I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends,

Just a note to wish you a wonderful holiday! Christmas in the south was stormy but we all managed to get where we were going and had a great day.

I must admit that I find the actual afternoon and day after Christmas a little depressing...always have...but this year I took measures to divert that oncoming freight train. I began a NEW craft...oh, I know you can't believe that!

One of the gentlemen who helps us find various items for our shop, Dwellings, brought me a whole bag of zippers! They were still in their original wrappers and were metal! So zipper jewelry it is! I've had a fun time and have already made 3 pins...I made them last night for Christmas happies today! I was so distracted that I forgot to be depressed! (Even as a little girl I had this problem...not sure why, but it's a bummer, for sure. And I am ashamed of myself for feeling this way. When I consider all God has done for me and for my family, I know I have NO right.)

I will show you my creations as I get a little more "into" it...I've seen lots of neat things online and even bought a tutorial on Etsy which had great tips. I am going a slightly different direction with my ideas and I will share soon.

I truly hope for all of you that 2013 will be a peaceful, hopeful year. But if it's not, remember, "this too shall pass".
God bless you and the ones you love,

Friday, December 14, 2012

Making a Fun Shred Bow

Do you like to wrap gifts?
 My deep dark secret: I don't.

But this year, I have time and have come up with something fun!
I made all these bows at one sitting and then just tied them on.
I bought nothing. I had everything on hand.

They look cute on everything!
You can change the elements to fit your mood or occasion.
You can have them made up and on hand when you need them.

Before I show you how to do this, a wrapping tip that might make your wrapping chores go a little faster!
First, save your pretty tissue...it may be inexpensive to some people, but if you buy really nice tissue, it is NOT cheap!
As soon as Christmas is over...take each piece and run a hot iron over it. (If it's the heavy waxed tissue, be careful..it may stick, so test first.) But for regular tissue, the iron is your best friend. Turn off "steam".
The pic above is the "before".
This shows how nicely the paper turns out after a few swipes of the iron.
Now, fold the Christmas tissue, put it away to be used next year.
Note: If it's torn, I just toss it.
I am NOT cheap, but I cut costs where I can.
If you will look at the first pic above, you will see a cute little bow that I came up with for my packages.
I was determined not to buy a single wrapping element this year. My "wrapping" box has become
out of control. I have so much paper, ribbon, etc. I decided to wrap everything with only things I had.
Above are the only things you need to make tons of tie on bows.
Curly ribbon (green and red on the spools); paper shred (you need red and white...I only show red);
sparkly red shred (or some other color).
Also note the single silver strand of ribbon. Most important strand of the bunch!
1. Cut a piece of ribbon about 12 or 13 inches long that is a different color from all the rest of the elements
 (mine was silver).
This will become the tie for the bow and the way you tie the bow to the package.
*If you use all the same color for this piece, it is too hard to find the "tie on" piece when you are ready to add the bow!
2. Pull some of the long sparkly shred from the package and loop it back and forth until it's a fat little bunch.
Lay it on top of the silver tie piece.
 Make sure it is going the opposite way from the silver.
3. Pull out some paper shreds and pull them so they are longer and no longer bunched up.
Lay them on top of the sparkly red.
4. Make a looped bow using the curly red and green ribbon.
Holding the center of  the looped  red and green bow, carefully lay it on top and then tie the whole thing together with the silver ribbon.
Use the silver ribbon to tie the bow onto the package.
There's tons you could do with this idea.
Add balloons, flowers or other fun elements for birthdays, etc.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Remembrance Potholders

What a week it has been! I've had doctor visit after doctor visit. Let me just say, those visits have finally done it...scared me into being serious about my health. I may go down, but it won't be with a mouthful of Little Debbie's. It's probably just as well Twinkies left the market when they did.

Also, I've decided I am a procrastinator of the worst kind! I've known about the following project since May, and even though I still have a week left before they are due, I am just now finishing them...bad, bad girl!

My mother was one of those kind of cooks that could look in the pantry and in 30 minutes have a great meal on the table. Me? NOT so...everything she cooked was delicious and in her honor, I decided to make pot holder keepsakes for our family for Christmas this year.

Since only two or three members of the family read my blog, I won't be giving away the surprise to many! And a word of caution!!! This is a time consuming project...not expensive, but it IS a labor of love. So if any family members are reading this and I know who you are :) , when you open yours at our family Christmas, you can really make a big deal of it...haha...just kidding...I think.

I originally saw this idea in Country Living magazine and then saw where a lady would do this for you for $38. What?! Yes, Virginia, it's worth it.

The first thing you must do is select a recipe in your chosen person's handwriting and copy it so that you have at least three copies on a sheet of copy paper. This is if you want to make more than one.
You will eventually be making a copy of that recipe onto cloth
and then attaching the cloth recipe to a potholder.
The potholder prototype was green, but the ones I did for family were black.
They match a monogrammed dishtowel I also made for said family.
Step One: Gather your materials.
 Buy your potholders. Also buy smooth material on which to print your chosen recipe.
I used khaki broadcloth.
The other materials are:  fusible Pellon or WonderUnder, an iron, a printer, and a sewing machine.
Some cute ribbon and a button are optional.
Step Two: cut two pieces of fusible web as wide as regular printer paper and about 1 inch high.
Step Three: Press your broadcloth so it has no wrinkles..at all.
Then sandwich the fusible web strips between the cloth and the computer paper at the top and bottom.
Press lightly until the paper is bonded to the cloth and it all lies flat.
Cut out the cloth using the paper as your pattern.
This is the paper and cloth after bonding but before being cutting out.
Step Four: This is how my printer accepts paper, so I carefully slipped the paper with the cloth attached into the printer and copied the recipes onto the cloth.
I was able to get three of my mother's recipes for Poppy seed Chicken onto the paper sized cloth.
Now, this is dicey. Once I used double sided tape rather than the fusible web and it didn't work so well,
 thus, the fusible web.
However,  REMEMBER this:
When placing your recipes to be printed on the original paper, Skip down about an inch on the page to print...thus you will avoid having the bonded part of the paper stick to the back of the recipe.
Step Five: Cut out the cloth recipe. Try to do this smoothly and clip all little threads as you go.
Attach the cloth recipe to the potholder by cutting a piece of fusible web the size of the recipe and
 ironing the recipe to the front of the potholder.
As you can see, the resulting copied recipe is clear and looks very good!
Step 6: With my Brother SE 400 machine, I finished the edges of the cloth recipe with an overcast stitch.
This could be done by hand or a little ribbon trim or rickrack could be ironed on around the recipe.
Step 7: I added a bow and a button at the top.
The bow color matches the monogrammed initial on the monogrammed dish towels.

I have no idea if the potholders will hold up to washing,
but these aren't for everyday use.
These are a remembrance of my mother and her skills in the kitchen
and the love with which she prepared our food for so many years.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cupcake Paper Trees and Cookie Tip

Ever the penny pincher...I was looking for cookies to get maximum bang for my buck.
These Pillsbury looked really good, however, there were only 12 per package.
So I devised a plan to turn 2 packages (24) into 96 cookies! (2 for $5.00).
I found these at Wal Mart and they are very good!
I cut each cookie into fourths. (They were pretty big to begin with.)

I rounded the edges off and placed them about 1 1/2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
When I finished, I had 95 cookies (I dropped one).
They are a little larger than vanilla wafers.
. I had put notes on the covered cookies which said, "NO!No!" and "Stay OUT!" so that nobody at my house would eat them before I took them to the shop for our open house Saturday.
I got busy with a customer and I directed her husband to the refreshment table and told him to  have a cookie...he said, "I wanted one but the note said "Stay out!" ... great public relations.
Next I had a fun craft that I thought you might enjoy.
Cupcake liner Christmas Trees
Gather supplies to make your cupcake paper trees:
Assorted cupcake papers, Styrofoam cones, pins and scissors.
I used a 40% off coupon at Michael's for the large cone which was originally $5.99...ridiculous.
Cut the bottom out of the paper.
 I wised up after a few minutes and cut lots of the bottoms out at the same time.
You will have a bottomless ruffle of paper with a slit in the middle.
Pin the ruffle around the cone. I pleated every once in a while to make it fit.
At first, it takes more than one ruffle to go all the way around.
continue from the bottom up until you have covered the cone.
This is the result. I added a  contrasting red to the bottom of the checked one. It looks like a little skirt.
The top should be pointed but these cones were flat on top, so I topped each tree with ribbon to hide the flat area.
The red and white polka dot papers were actually candy papers and were much smaller, but they were so cute I couldn't leave them behind at the store. It took a few more of them to cover the cone because of their diminutive size.
Cute, quick and I wish I could give credit to the originator of this idea.
I did use the idea from All Free Christmas Crafts.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Part ll: Christmas Open House

Thank you for returning for Part II of the Annual Virtual Christmas tour!
Settle down with your coffee and see what's going on!
This is what started it all....Johnson Brothers' Friendly Village china.
This was my jumping off point for the dining room and kitchen.
I like the idea of a Friendly Village.
So begins the rounding up of items to carry off this "theme".
You can't have a friendly village without a happy entrance..
so AnaLee Mr. and Mrs. Santa welcome at the foyer.
Mr. Santa is beckoning the visitors inside...
Short story about the chair: My church was "updating"...ummm...and had all these antique Windsor chairs from the children's department...
Kindly, we were allowed to secure one...it sits in my foyer...a testament to days gone by.
My goose feather tree was purchased years ago...during my "primitive" decorating period.
Kitchen straight ahead...theme: Gingerbread!
There is nothing special about my kitchen...no granite, no beautiful island, but I do have four windows above the sink that allow me unobstructed views of the fields just beyond the house. Nothing makes me happier than opening those blinds and looking out early in the morning.
Yelloware bowls reside atop the sink...always at the ready to be called into commission.
Quite a collector of bowls...I employ lots of them in holiday decorating.
My favorites are yelloware. Normally my Fenton hen sits here.
Above, my first attempt at appliqueing on a towel with my embroidery machine.

Here we go again..the ole piled high containers of ornaments trick.
This area of the eating bar got a little out of control.
 I had to edit after all was said and done..a little too sweet.
A double tier bar = lots of clutter!

Quick Owl story: My mother had the Shawnee winking owl cookie jar...long story short..my sister got it.
I found the Shawnee salt and pepper set and it fit just fine on top of my coffee station!
I think of Mother every time I see those owls! Mother was way ahead of her time in the owl department.
No matter how I change, my love of antiques and vintage items stays centered in my heart.
These are "prims" gathered together on a little shelf right at the back door.
(See dough bowl...gift from #1 Sister, Leslie!)
Mercy, even the refrigerator gets the gingerbread treatment.
Am I obsessive, or what?
Every year (and I mean EVERY) Mother made each one of us (around 25) a cross-stitch
stocking ornament. I wouldn't think of not putting them out..no matter what!
They are small and sometimes go on the tree, sometimes in a basket or bowl.
Notice, the hubster's has a church on it...I never got a church...hmmm.
This is my reminder of my mother.
For several years I went to a Monday night ceramics class...
did I need ceramics..NO!
 Does anyone in my family appreciate all those Santas I painted for them? NO!
If you come to my store, Dwellings, you will see them set about...with price tags on them :(
but this angel I did for myself...reminds me that my mom is doing up Christmas right.
I have no separate dining room..just an eating area off the kitchen...so this is my divider..it lets people know
"we are now entering a separate space"...no gingerbread or Santa here.
I am a purist when it comes to merging religious and fairy tales.
Say what you like...think what you like...it's your business, but
I am not a supporter of Santa praying over the manger.
It may look cute, but it's not biblical and I don't bend much on this rule.
So here's a longview of the eating area.
Here is my china hutch filled with items that symbolize the singing of Christmas carols.
The "good will toward men" idea.
Though I like Byers Choice...they were a little too much for here.
They landed on a window sill.
This is the edited version.
Again...friendly little children (Snow babies from mother's and my collection)
playing friendly little snow games in the friendly little village.
Can you stand it?
Give me a cloche and I will fill it.
The "hubster" (who does not like his name mentioned in my blogs) thinks the trough is a little over the top.
Grandson Ryan says it could be a manger if it weren't so skinny.
But my daughter in law, Robin, found it, I cleaned it, waxed it and poly'd the inside and love it.
Mercury glass candle holders and small gold stars add a little sparkle.
And the stars are symbolic.
Every friendly village has a sparkly tree!
And simple green wreaths tied onto the backs of their chairs, don't they?
OOPS! How did my old German Santa get into the china hutch?
He's outta here...he will have to go to another part of the house....sorry, Santa.
You are breaking my NO SANTAS in the dining room rule!
No matter what the theme, no matter what...one ornament goes up.
It was given to me by one of my all time favorite students, Brad Boatner, when I taught him in Kindergarten
at Brandon Academy in the 1980's.
Brad was killed in an accident while out of the country on a mission trip..I never taught a finer young man.
What about Jesus? Do we ever get to Jesus?
Be patient, Grasshopper, you will see.
Of course, we do.
The Baby in the manger resides on the nicest piece of furniture I own.
This Fontanini set tells the story.
How there was no room in the inn...
how Jesus was born humbly under the stars...
how the shepherds and angels were the only ones who were privy to His arrival.
The cross on the left reminds us not only of His birth and life, but also His death and resurrection for us.
What a story...what a celebration of life!
So there you have it...another year of preparation for that celebration!
**I have to thank "you know who"...he's quite a man to live with me. All those boxes, all that glitter...
I also want to wish my family and yours a wonderful and joyous holiday.
It may not turn out just right...but in the end...it's all about Jesus and His entrance into this world.
We've made a sorry mess of things, but He makes them right and new.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Much love to each of you,