Peek at My Week (Dec. 22-28)

Before the New Year begins tonight, I knew I needed to finish up some business by sharing my weekly peek. These usually go up on Sunday, but I've been so busy just trying to get things done around the house that I neglected taking care of things online. Balance! Perhaps that will be a guiding force for the year to come. Thunking on my goals for 2020 is one of my tasks for today. Anyway, as for the week that was...

On Sunday, Pat, my niece, and I went and saw the new Star Wars movie. I bawled knowing that this piece of my childhood was coming to an end. And, then I tripped in the parking lot and skinned up my knee - which is how I spent most of my childhood too.

Monday was all about getting the house ready for Christmas and doing my shopping. The store was a MADHOUSE! But, back at home, I found a little quiet time to fit in a few minutes of art as I caught up on the Advent activities from Everything Art.

I finished up the last of the Advent prompts on Tuesday before leaving the house for the day.

I then spent the rest of Christmas Eve at my mom's helping her get ready for Christmas. It was mostly about getting our traditional seafood gumbo made.
I helped her chop the trinity that is celery, onions, and bell pepper which starts the gumbo.

Like a kid, I was up before the sun on Christmas Morning. I just can't help myself!
After Pat and I had breakfast and opened presents (apparently, I was very VERY good this year since I got a new DSLR camera and loads of accessories), we headed to my mom's to share Christmas with them.

Of course, we chowed on several bowls of gumbo.

The next day, we enjoyed Christmas with Pat's family (and more gumbo!) before he had to head to band practice. Zoe and I hung out on the couch while she played with the new large tennis ball Pat's brother sent home for her.

On Friday, I worked a little on getting the house back in order and baking a batch of my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for a party that night at a friend's house. We had a great time, and the cookies were a hit.

On Saturday, Pat had a band gig that took him out of the house almost all day. I ran up to the craft store for a few things and picked up materials in the parking lot too. 
I spent the rest of the evening happily playing with my new supplies (the ones I bought, I'm still thinking about the ones above) and watching Downton Abbey. And, that's how I finished the week. 

Let's head into the new year with some inspiration:

  • Here's another Paper Rosette tutorial - this one from The Graphics Fairy. I'm going to have to make sure to create some for the tree next year, they always seem to catch my attention. 
  • This is Wire Angel Tutorial would have been great for Christmas but could work for any time of the year really. 
  • I love me some rainbows and pops of color, so this Rainbow Embassy house created by one artist caught my eye in a big way. 
  • The girls at A Beautiful Mess created some seriously cute String Art Ornaments and walk you through how to create your own. 
  • Over at Mad in Crafts, Jessica has shared a "She's Crafty" SVG file along with links to other super awesome crafty files you can download. 
  • These DIY Rustic Stars could be used any time of the year really!
  • If embroidering more is in your plans for the new year, this list of 15 Ways to Embroider Leaves from Sew Guide is a perfect place to start.
  • A wildlife photographer has captured Nature's Magical Moments, and they're too cute not to share. 
  • Speaking of magic, Dover Publications shared a few Fairy Coloring Pages that you can download and print out for some meditative art in the new year. 
Okay, I'm off to knock some things off the list to finish out this year and prepare for the next. What are your plans and goals for 2020? 
Have a safe and joyous New Year's Eve!!

Handmade Christmas | Art Elements Dec. Theme

When I saw that the December theme for the Art Elements monthly challenge was Handmade Christmas, it barely took split second for me to decide to sign up for the blog hop. I knew that I would likely handmake at least a few items for the holidays and that this challenge might even push me to make a few more than I had anticipated. I was right!

From the start, I knew that I was going to make some cookies for a Christmas party early in the month as I been assigned dessert for the Pot Luck gathering. I'd long wanted to make Chocolate Crackle Cookies as I just love anything with a touch of crackle to it. 
They were a bit more time-consuming than I had realized, but they were AMAZING and beautiful!

After that, I started working on a few gifts for the season. Unfortunately, I can't share them all with you because some of them haven't reached their recipients yet. But, I did create this jellyfish assemblage piece for my husband.
I'm sorry this picture's not so great - and it's not even of the actual finished piece because I was anxious to get it wrapped before he discovered it. This was before the chains and bubbles were glued down, but gives you an idea of what the final product was. And, it's already been taken up to Pat's recording studio. The studio's called Jellyfish Studios so that's why I made the piece for him.

I also worked on ornaments for our Christmas Tree. It's been years since we had a tree in the house for one reason or another. Once we got the tree up, I realized how lacking I was in handmade ornaments. Some inspiration that my brother-in-law shared with me had me pulling out the buttons. 

I made a little forest of Button Christmas Tree Ornaments.
They came together so quickly!

I wanted to make several other ornament styles but stayed too busy to make more than one that came to me while I was wrapping presents. It's actually one I've made before and also super simple.
It's a little jingle bell wreath that I used to accent a gift. 

The materials needed are minimal.
I bought the packages of jingle bells at the dollar store last year and found them while I was pulling things out this year. The wire is just some cheap floral wire, and I used basic wire cutters with it.

The steps are as simple as cutting the wire to a manageable length (about 12 inches) and stringing on the bells in whatever pattern you want. The bells have little loops on the top of them.

Once the ornament is as big as you want it, cross the ends of the wire and twist them to secure the bells.

From there, pull the wire together and wrap it around your finger to make a loop, then quickly create a wrapped loop to finish the wire before clipping off any excess.

From there, you can add a ribbon or an ornament hook so it can be hung from your tree.
If you make it large enough, it could even work as a bracelet, but you might want to use a piece of stretchy cord instead. 

My final handmade Christmas contribution was helping my mom make gumbo on Christmas Eve for our Christmas Day dinner.
Living on the Alabama Gulf Coast means we are fortunate to have local seafood freshly available most of the year. But, it's especially nice to enjoy it on Christmas. 

And, that was about it for my holiday creations. I hate that I didn't get more made, but I was able to take some time to enjoy the season. I hope you were too. Make sure to hop through the list of other creative contributors as I'm sure that they have created some beautiful holiday wares. (If I don't have the list up yet, head over to Art Elements where you should be able to find it.)

Art Elements team: LindsayJennySueKarenClaireNikyCathy

Guests: SarajoKathyMaryHope (that's me!), TammyEvie and BethDivyaMerjaSarah

I hope you've had a wonderfully creative holiday season! 

Peek at My Week (Dec. 15-21)

I'm pretty pleased with how this past week went. If felt productive, though it probably wasn't. 

We started the week with breakfast at Waffle House. As I seasoned my cheese grits, I realized they were smiling at me. I knew it was a good sign. 

From there, I spent almost the whole day in the craft room.
Something in me was aching to solder, so I began the process by creating little bubbles and wrapping them with copper foil. But, I didn't stop there (you'll see!)

I also broke out the carving tools to make a tile stamp.

Once the weekend was over, I was determined to finish my Christmas shopping as soon as possible. So, I made it a priority to get as much of it done on Monday as I could. A traffic jam took up a huge bulk of my time and wore down my patience, but by early afternoon, I had all but two gifts. I rewarded myself with more playtime.
I knew that if I was going to break out the soldering iron, I wanted to have a pile of things to solder rather than just a few. So, I worked on coming up with a few more interesting pieces. I LOVE those two 3D pieces.

On Tuesday, I got one of the two gifts I was lacking as well as caught up on my regular chores and errands. And, while I was out, I decided to look at reading glasses since I've caught myself squinting at fine print and detail work. 
While I refuse to ever grow up, age is starting to catch up with me. OH NO!! But, I can see much better now. And, no worries, I'll go see an eye doctor after the holidays. 

Wednesday was spent at my mom's where I forced myself to finish the last of the gifts (it was a simple online thing - I don't know why I saved it until last.) But, I did a little happy dance knowing that I was done. I'm usually one of those who finish up on Christmas Eve. 

Thursday was spent almost entirely in the craft room once again as I got the last of the baubles wrapped with copper foil.

Then, I realized that I hadn't done anything for the We're All Ears Use Your Leftovers Challenge yet. So, I quickly gathered some designs and busted them out while the sun was still up for pictures to be taken.

While outside taking pictures, I saw that our dead palm tree by the pool (it was dead when we moved in) had finally fallen over.
After we got it off the gate, we started getting ready to head over to a friend's for dinner and a movie.

On Friday, nothing on my list was accomplished as I was determined to get my charms soldered. It took me extra long as I had so many and had decided to play with incorporating wire into some of the pieces. A few of them turned out beautifully, but I got a little overzealous and over-ambitious with one of them.
I was so intent on the wire and solder, I squeezed the pliers too hard and cracked this one. At least it wasn't one of my favorites!

Speaking of favorites, once they were all soldered, patinaed, sanded, and cleaned, I was surprised that this little bubble ended up as my favorite. 
I'm still pretty smitten with the shadowbox, but can't stop staring at the shape of the loops I made on this one. Dreamy!!

Since the shopping was done and I had made it through all the soldering, I turned my attention to wrapping the presents.
Much of Saturday was spent in this form of crafting. (Hey - there's tape, scissors, ribbon, and decorative paper, you can't tell me that's not crafting!) I watched a couple of Christmas movies and busted out the task. I can't believe it's all done and I can just enjoy the rest of the season!

Pat and I popped out for a late lunch and picked up a present for Zoe.
 We watched another Christmas movie while she exhausted herself crewing on the extra-long squeaky snake. Bliss!

After so much time getting to craft this week, I feel almost overwhelmed with inspiration. Let me share some with you:

So that's it for my week. It's been pretty good. 
I hope your holiday is absolutely amazing. Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, and Enjoy Celebrating however you do it!

Use Your Leftovers | Earrings Everyday Challenge

It's become a fun tradition to participate in the last Earrings Everyday challenge of each year. You see, for the past several years, Erin has made the challenge all about using up the leftovers still on your desk after a big crafting session. First, let me apologize that I didn't include this challenge in my December Inspiration List as I actually didn't see it until this week! Sorry!! Even worse is that I didn't get started on the challenge until yesterday. 
Erin encourages participants to place their supplies in a muffin tin or other divided tray to help organize everything before the making begins. It really helps!

But, to begin, I had to scour my desk for what to use. I found that I had a bowl of inspiration from my Using Vintaj Patinas crafting session. 
There were also lovely little sets of keys that one of my best friends had gifted me for my birthday. I had fortunately paired everything up for use as earrings eventually. Perfect!

I narrowed down the pieces that felt the most inspiring at the moment. 

Then, a lightbulb went off. You see, Erin takes the opportunity to make the Leftovers challenge a Giveaway as well. And, last year I won! However, I realized I've been hoarding the goodies she sent me, and they were still on a shelf behind me. 
In addition to these beauties, she included a little pack of findings too. But, I focused in on these for the challenge and added a couple to my tin. 

And, here's what I made.
These large shapes were my favorites from my Vintaj session, and I couldn't wait to use them. Since they are so large, they didn't need but a small compliment to finish them. I only added a pair of salvaged red beads flanked by bead caps and ear wires before calling them done. 

Knowing I wanted to include some tin in my earrings, these came into being. 
The hearts on the keys drew me to the tiny tins with hearts on them. However, I'm now questioning my use of the blue beads and wondering why I didn't just use red ones (or something else entirely). These may get reworked. 

Again, I knew the selected Vintaj piece didn't need much added. 
To prevent these from being too fussy, I punched a second hole on them from which to dangle a gold-colored glass bead.

I love these! They incorporate the two bead sets I selected from my winnings from last year. 
The Humblebeads bead and glass bead just felt right together. I have to admit that it took me FOREVER to find the holes in those glass beads. I've never seen holes run in that direction on a teardrop. Initially, I was going to wrap them so the points faced up, but it felt better to let their uniqueness shine. I only added bead caps and spacers to these.

Another favorite pair in the bunch are these.
I did add holes to each corner of both of the Vintaj blanks before dangling the little crystals and adding the hanger. But, that was all they needed. I think they're romantic and fabulous.

Again, I turned to my tin to make this final pair of earrings.
These were ones I experimented with acrylic paint pouring on. I sealed them with a gloss varnish before punching a hole and adding the little gold keys. I think they're cute.

So, that wraps it up for me. I'm so happy I found Erin's challenge at the last minute and was able to bust out a few designs for it. I hope you were able to play along. Don't fret if you just heard about the challenge too. Erin will have the linky tool open until the end of the year so you can join in and maybe even win the goodies she's offering up for this year's giveaway. And, even if you just can't participate, make sure to head over to the Earrings Everyday We're All Ears reveal to get some inspiration from Erin and the other participants. 

DIY Button Christmas Tree Ornaments

I have a confession to make - I love buttons! Okay, that's pretty well known. I've been collecting them for years and years and have a whole hoard of them. Usually, I work them into my jewelry, but I'm always looking for other beautiful ways to repurpose them.

While the idea for this project isn't anything new, I think my take on them is a little different. Most of the tutorials I've found for them have you starting at the top of the ornament and working down. It only made sense to me to work in the other direction. But first, gather your materials.
You'll need:
8-12 buttons in increasing/decreasing sizes
Star beads
Chain-nose pliers
Wire cutters
Round-nose pliers
(I have links to all of these materials on Amazon at the end of this post)

I used 26 gauge copper-colored wire, but any gauge up to about 20 should fit into your buttonholes and beads. And, I found the star beads at the Dollar Tree!

To begin, cut your wire down to about 10 inches and bend it in half, but don't crease it, leave it in a gentle bend. Then insert the two ends into two of the holes on your largest button.

Slide the button down to the crease, then begin stacking the rest of the beads getting smaller as you stack. Make sure that for four-holed buttons you insert the wire in the holes that are diagonal from each other.

Keep the wire separated until you reach the top.

Twist a little of the wire together.

Slide on your star bead, making sure to insert the wire into the bottom of the star so that the point is up.

Create a wrapped loop above the star, ensuring that the loop is large enough to insert an ornament hanger, twine, or ribbon into it.

For the above ornament, I left it without the base, but it's easy enough to start with a couple of brown buttons to make your tree trunk.

In fact, I created a video on making one of these Button Christmas Tree Ornaments that includes using the brown beads.

I used white buttons for most of my ornaments to give them more of a Farmhouse Style feel, but you could use whatever colors match your other decorations and your style.

It's easy to get carried away and make a whole forest of them! I've got all mine hanging on my tree, but am considering adding them as accents on some of my gifts as well. Have fun with this project and let me know if you make any of these cute button trees!

I've shared this on the Handmade Hangout Party and DIY Salvaged Junk Projects

Also, if you'd like to find any of the materials I used on Amazon, here are links to similar ones:
White Buttons Button Mix 26 gauge Craft Wire Assortment Jewelry plier set *As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...