Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bird Matchbox

I'm happy to be able to show you the second matchbox I made for the recent matchbox swap on Craftster (  My partner has received it, so here are the pictures:

The front and inside:  I drew the bird with a micron marker and colored pencils.  The rest of the decoration was scrapbook paper.

The back and inside:

One of the two crafted items inside the matchbox was this birdnest book thong:

The other crafted item was this "Be Happy" pin-back button that I made on my button machine.  I drew the bird with a Sharpie and colored it with Copic markers:

And the two matchboxes together, as they looked when the recipients opened them, stuffed full of fun:

I love the book thong as a little gift!  For this one I made the birdnest charm out of polymer clay (in the Halloween box it was a purple monster); just add a few more beads to a cord and you have a nice handcrafted gift.  I found it on Fave Crafts:

Try it!  And check out lots of other free crafts there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Country Treasures

There is a store just outside of Williamsburg where I sell all my handmade items; it's called Country Treasures, and is located in the Williamsburg Outlet Mall.  Here are some pictures of the store and my little booth.

The front of the store:

 My Happy Heart Designs booth:

My "pin tree", and little stuffed creatures:
There are a few other crafters with booths at Country Treasures, but I think I am the only one selling things that don't fit the description "country"!  I guess I add variety to the store!  The zippered purses are what I'm best known for, but all the little things sell very well there too.  Some of the other items I make that aren't pictured are:  eyeglass cases, zippered pouches, key chain pouches, scripture verse pillows, scripture verse sachets, tissue holders, and pincushions.

If you like what you see but can't make it to Williamsburg, you can find me on Etsy.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fabric Cuff Bracelet

Recently I have been exploring the idea of making fabric cuff bracelets, because I love the way they look, and they are small enough that making one wouldn't take forever.  BUT...would I ever actually wear one?  That's the question I struggled with as I went ahead and made one yesterday.  Usually I dress very simply, without jewelry (except my pearl earrings that I wear every day because they are the only ones that don't make my ears hurt!--and I do wear pins, but that's a subject for another day).  I find that rings, necklaces, and bracelets get in my way when I'm doing stuff, so I just don't wear them.  My thought is that a soft fabric cuff that stays put on my arm (rather than rolling around like a metal bracelet) might be something I could wear.

This is my first effort, and any time I make something new, it is usually not until the third try that it gets "good".  So here it is:

Browsing on the internet this week, I've seen that there are many different styles of cuffs.  I decided I wanted mine to be fairly narrow, because I definitely wouldn't wear it if it was really big!  This is 1 3/4" wide, which sounds small, but actually feels pretty big when I'm wearing it!  I just chose braid, little beads, buttons and charms that I liked, in a very quiet color palette, to hand-sew onto the canvas base.  You can see that I left the edges raw and frayed.  I stamped the word "happy", and added a pony-tail elastic for the closure, then hand-sewed a second, smaller piece of canvas to the back to cover the stitching.

This time I just placed things randomly as I got a feel for the process of making the cuff; next time I will plan it out better.  I would like to incorporate some embroidery too.  On this one I purposely used light blue thread to sew everything, with the intention that it would show and look interesting and random...but it doesn't really show.  Next time I will try a button hole...maybe...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Matchbox Fun

Here's another post where I go on and on about I swap I just participated in on Craftster!!  (Here's the website again: ).  This one was so fun:  I got to decorate two matchboxes (one for each partner), using my choice of themes suggested by my partners.  Today I am going to show one of the boxes because this partner has received hers.  When my second partner gets hers, I'll post pictures of that one too.

For this box I chose the theme "Halloween".  First, I covered the matchbox with scrapbook paper that has a pattern like old, dark wallpaper--something you might find in a decaying Victorian mansion.  Then, using a micron marker and colored pencils, I drew a jack-o-lantern with a loooooong vine, and cut it out.  I glued it onto the box so that the vine wrapped all the way around.  Unfortunately the sides don't show in these pictures, but the back does. I drew the leaves separately and glued them on after the vine was in place.

I don't know why I have two pictures of the interior of the box, but I do!  I drew the bat silhouette on black paper, cut it out and glued it inside the box.  Below you can see the back of the box.

The next part of the process was perhaps more fun than decorating:  filling the box!  Since it's Craftster, we are encouraged to make something crafty to go inside, in addition to any small treasures we can find that will also fit.  First, I made a cute monster book mark.  I made the monster from polymer clay, then strung it with some beads to make the bookmark.

Next, I made a refrigerator magnet, using my new button-making machine.  I drew the image using a fine-tip Sharpie and my daughter's Copic markers (they are the kind used by professional artists--she will be going to art school in the fall!).  Skulls usually aren't my thing, but this fit the Halloween theme.  I saw the image
online somewhere and I liked the surprise of the skull on the cupcake.

In this last picture you can see the box packed full and ready to send.  You can see a mini scrabble tile sticker, one of two with my partners' initials.  And since she makes jewelry, I added lots of little things like clasps, spacers, beads and a charm or two to fill up the rest of the matchbox.

The green pull loop is just a piece of ribbon glued to the bottom of the box. 

The amount of fun I had making this was huge, considering that it was something so smalll!  I want to make more!  One would be great as a gift box for a small item, anytime a gift-giving occasion arises. 

Check back in a week or two for Matchbox #2.  It was sent to Canada, so it may take some time to clear customs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fat Quarters

     I recently completed a swap on Craftster ( called "Craft with a Fat Quarter".  Actually, it should have been called "Craft with Two Fat Quarters", because that's what we actually got to use...anyway, the idea was to see how much you could make for your partner out of two pieces of fabric, each one cut 18" x 22" (these are "fat" quarter-yards of fabric.  If you go into a store and buy a quarter-yard off the bolt, it will be cut in a long, skinny piece measuring 9" x 44".  That size is not as useful as the "fat" cut, and fabric stores routinely pre-cut fat quarters to make them convenient to buy.  Perhaps too convenient...anyone who loves fabric knows how hard it is to resist pretty fabric already cut and costing only a couple of dollars...).
     I chose two city-themed fabrics for my partner, who works in New York City--one shows yellow cabs jam-packed together, and the other is a map of the New York subway.  I ordered them from The City Quilter ( ); the subway fabric is their exclusive print.  Here's what I made:

Above:  complete package, including two unused fat quarters of fabric.
Below:  the fabric basket, approximately 5" x 7"

Above:  one of my "signature" zippered pouches, with my partner's initials.
Below:  a pin cushion, made using a Japanese ote dama (juggling) ball pattern; and two coasters, each with a different scripture verse (the one on the left is flipped to show the back.)

     My biggest discovery in this swap was that there is more fabric in a fat quarter than I thought!  I really didn't expect to get 5 nice, full-sized items from those two pieces of fabric--and most of the other people in the swap expressed the same sentiment.  You can see what other people made with their fat quarters here: .

I find the craft swaps on Craftster to be both a fun challenge and a learning experience--this swap was no exception!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Design Your Own Fabric

I want to tell you about a cool place on the web where anyone can design their own fabric.  The site is Spoonflower ( ).  A few weeks ago I was contacted through my Etsy store ( ) by a customer named Betsy wondering if I could make a bag for her from fabrics she designed and had printed at Spoonflower.  Of course I said yes, because custom orders are a big part of what I do!  So she ordered the fabric and had it sent directly to me from Spoonflower.  It took about 2 weeks from the time she ordered it to the time I got it.  Here is the fabric:

Clearly, Betsy has a love of dachshunds and the beach!

She ordered one of my small zippered purses, and a key chain pouch.  Here is the result:

Betsy let me know that she is extremely happy with the bag and pouch!  I am happy to have had the experience with Spoonflower, although I haven't yet designed my own fabric--but some day I will!

Here are a few more things to know about Spoonflower:  you can buy other peoples' fabrics, and I saw some wonderful things there I would love to buy (and I probably will)!  What a great way to find something unique!  You can order a sample swatch of cotton quilting-weight fabric for $5, a fat quarter for $11, or a yard for $18. There are several other fabric choices too, such as cotton knit, canvas, sateen, or upholstry weight twill.  This is a great resource to keep in mind.  Maybe you don't need it today, but in the future, if you were looking unsuccessfully for a special fabric, you could always just design it yourself!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Zippered Pouches

Last week I went on a short visit to my mom in Little Rock, Arkansas.  While I was there, she hosted a belated birthday party for me!  The guests included some of her friends that I know, as well as my aunt and two cousins.  That's my mom on the left in the pink dress.  My cousin Janet is a caterer, and she provided the delicious food for us--here she is, talking with her mother:

Before I went on my visit, I decided to make a little gift for each lady who would be at the party.  I made a selection of my zippered pouches, and at the end of the luncheon, I brought them out and let everyone choose her favorite.  Wouldn't you know I forgot to take a picture of the pouches before I gave them out?? Here is a duplicate of the one I made for Janet (she loves dachshunds and polka dots)

And below is a picture from my Etsy shop ( ); I sell these pouches, customized with initials, there:

They are about 5 1/'2" x 8",  with a flat bottom 2" wide, which is a great size for so many things; most women think of them as cosmetic bags, but my daughter uses hers to keep her Nintendo DS games together, and I use them for small items in my purse.  I love making these for gifts because they are not too time consuming, yet they make a substantial gift, and anyone can use a pouch for something, right?  All the ladies at the luncheon were surprised and pleased to receive one.   

Someday, when I have more time, I hope to put together a tutorial of these pouches--so check back later!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Artist Trading Cards

Have you ever heard of Artist Trading Cards (also called ATC's)?  They are small works of art that anyone can make and trade.  I just started making some in March, when I joined the monthly ATC swap on Craftster ( --if you haven't been there yet, GO!).  Each card is 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" (the same size as a standard playing card).  You can decorate it any way you want--they are usually collage, drawing, or painting; in the gallery of ATC's from the March swap, one imaginative crafter even made a card from SOAP, and another person made one from GLASS!!  To see all these cards, go to .  To see my cards, just scroll down!

 All of these are drawn with a Sharpie and colored pencils.  I have always enjoyed art, and it was fun to get back into it with this ATC swap.  Sorry about this last one being sideways--I will try to fix it, but didn't want to leave it out because Susan would be so disappointed!!  (I traded this card to her, and she loves it!).