Friday, January 13, 2017

2016 Christmas Gifts

My Christmas Gift post from last year was so popular, that I figure I better share the awesomeness that I received this year as well.

My main big-ticket item was a sewing machine!
This Singer Heavy Duty Sewing Machine that will replace my old machine that had some bobbin issues neither Pat nor I could figure out how to fix. It was an issue that rendered the machine useless unfortunately and made it hard for me to learn to sew better. I'm looking forward to creating lots with it and have already started. I'll be sharing something soon I hope!

Pat also gifted me these bracelet bending pliers.
They make it easier to bend metal pieces into a curve to fit wrists better. Clever, right?

In addition, the big surprise was this Wanderlust 2017 membership from Everything Art.
It's a year-long mixed media art class membership. I'm smitten with it so far, and there's only been one class! Hopefully, I'll share some of my creations before too long. We'll see. I love this gift as it's one that will keep giving all year long!

Finally, my mom got me a bit teary-eyed with her gift.
Check out the Victrola Turntable and albums. The sentimental part of it was the records. She gave me a selection of nine of my most favorite albums from the collection I grew up listening to. As an added bonus, I had free access to the rest of her collection to pull out some other best-loved ones. I was listening to them before we ever left her house!

So that was my Christmas. How about you? Get anything good?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Renovations Part 2

It's been nearly a month since the renovations started at our house. The contractor's done (for the most part -- there's still an electrical issue to be handled), and the rest is up to us. I guess it's time for an update.

Here's how it looked in the last post.

From there, they took out the rest of the paneling in the living room and half of the studs.
From the kitchen/sunroom - Please notice the color of the ceiling here in the kitchen. It will come in to play in a later update!
From my spot on the couch

After that, there was an awkward temporary wall phase with plastic sheeting that was difficult to photograph. As such, I somehow have no pictures of it. However, here's what came next.
Wow! The headers are up but exposed. You can really see the difference and impact we wanted.

They finished covering the headers just before Christmas. In the chaos of the holiday, I didn't get a photo with the cleared room. So here it is with all our post-Christmas debris. Pardon the mess!

In the rush to get pictures taken and work started, I completely failed to mention the doorway we also had closed in. Even in scrolling though my initial tour of the house and the one year later post, it's not shown. However, if you watch the video tour of our new home, you can see it around the 4:30 mark. In any case, with opening up the kitchen - the doorway would have been a useless and a waste of space.
That new wall, drywall patchiness area was once a doorway.
Here's the best visual I could create for you in a pinch.
I know. . . I totally rock the graphics. Ha!
After all the wall-taking-down-and-filling-in was complete, we were left with a large, open kitchen and dining room area with two different floors and paint jobs. Pat started with the floors.

Over the course of a few days and a few new tools, he removed all the ceramic and terra cotta tiles.

He even cleaned up the mess on the floor. I took care of the sweeping, mopping, and dusting after it was done. Teamwork yo!

Here's the pile of flooring from the kitchen, dining room, and hallway (had to be done too) piled up in the back yard.
We'll find some way to re-use these tiles later in a mosaic project or something like that.
So, this is where we stand now . . . no flooring. The next step is painting the walls and ceilings. We've actually already started on those, but I'll share that transformation in another post.

It's such a relief to have such a wide open space. We've got all kinds of plans from here other than the paint and flooring. There are bookshelves and an island to be built and installed.

Oh, and then there's the new corner that was created by filling in that door.
Those cabinets stacked up in the corner were some of the old ones along the wall that was removed. 
 Look at all that space! I'm hoping to either use the old cabinets or get some new ones and have a little more counter space. We considered putting in a pantry there, but I think it might be awkward. We're still in talks and negotiations over if we'll move the fridge or what other options we might have. If you've got any ideas or suggestions - bring it!!

I'm ecstatic over the progress and happy that we're moving forward so quickly. Hopefully, it won't be another month before you get another update.

What do you think so far?

Monday, January 9, 2017

More CraftyHope Straight to your Inbox

If you came directly to my page, you may have noticed something a little new. It should have been a popup signup for a newsletter.

If you didn't get or ignored the popup, there's a new signup form to the right -> -> -> ->

Or you can use this handy-dandy one

I thought a newsletter/mailing-list might be a great way to send out updates on blog posts you may have missed, what's new in the etsy shop, any sales/coupon codes that are available, or any other little thing I think you might be interested in.

I'm just going to try this out and see how it goes. The first newsletter should be out in a week or so and will likely be including a coupon code. So please sign-up and join me on this new venture!

And, I'm looking for tips as well. What's the most valuable thing you find in newsletters like this?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Easy Button Bangle DIY

Making jewelry doesn't have to be hard or intricate. Having a fun accessory can be as easy as wrapping some buttons on a bangle.
jewelry making for beginners

I'm a sucker for using what I have. If you made a resolution over the last few days to not spend any money, use what you have, and be good to the environment; this simple project is perfect for keeping those goals.

Making these bangles takes only some buttons (with holes), wire, and a bangle. Most crafters should have the buttons and wire on hand, and old bangles are easy to find at thrift stores. 
Wire cutters and flat nose pliers help the process. However, with this thin of a gauge of wire, sturdy scissors should cut just as well. And, the pliers could be supplemented with firm pressing of a fingernail (and care not to poke oneself). Also note, that we're using holed buttons for this bangle, NOT shank buttons (ones with a loop on the back). Those just don't work the same.

Start by wrapping a small section of one end of the wire tightly around the bangle. Secure the end by pressing it flat against the bangle.

Insert the free end of the wire into the back of one of the button's holes and pull the button flush against the bangle. Push the wire end into the hole diagonally across from your starter hole. Pull the wire tight toward the bangle. 

Wrap the wire around the bangle, and insert it into the hole on the other side. If you are using a 2-hole button, simply insert the wire into your starter hole. Pull tight. 

The wire should be coming out the top of the button now. For a 4-hole button, insert the wire end into the open hole. For a 2-hole button, simply pull it through the other hole. 
You should have formed an X on a 4-hole button or . . .

a double slash on a 2-hole button.

Your wire should be coming out the back of the button, toward the bangle. Wrap the wire around the bangle several times. This will help secure the button and add some space for the next button on your bangle. 

Repeat the above steps, making sure as you add each new button that it's sitting next to the previous one and not on top of it. (Unless that's the look you're going for).

Continue adding buttons until you cannot add any more. 

Wrap the wire around the bangle several times next to your final button.

To finish, weave the wire around the bangle, in between the buttons for several buttons.

Trim and secure the end of the wire.

And, that's it. Now you have a beautiful button bracelet!

I actually made the one in the title image at the top as part of a video so you can watch the process for yourself if that works better for you. As well as these basic instructions, the video includes information on what to do if you run out of wire and how to fix it if there's too much space between the buttons when you finish. 

These bangles are quick and easy to make once you get used to the process. They're so easy, you'll have an armful made in no time. . . and one for every outfit. Enjoy!

Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions about the process. I'm happy to help.

I linked this post up at Coastal Charm's Show and Share & The SITS Girls' Recipe and DIY Linky.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Aim for 2017

It's an all new year!

I’ve tried to give some thought to this new year and what I want from it. While 2016’s goals and tasks and word weren’t really all that lofty, I still fell behind a little more each week and ended up feeling overwhelmed. 

For this coming year, I want to be a little more conservative. I’m going to try to make time in each day for 15 minutes of art and 15 minutes of exercise. That's it. There’s plenty more I could aim for, but if I can nail these two down I’d like to think that the rest will follow. It’s my year for Pete's sake. I can even change these and set brand new goals at any time. Any. Time. It doesn’t have to be a new year to have new aspirations. Life’s already complicated enough. I need more simple.

So, that’s my start. What are your plans for 2017?

I linked this post on the 2017 One Word Blog Hop at Create with Joy

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top 16 Posts of 2016

My feedreader is flush with end-of-the-year roundups. 
Not to be left behind, here are my top 16 posts of 2016.

I shared how we took an oversized wall unit that was just left in the house and transformed it into a TV stand that's much more our style.

I'm still not sure why what I received for Christmas was so interesting, but rest assured that I'll be sharing some of my gifts from this Christmas before too long.

With only supplies bought at the Dollar Tree, I challenged myself to alter a playing card.

Since I do love my gelli plate so much, I shared some of my prints, info about the plate, and a link to a video I made in this one post.

I'm tickled that y'all are enjoying our progress on the house. The next post or two will be doozies!

I do love making something from nothing. This post really just showed some of the components I had pulled out on my desk to try to alter.

I made these magnets for my booth, but had to share because I knew they were perfect for many other uses as well. 

More changes have been going on at the house, and I just had to share. There are more pictures and more changes to come in 2017. You just wait!

Pat and I worked together to make this game-centered gift for his mom for Christmas. He made the frame, and I figured out how to work out all the letters scrabble-style. It was a fun project and well received.

There was a bit of attention given to this post that showed off what became of the junk from the desk the week before (#6 on this list). I'm pretty pleased with what became of it myself. I also shared some of the craft supplies I purchased with birthday money (hence the title). 

Cute animals always draw a bit of attention, and this post was no exception. Of course, not all the critters are what everyone would consider cute as I do show some of the snakes, frogs, lizards, and bugs we found on the property.

Taking another step toward homesteading, we finally got our garden started. Pat built the raised beds, and we worked together to get the seeds planted. I'll be sharing the progress of the plants very soon!

With Pat's help, an old rake head, a leftover door panel, and some bottles were upcycled and used to add a little more interest in my jewelry booth at the antique store.

Using a pack of erasers from the Dollar Tree, I created a set of positive and negative stamps for Valentine's Day. This post walks you through my process. 

With the reveal of ZnetShows' latest issue of the online magazine, Creative Spark; I shared the several pieces I contributed to the issue.

In May, I participated in a fun art retreat with other mixed media artists. It was an exceptionally inspiring weekend, and I learned so very much about myself and creating. 

So, those were the sixteen most popular posts of the past year. Which was your favorite?

There's plenty more to come in 2017. 
I hope 2016 treated you well, and wish you ALL THE BEST for 2017!!