Saturday, April 25, 2015

Primitive Americana Wreath

This little lovely is another completed custom order I made for someone looking for a more rustic, primitive style wreath. It took some hunting to get the elements she liked, but it was so worth it when I see the end result.

Berries played the main roll on this design in colors of muted cranberry and merlot, Williamsburg and navy blues, and cream tones. Then a burlap ribbon with shots of dark navy and metal stars helped round off the Americana touch.
I really am so pleased with the natural aesthetic and am toying with a similar idea for a holiday/winter wreath design. So check back and see if I pull together something like this later on for my own front door.

I'm thinking holly berry red, forest green with gold, or maybe even just do a classic silver, gold, and pearl color scheme. Things to think about!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Birthday Party Goody Bags Idea

I figured I would take some time out of my busy week to share one of the ideas we're doing for our youngest's big TMNT bday party extravaganza! (Translation= two hours with 3-4 yr olds and their respective family members.)  Our little dude is obsessed. Not even kidding, there is something turtle related on this kid's body at most times, even if it's just panties, I mean underwear.

I decided to come up with a goody bag that could actually be something of use, especially after seeing how expensive some simple green bags would be. I totally scored with reusable, lunch bag size, green totes on Amazon. It was a great deal of 25 for about $16 with free Prime shipping. Then off to Walmart to pick up some felt, clear fabric glue and some googly eyes. Then, I also found great multicolor curling ribbon with all the turtle's colors in it, and great printable TMNT gift tags to round off the whole look. To get the exact supplies I got off Amazon, just scroll down to the bottom of this for links.

How did I do it? Simple

From you four colors of felt (blue, purple, orange and red) cut out strips that are about 2" wide and run the width of the piece of felt. You can even stack the felt to cut more at once. Once you get your narrow rectangular strips cut, fold over the length of felt to the corners at the end and nip them off to create one side of the mask. Then about 1" into the other side of the mask, fold the edges together and nick out a narrow triangle from the edge but not cutting to high to the fold line. Then cut out a triangle angled to the fold line. This creates the ties to the mask. Then just nip the corners on that side of the mask to look like the other side. The diagram better shows what I mean...

Using clear fabric glue, stick the masks onto the green tote. Then glue on two big googly eyes onto the masks and allow everything to dry. Easy as can be.

For the name tags you can do an image search on Google and then just print out what works for you and attach to one of the handles with the fun multi-color ribbon. I used Picasa as a means of printing since I could select a certain size and get enough repeats that way. A hole puncher makes it easy to create a slot for the ribbon and then I just curled it with some scissors.

Here are some links to help out those strapped for time:

Green Totes

Multi Color Ribbon

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Ties that Connect...and Strengthen

In one of my earlier posts on this blog, I shared the sudden and heart wrenching loss of a friend. Almost four months later, and I still find myself in tears at random times and missing her greatly. But, in her sudden absence, an incredible thing started. People, who may not have known each other before, began to "meet" because of her.

Sure, we'd seen each other's names pop up on her Facebook statuses and pictures and potentially interacted with a one liner or two over the years, but they were never really names and interactions that stuck, outside of being friends with the same person.

In the first few weeks of her absence, I found myself connecting with other women who were also missing her and questioning the why's and how's of this world. In our own need to grieve we expressed our feelings on her page and suddenly found others willing to support us and understand exactly what we were going through at that time. These weren't just passing comments. They were words of kindness and empathy amidst a time of anger, loss, and heartache. When one of us struggled with our emotions and wanted to rail against the powers that be, there were many, many others reaching out to get the person through that dark moment.

We shared stories that made each other laugh, remember, and smile. We began to talk to each other over private messages. We began connecting beyond a passing comment...

There are now a few more friends on my list after this experience, and I couldn't be more grateful for their presence if I tried. I am amazed and in awe of the friends she has who are all so interesting, diverse, and funny, but most importantly, strong.

One day, a new found friend approached me through a private message on Facebook with what at first I thought was a random picture of a knit baby cocoon. While it was cute, I had no idea why she had sent it to me and I actually remember thinking, "That's nice, but why?"  A little bit after, a funny message about how Facebook is so lame with sending pictures before you can write something came along. And suddenly a reason revealed itself.

VSM Handcrafted Designs Original She's expecting!! I haven't known her very long, heck, I haven't even met her face to face, but I began to get teary eyed with joy over life, something exciting and so positive to discover...and she shared it with me. Turns out, she wondered if I could create this baby cocoon idea for her to use for her baby-to-be. Needless to say, the answer was "yes" but I told her that I planned on going right to the book to create a concept more of my own design. Luckily, she was totally fine with it!  I love this order for so many reasons: the connection we now have, the anticipation of a new baby, the mutual love for a children's book, and the fond memories we have of our mutual friend.

To those of you wondering if I am going to name this new friend, nope! I'll let her share her fantastic news when she is ready. But, something tells me our friend is watching down on us and smiling over the connections we are making with each other. While no one will ever be able to take her place, at least we are finding others who get that and are here for each other now.

VSM Handcrafted Designs

Monday, April 6, 2015

Custom Front Door Wreath

I'm all about making the front door a welcoming spot for when company stops by, or when friends pop in for a visit. Something like a wreath can make a plain front door suddenly more interesting and pleasing for those who find themselves standing in front of it.   

So a little background history about me. Through college, I actually worked in a flower shop helping make arrangements and manage the shop itself. While I already had worked with silk flowers just doing things around the home with my mom, this pretty much gave me a full rundown of the various types of floral arrangements and styles out there. 

When it came time to start up my little business, I purposely kept the word "Handcrafted" as part of the name instead of "Crocheted." I knew that opportunities may come about where a crochet project may not be the order of the day, and this is a case in point. 

As you saw in the previous post, I had a chance to freshen up my front porch with some new silk flowers. After a friend saw the picture I shared on FB, she asked if I might be able to make a wreath for her front door. I was more than happy to fulfill that request and enjoyed the process of finding out what she had in mind and talk about flowers and colors. A girl after my own heart, she is a big hydrangea fan, so those automatically became a must. Working with the complimenting colors of yellow, peach, cream and a rich purple, I managed to pull together a great mix of English garden style flowers. Creamy yellow roses, with peachy centers, lovely sprigs of dark lavender, and accents of small yellow and white blossoms came together for this visually dense and cheerful wreath. I love playing around with varied textures and colors to keep the eye dancing and taking in every last detail. It's an elegant blend of spring and summer colors and I can't wait to see it on its new owner's door. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Willing it to Be Spring! Floral Arrangement Ideas for the Front Door and Then Some

This morning I quickly popped out to drop off the items for the bake sale with The Pet Adoption League. I really enjoy helping the group out by baking up some fun seasonal treats, and since everyone was in a spirited, spring mood with the weather, I decided to go check out Michael's and see if there were any good deals on their seasonal stuff.

Boy was I in luck! Went in and it was a great 50% off sale for their silk flowers. I immediately made mental notes of what I wanted and began my search. I so rarely get to wander this store without the kiddos that this trip felt almost rejuvenating and refreshing. I found some beautiful violets in a mix of purple and yellow, then some celery green alstroemeria, and creamy tulips, and a a pretty lavender tone feathery astilbe. An antique looking provincial mail pocket, some wired toffee colored ribbon, and the creation was good to go.
To create it, I did a sort of tiered approach to the arrangement to bring the flowers together, rather than do a complete mix. It allows the eye to travel up and down to get the full aesthetic of the arrangement. A nice tight fitting bit of Styrofoam inside keeps the arrangement light and snug. As soon as Easter is over, my tired old wreath is coming down and this going to take its place next to the front door.

Along with the new main door arrangement, I had these two empty containers sitting on a plant stand from my grandparents' house. I wanted to brighten up our door further by putting in some greenery arrangements. For a milky white container, I found a lovely "rubber" plant with petite cream and yellow and mossy green leaves. Instead of just playing the shove it in and fluff approach, I actually cut the plant into sections and then put the springs in one by one into the Styrofoam. It helped fit the scale of the container better and keep it from looking far too leggy. (I actually used a few leftover fronds in the main door arrangement to fill out the bottom).

Finally, I found another great fern plant that I knew would be perfect for a bright turquoise clay pot. This was the easiest one since I just needed to fit in some styrofoam and then shove the center stick into it. A little bit of fluff and bend here and there, and it created a beautiful and natural looking fern.

Now my front door looks inviting and ready for the warmer weather. And heck, now I won't need to worry about a couple of plants during the hot summer!