn the ornament upside down and let rest on the top of a paper cup, so the paint inside the ornament can drain out.

After a couple of hours, turn the ornament right side up to finish drying. Keep the paper cup with the drained paint in it handy.

After another hour or so, put the top back on the ornament and add a ribbon for hanging. You now have a one-of-a-kind ornament to keep or give as a gift.

If you like, you may use the paint that drained into the paper cup to make another ornament. Just pour the paint from the paper cup into another ornament. Rotate the new ornament so the paint covers the interior, turn upside down on a paper cup to drain, just like you did the first one. This ornament will have the same colors as the first, but the markings will be much more subtle.

I'll post photos later today, maybe video, too.

I found the original instructions for these ornaments in a craft magazine in the mid- to late-90's. Unfortunately, I don't remember which magazine and I no longer have it, so I can't credit the right source. Oh, well.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What happened to 2010?

My last post (Good heavens!) was titled "What happened to 2009?" and was made in January. Now I'm asking, "What happened to 2010?"

Let's see:
March - broken arm
May - cast comes off
June - early December - physical therapy

So, that's what happened to 2010.

In between, there's been quite a bit of crafting. I found that tatting was very good physical therapy, and much more interesting and enjoyable than the exercises I was supposed to be doing. :-)

I've started selling at the McKinney Farmer's Market (3rd Sat of Nov, Dec, Jan, and Feb, weekly Mar 19 - end of October).

I've added polymer clay and air-dry clay beads to my repertoire. Polymer clay is a little stiffer than gum paste, otherwise, the techniques are quite similar. I do have to keep the cats out of the room when I'm working with polymer clay - they always want to see what I'm doing and I don't want them getting clay in their fur.

I donated five floral arrangements to the Heritage Guild of Collin County for use in the Johnson House during the 37th Annual Tour of Holiday Homes - can't wait to see the Johnson House with its Victorian doll collection and my floral arrangements. I'll also be selling my wares at the Holiday Bazaar during Tour hours. It's this weekend (Dec 4,5), so it's a big weekend coming up. The photo is of my favorite arrangement of the five.

TIme to get busy. I still have to work today at my real job.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What happened to 2009? It's definitely time for an update.

I knew it had been a while since I had last posted anything - I didn't realize it was over six months ago! How time flies.

The latest news is that sales are picking up, I have a new sign (no photo, yet), and I'm applying to the big show the last weekend of March in Plano, TX. This is a huge step for me - I hope I'm accepted. I wanted to get a few more merchandise photos on-line, so here they are: caps, rosaries, necklace sets, floral arrangements.

I really need to get better photos of the hand-painted wooden bead necklace and earrings. Apparently, I can do a decent job of painting small things, just nothing very large. Anyway, one day last fall, I decided to paint a coneflower with a butterfly sitting on it on a 20 (16?) mm bead. Of course, the future necklace had to have earrings, so I painted a pair of 10 (8?) mm beads for earrings.

Alan gave me a light tent for Christmas, so I don't have that excuse for not taking pictures. I just need to do it!

Friday, July 31, 2009

What's new at Donna's Crafty Creations? Handmade jewelry from the Dominican Republic

Wow! What an opportunity a chance meeting with an old friend has created.

Several months ago, I ran into an old friend at a local fast food restaurant. We chatted about what each of us had been doing and the subject of Donna's Crafty Creations came up. As I described the handcrafted merchandise I sell, I could see the wheels turning in my friend's mind. When he spoke, he said something like this:

There's this lady at my church who works with women in the Dominican Republic (DR). She taught them how to make beads from paper, magazine photos, boxes, etc, and now sells the jewelry they make from the beads. All the proceeds go back to the women in the DR, giving them a little extra money they can use to buy more food, medicine, or whatever else they need. She's been talking about trying to sell the jewelry at Trade Days, what do you think? Do you think she could?

We talked some more, I gave him my card, and he said he'd pass my info along to her. Fast forward to July 2009. I met with Lois the evening of July 30. We talked about the possibility of adding the paper bead jewelry to my product line. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to help, so, starting with August Trade Days, there will be one more product opportunity for my customers - jewelry made in the Dominican Republic from paper. She also has bracelets made from soda cans and clothespin springs. All quite nice. Look for them in my booth in August.

July Trade Days

Can you spell "hot"? "Friday, July 17" is one way to spell it. The heat and humidity were brutal. (I've been in worse heat and humidity one time, the last weekend in June, 2009.) It was hot!

In spite of the heat, though, there were a lot of shoppers out on Friday, far more than usual. Not a lot of buyers in the "old" section, just shoppers. I had my ice chest full of ice and cold drinks, a one gallon cooler full of ice, cold water, and inexpensive wash cloths, and what my sister calls my "fan club" - my collection of battery-powered and A/C powered fans - to keep the air moving in my booth. This time of year I'm very thankful to have one of the few south-facing booths at Trade Days. The sun only hits the roof directly late in the afternoon, unlike the west facing booths that get sun on their roofs in the morning, the east facing booths that get hit with afternoon sun, and the few north facing booths that have sun on their roofs all day. I'll take any break I can get when it comes to summer heat.

Saturday didn't feel as hot, although my clock/thermometer said it reached the same high temperature. Sunday afternoon, around 3:30, a storm blew through. A lot of vendors packed up, in preparation for leaving. I did pack up my tabletop flower arrangements, since they're not meant to withstand high winds, but I made sure they were still available for prospective customers to view. For a little while after the rain moved through, it was cooler, but then the humidity crept back in and raised the heat index back to almost where it had been before the rains hit.

I sold a few flower arrangements, a few pieces of jewelry, and made a few pairs of custom earrings. The customer who had special ordered a red and white potholder was delighted to pick it up. All in all, a "normal" weekend for me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pirate Ship Cake from Wilton's 2010 Yearbook Preview Demo

Well, when the 2010 Yearbook came out, and I found out we were supposed to create the cover cake for our July demo, I asked my Course 1 students what they thought of the cake. They thought it was too intimidating, so I decided to do something else - not a cake - for the demo.

Our store manager has been getting a lot of questions about fondant, though, and I've been wanting to do a fondant demo, so cupcakes just didn't seem like the right way to go. I'd decide to do the pirate ship, then I'd think, "Intimidating". Then I'd decide to do cupcakes. Back and forth I'd go. Finally, the morning of the demo dawned and I had to make a decision. By then, I'd looked again at the cover photo and decided it didn't look that bad at all. So, I baked a 9x13 cake (I'm too cheap to buy a special pan if I'm probably not going to use it much), cut a diamond-shaped chunk out of the middle, and cut cylinders for pirate bodies out of the leftovers.

I colored some fondant light blue for the ocean (a fondant-covered cake board), colored some gum paste light blue for the waves - the color match between the two media was pretty good - cut out sails from white gum paste and waves from the blue gum paste. My car was full of "cake stuff" when I pulled out of the driveway to go to Michaels.

Several people stopped to watch me work on the cake. One young lady really got into the fantasy of the pirate ship, wanting to know where one pirate's arms and hands were (I hadn't made them yet), how the pirates would get belowdecks, why one pirate looked like he was drawing back one arm to slug somebody, .... She was delightful to interact with.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June Third Monday Trade Days

I got off to a late start setting up on Thursday - there were a few odds and ends from my "real" job that had to be polished off. Wednesday night, we had been under a tornado warning (no tornado actually hit McKinney), and I wasn't quite sure what I'd find at my booth. I'd left three tubs of hardware, lights, and fans, on my space, and was pretty sure they were heavy enough to withstand any storm winds, so I didn't check on my space Wednesday night. I ordinarily hang the wind curtains around my space Wednesday evening, but I didn't do that this time.

Thursday morning, when I arrived at my space, the crew that puts up my canopy was there. We had had so much rain that my canopy had collapsed. In fact, seven canopies collapsed in the storm, mine was the last one they had to put back up. I was very glad I hadn't put the wind curtains up, as that would have made even more of a mess for the canopy crew to sort through. I was doubly glad that I hadn't put shelves and merchandise out yet, too.

Friday's weather was threatening, but it really didn't produce much in the way of bad weather. There were quite a few people around, for a Friday. Saturday morning the weather was much nicer, but it was the beginning of a very hot, miserable day. Granted, my alarm clock/thermometer isn't an official weather station, but the thermometer registered 102 F Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was horribly humid and turned into a miserable day. Thank goodness for ice chests and wet towels. I'm sure I looked lovely with a wet towel wrapped around my neck, but I didn't get overheated.

Sunday afternoon, I noticed the blue vinyl tablecloth on my worktable/desk/office table was turning white. I didn't think anything about it until I noticed I had two blue forearms and elbows. It didn't take long for me to put two and two together and figure out that the sunscreen I use softened the vinyl so it transferred from the tablecloth to anything that touched it. I've finally managed to scrub off the last of the blue vinyl from my arms and elbows and I think I've gotten all of it off my nice white laptop.

I took several special orders from Trade Days again this month. Those will help fill the coffers.

I added several "chunky" necklaces this month and some adorable ice cream sundae earrings. I need to get those photographed, and the photos posted, too.