inspired ideas: autumn 2010

Page 1

amy powers’

inspired ideas autumn 2010

volume 2, no. 1

craft happy

dear friends i

’m so excited to share these ideas with you and I do hope you’ll find them inspiring. I’ve had much help with this issue. Charlotte Lyons shares a delightful kitty cat treat bag project that I just know you’ll adore. Piper Wise shows us a super handy trick for coloring in our simple but it will change the way you stitch! Sasha Libby, aka Saucy, shows us an extra sweet craft...decorating sugar cubes! Your tea parties will never be the same! The very talented Kellie Dykast shares a wonderful mini-notebook project. And Lisa Super created a fabulous journal page that is sure to inspire you. All of that and a few more projects...more than a dozen in all...make this an issue I’m really proud to share with you. I want to thank all my friends so much for your support, talent and love. I couldn’t have done it without your encouragement. I want to especially thank my very kind and patient friend Pam Keravuori for her superb photography. Pam, you are my personal, on-call photographer and I’ll always appreciate your naptime photo-shoots! So now, my friends, are you ready? I hope you’ll love these projects as much as I do. Happy Crafting!

awfully fondly,

amy powers p.s. If you’re inspired by any of these ideas, please show me what you make!

try this be inspired: Draw a grid on fabric with a

pencil and a straight edge, grab some embroidery floss in your favorite colors, and start stitching. Don’t fret over each square. Just let inspiration strike and stitch away! Don’t worry if your stitches aren’t perfect. Instead, embrace the childish charm of it all!

contents dear friends contributors

1 . . . . . . . . .4 . . . . .8 . . . . .10 . . . . . .12 . . . . . .16 . . . . . .18 . . . . .22 .24 . . . . .27 . . . . . .28 . . . .30 . . . . . .32 .........

decorated sugar cubes kitty cat treat bag cigar box theatre little notebooks

pom pom sheep

halloween sampler

adding color to embroidery journal inspiration rick rack flowers

embroidered blocks abc learning toy

contributors Sasha Libby

Charlotte Lyons

Kellie Dykast

Sasha Libby was raised over her father's art studio. As she kept him company while we worked, she was encouraged to pick up a paint brush or try her hand at printmaking at a very early age. As she (and her creativity) grew, she found herself in the studio working with her father (now known throughout blogland as The Secret Weapon) making jewelry, ornaments for Christmas trees, special toys, miniatures... and all sorts of silly things. Truth be told, if she can come up with an idea, The Secret Weapon can help her execute it. They like to brainstorm and solve problems together. When Saucy isn't talking her entire family into helping her with a project, she is thinking about the next project, blogging the last one, and probably taking credit from The Secret Weapon. She lives with husband Veto and daughter Loopy in a one hundred year old house that seems a little quiet now that Buddy Budderson has moved away to school and taken his drum kit. She very much enjoys eating pastry.

Charlotte Lyons's creative repertoire includes a happy mix of design, crafts and art - as well as illustrated books she writes about creative life. Trained as a teacher, she has developed techniques for painting, stitchery, collage and design that infuse her work with an eclectic handmade charm.

Kellie Dykast lives in Tennessee with her amazing husband and spoiled cat. She started her Etsy shop Every Jot & Tittle on a whim in 2007, and it has now become a part time job. Her paper items have been in many magazines including Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, Domino, Romantic Homes, and Creating Keepsakes. She loves to make things, especially with paper. She also always has a list of projects to accomplish around her home. You can follow her projects and steal her ideas from her blog,

After growing up in a household decorated with colorful textiles and flea-market finds, Charlotte's work is still inspired by the humble designs of traditional art and craft and the inventive use of everyday materials. Born and educated in St. Louis, Charlotte raised three artistic daughters in a bright pink house near Chicago. Presently, she lives in a green house along the Hudson River in New York with her husband and daughters. Charlotte shares her creative life on her popular blog http:/

Piper Wise Piper Wise is lucky enough to be at home with her children, ages 5 and 1 1/2, full time. A hairdresser by trade, and a crafter by choice, her tasks are always hands-on. Piper enjoys crochet, tatting, embroidery, sewing and scrapbooking. She believes that putting time and energy into making something is a wonderful way to escape from the every day hustle and bustle. It is very gratifying to look at a finished project and say, "Hey! I did that!" Piper finds inspiration in treasured handmade heirlooms passed down from grandmothers, extremely crafty in-laws, and the extraordinary creative community in this wonderful new place called "Blog Land". Piper is the owner of Moonvine Organics, making skin care products using the highest quality, natural and organic ingredients. (

Lisa Super

Janet McCaffrey

As the oldest daughter of an Artist, art has always been a part of Lisa Super's life. Her mind never rests. She tends to think about making things on a constant basis.

Janet McCaffrey is a freelance graphic designer and owner of Primrose Design, a business offering vintage-inspired pillows and accessories handcrafted from vintage fabrics, recycled embroidery, buttons, and trims. Her Stitch School blog features step-by-step tutorials for popular embroidery stitches.

She loves paper, canvas and incorporating vintage items into her work. She usually works with soft palettes but her love of color rounds out her style. Lisa teaches workshops bi-monthly in her home studio in Fremont, CA. She enjoys writing and has been published in Somerset Memories, Altered Couture and Somerset Life Magazines. She very much enjoys being a wife and mother of 3 small children. For the past 17 years she's worked full time as a Controller. You can catch up on Lisa on her blog,

We used one of Janet’s patterns in Piper Wise’s project and she so generously shares it with you.

amy powers’

inspired ideas volume 2, no. 1

autumn 2010

AMY POWERS . . . . . .EDITOR PAM KERAVUORI . . . .ASSISTANT Contributors: Kellie Dykast, Sasha Libby, Charlotte Lyons, Janet McCaffrey, Teresa McFayden, Lorraine Rose, Lisa Super, Piper Wise LETTERS TO THE EDITOR & SUBMISSIONS: Email or send correspondence to Amy Powers, Inspired Ideas, 5213 Tulip Leaf Court, Centreville VA 20120 ADVERTISING: Email if you are interested in advertising opportunities.

Š Copyright 2010 by Inspire Co. LLC All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission of copyright owner. All images contained within have been reproduced with the knowledge and prior consent of the artists concerned and no responsibility is accepted by the publisher, Inspire Co. for any infringement of copyright or otherwise arising from the contents of this publication. Every effort has been made to ensure that the projects within this magazine are original.

“There is only one of

you in all time, this


expression is And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. ” — Martha Graham



decorated sugar cubes

by Sasha Libby 8

inspired ideas


ou will need: prepackaged sugar cubes, white or brown... or both! Also, an assortment of autumn baking sprinkles and nonpareils. They are plentiful this time of year in the shapes of leaves, tiny pumpkins and more. Check your cabinet for sprinkles of any shape and colour - if they look like something that could be spilling out of a tiny cornucopia in miniature, then all the better. You will also need a prepared recipe (or better yet, a half recipe) of decorator's (Royal) frosting. That's the type of frosting that hardens when it dries. Since you won't need much at all for piping on sugar cubes, if you can follow the directions to cut your favourite recipe in half, that's a good idea. Saucy uses prepared meringue powder from the cake decorating aisle at the craft store and mixes it with water and confectioner's sugar at home... she's a little skittish about using raw eggs in the traditional decorator's frosting. Plus, it's easy to make a small portion for something like this. You will need brown and orange food dye. Assemble two pastry bags and outfit them with small round tips (the Wilton 2 or 3 tip would be great). Divide your prepared frosting into two bowls and tint one bowl brown and the other orange.

To pipe the cornucopias: Using the brown tinted frosting, pipe a small oval shape on one half of the sugar cube. Circle your tip around the oval twice to give it depth. While the frosting is wet, sprinkle leaves and nonpareils to look like they are "spilling" from the mouth of the cornucopia. To finish, pipe a squiggly shape away from the oval. The back and forth squiggle will look like the wicker of the cornucopia. Release your tip at a little upward point at the end... too cute! To pipe the pumpkins: Using the orange frosting, pipe a circle on the face of the sugar cube. Work around the circle with a zig-zag motion to fill it in. The zig-zags will sort of add to the look of the pumpkin ribs. Before the icing dries, press a little green sprinkle in the shape of a leaf (or a single green jimmy) to look like a stem onto one end of the pumpkin. You can press it deeply, thus manipulating the circular shape of your icing, giving it a bit more of a lopsided "pumpkin" look. Allow your sugar cubes to harden completely before handling, at least two hours or overnight. Store in an airtight container (handling gently of course). These are simply adorable when packaged up for hostess gifts!

autumn 2010


kitty cat treat bag


inspired ideas


by charlotte lyons

* Pattern is in appendix.

autumn 2010


cigar box theatre

by Amy Powers


his little cigar box theatre becomes a showcase for any collection of small things. Use dollhouse miniatures for props and change it seasonally...or whenever the desire strikes. You’ll have so much fun setting different scenes! You can get cigar boxes easily at cigar stores. Some stores sell them for a nominal amount (one or two dollars) but others give them away freely. The wooden ones are fabulous. Look for a size that suits you...deeper is better since it’ll give you more of a stage. You won’t need the lid so use a knife to cut through the paper on the inside and outside edges that form the box’s hinge. Search for something suitable for a background image. I like to use a landscape image that looks like a backdrop. Look through art books or art magazines for an image that is large enough to cover the back of the stage. Glue it into place and coat with gloss heavy gel medium (available in the fine art supplies section of your craft store). You can easily make a real wood floor using wooden “planks” formed from small wood strips, popsicle sticks, or even wooden coffee stirrers. Just measure how deep your stage is to be and cut as many planks as you need to cover it. I find that my Tonic scissors by Tim Holtz will cut through anything, even this thin wood. If you

don’t have scissors that will work, use a small saw to cut the wood to size. Use a fingernail file to smooth any rough edges. Use a waterbased wood stain to give the wood an authentic wood floor look. Paint a thick layer of craft glue where the stage floor will go and lay the planks down, fitting them as close together as you can. Once the glue dries, add a thick layer of the heavy gloss gel medium. If there are any gaps between the wood planks, fill them in with the gel medium. For the curtains, choose a lightweight fabric that doesn’t fray easily. I like to use a sparkly tulle. A microsuede would look very velvety. If you use a fabric that frays, you’ll need to hem the edges first. Find a dramatic trim that matches your curtain fabric. Fringe, ruffle, or pom-pom trims work well. Cut two pieces of lightweight fabric the size of the opening of the stage. Sew a running stitch with knotted thread along the top of the fabric and gather by pulling the thread. Run the needle and thread back through the gathering to lock it, then knot the ends of your thread. Repeat for the second panel. Hot glue the curtain panels into place. Cut a piece of trim an inch longer than the width of your stage. Tuck 1/2” under and then hotglue the length to the top of the stage. Tuck the last 1/2” under before you glue the end down.

“The most beautiful thing we

can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. � A ~ lbert Einstein

autumn 2010



inspired ideas

little notebooks


or the cover of these books, you can use decorative paper. I love to print my own using the Folk Reprodepot Pattern Book, available at I print it onto cardstock. We’ll make this book 3” x 2.5” when folded. Cut the cover to 3” x 5”. That way, if you use an 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper, you can get 5 out of one sheet.

For the pages I used regular computer paper but you could also use any paper. Try using graph paper! Or you could use a mixture of papers as long as they are all light weight. Cut the inside papers to the same size as you cut the cover (3” x 5”). Fold all of your sheets of paper and your cover in half. You can already see it looking like a lit-

tle book. I used 10 sheets of paper per book. My sewing machine couldn’t handle any more than that! For the ribbon place holder, put a small piece of double sided tape onto the top of the inside fold of the cover and place one end of the ribbon onto it. Then assemble the book again. I cut my ribbon to 4”.

Flatten out your book making sure that everything is lined up correctly and sew a straight stitch along the fold down the center. I used a contrasting thread for fun. Fold your book again and ta-da! You are done! Aren’t they so cute? I love to carry a little notebook with me in my purse and these are just the right size.

by Kellie Dykast autumn 2010


pom pom sheep

by Amy Powers


inspired ideas


hese pom pom sheep are simple enough for a child to make and oh-so-sweet! Using wool yarn makes them extra special. Experiment with different yarns and make a whole herd! I like using those plastic pom pom makers but use whatever method you prefer. I’ve even seen them made using just your fingers! Make two pom poms, one slicghly larger than the other. The larger pom pom will be the body and the smaller, the head. If you have only one size maker, make two the same size and you can trim it down. Using a knotted thread, sew the two pom poms together. Already it looks sheep-like, don’t you think? Begin sculpting the sheep with your scissors, snipping here and there as much or as little as you please. You’ll see a little sheep begin to emerge, trust me. Cut two small ears out of felt, dab a little pink marker in the middle, and glue into place deep into the pom pom. For the tail, thread a large tapestry needle with your yarn and sew a little loop. So cute! For the legs, cut 4 pieces of pipe cleaner about 1.5” long. Cotton pipe cleaner is the best and you won’t believe where you find tobacco supply stores. Yes, they are really used to clean pipes! Search online to find them. Wind a bit of dark brown floss at the bottom of each leg. Glue the legs into place deep into the pom pom. I used tiny glass eyes buy you could also sew on small glass beads. Don’t sew them in too deep or they’ll get lost in the fluff. Keep going! Make up a whole herd!

autumn 2010


Would you like to contribute to

inspired ideas? Now collecting Holiday ideas

halloween sampler


ll the letters of the word “halloween” make up this grid sampler. Make it like I did with all black stitches...or mix it up with a delicious fall color palette. This sampler is made into a banner to hang in a wreath, on your mantel, or anywhere you want to add a little spooky touch for Halloween. Begin by preparing a piece of fabric (I used Osnaberg, my favorite stitching fabric). Cut the fabric into a piece 8.5” x 11”. Cut a piece of freezer paper the same size. With your iron set on low, iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to the back of your fabric. Now you’ve made your fabric stiff enough to run it through your ink jet printer! Download the page in the appendix of the magazine for the Halloween sampler and print it onto the prepared fabric.

Stitch right over the printed letters using a satin stitch and 2 strands of floss. For a cleaner line, outline each letter first and then satin stitch over the outline. Be careful with your stitching, keeping the stitches relatively clean on the reverse, without huge leaps from one section to another, particularly if you’re using a lightly woven, light colored fabric and black floss. It’ll show through the finished piece and look a bit messy. Stitch the grid with a simple backstitch. For the outline of the sampler, I embroidered a split stitch using 4 strands of floss. Once you’ve completed the sampler, clip all the loose strands on the back of the stitching.

If you’re unsure about printing on fabric/ freezer paper, or if you’d rather not experiment with your ink jet printer, just purchase ink jet-ready fabric sheets at your craft store. Or if you’re just not keen on using your printer for this project, you can trace the pattern onto your fabric by holding the fabric and pattern up to a window.

Now we’ll make the sampler into a banner. Pin a piece of fabric to the stitched piece. Or, if you’re using a hoop, place another layer of fabric in the hoop under the stitched piece. Stitch through both layers of fabric all the way around the banner. At the top, use running stitches to create a pocket for the rod to go through, keeping the ends free of stitches.

Once you have the design on your fabric, let’s start stitching! An excellent resource for stitching online can be found at

Once all the stitches are complete, carefully cut both layers at once, about 1/8th of an inch from the stitches outlining the banner.

I always use a hoop for my embroidery. I just feel like I have more control over my stitching and it feels more comfortable to me. I like to use a hoop big enough for the entire piece.

I made a little rod using a stick. I painted beads to go on the ends, slid the banner on, and glued the beads in place. Hang the banner with a length of black floss, tied on either end of the banner.

by Amy Powers autumn 2010


adding color to embroidery


his technique is a wonderful way to get a vintage look on something new. I call it "Old-School Embroidery.� My mom and grandmothers always had lots of embroidery on things we used every day. I like to re-create some of that comfy home feeling this way. My husband's ßber-talented aunt showed me the fill-in trick. I love to use vintage or vintage-inspired patterns. There are lots of lovelies at Primrose Design. I downloaded this darling duck picture and printed it off. It was a bit big for the shirt I was using, so I reduced it by 50%. Remember, the transfer will be in reverse, so make any adjustments neccessary. Using a hot-iron transfer pencil, I traced the image, and cut it out, leaving about a 1/4" margin. Then I cut out a piece of lightweight fusible backing in the same shape and size. The fusible backing is great to use on stretchy material like a tee-shirt because it will give a bit of stability for embroidering. (You won't need the backing for projects on towels and such, that are a sturdier cotton.) I always place a dish towel or tea towel on my ironing board, to prevent any transfer onto my ironing board cover. Your iron will be used on a high cotton setting, with no steam for this entire project. The shirt will be right side out. Slip it onto the ironing board so you're only working with the front. After you decide placement, put the fusible backing underneath the shirt, and the image on top of the shirt. Match up the outlines of each. I used a white shirt, so it was easy for me to see through.

by Piper Wise

Then carefully, iron! The transfer pencil sometimes requires a bit more pressure and time for the transfer to be as dark as you’d like. While you’re transfering the image, your backing will fuse as well. Now the fun part! While your material is still warm, get out your crayons and color it in! No need to be too precise, but do try to stay in the lines. I like to use a shade darker color to trace the lines where I'll be embroidering. This will also give a nice shading effect. Next, take a lightweight paper bag and place it over your picture. Iron again, taking care not to let the bag slip. This will melt the crayon wax into the fabric, actually staining the fabric. Watch for the crayon to seep through the paper, and you'll know it's done. Now embroider! Go for it! Everyone has their own style. I mainly just outline, but sometimes I'll fill in the middle of flowers or eyes with either a french knot or a satin stitch. I use mostly the vine stitch (sometimes called an outline stitch), and the lazy dazy stitch. There is a good basic stitch guide online at embroiderystitches.html. There are also lots of lovely looks at For the "Birthday Girl" title, I printed it out, placed it inside the shirt, and traced it. Then I used the vine stitch to finish it off. Cute, right? The crayon will fade a bit with washing, but I think that adds to the vintage effect. This technique is also lovely on quilt block squares, dish towels, pillow cases, aprons, and whatever else you can think of. Have fun!


inspired ideas

journal inspiration

by Lisa Super

rick rack flowers


inspired ideas


ere’s a fun way to make a bunch of ruffly flowers using one of our favorite trims, rick rack. Make up a handful and use them to decorate packages, sweaters, purses, slippers and more! Or attach a stem and make a sweet bouquet.


Gather about a yard of rick rack per flower. Cotton rick rack works best. You’ll also need a bit felt and a needle and thread.


Cut the felt into a 2” circle.


4 5


Beginning along the outer circumference, stitch the rick rack to the felt. With the second row of stitches, begin gathering the rick rack by pinching the bottom and tacking it to the felt circle. Continue going around and around in circles, gathering and sewing as you go until you get to the center. Sew a button, felt ball, or pom pom to the center.

idea: Wouldn’t this make a fabulous prize ribbon?

by Amy Powers

embroidered blocks


nspired by baby’s soft building blocks, these embroidered ones are a fun way to make your embroidery three-dimensional! They’ll make a great gift for a baby, but I think they look wonderful as a decoration too. Choose a fabric that will be easy to embroider on, such as linen or Osnaberg. Begin by drawing a row of six 2.5” squares directly onto your fabric using a pencil and a straight edge. You can use bits of fabric, lace, and ribbon to make more of a collage or stitch the entire design. Have fun making up designs. Draw the design onto the fabric first if you’re unsure about your freestyle stitching abilities.

Once you’ve completed all of your 6 squares, it’s time for assembly. With right sides together, stitch two squares along one side, using small even stitches and a .25” allowance. I handstitched mine but if you’re more comfortable machine stitching, try that instead. With their right sides facing inward, continue stitching squares along the edges, creating an inside-out cube. Be extra careful at corners and at the end of a thread, reinforcing your stitches. As you stitch the cube together, leave the two last adjoining sides unstitched. Very, very carefully turn the cube right side out using the opening.

by Amy Powers

To make the cube nice and square, fill it with a cube of 2” medium density upholstery foam. You can easily cut the foam with scissors. Just mark the cut with a pencil, squeeze the foam and cut. When you’re filling the embroidered block, just squeeze the foam cube to make it as small as you can to fit through the opening with the sides lined up as well as you can and release. Adjust as necessary. Then tuck and pin the seam together and sew it shut with a whipstitch. To finish them off, you can go back over the finished cube’s edges with decorative stitches like the blanket stitch, feather stitch, or whatever you’d like. Make at least three blocks...or more!

autumn 2010



inspired ideas


learning toy


he idea for this project came when my young son Alfredo started playing with a thread organizer and empty spools in my craft room. He carefully and quietly played with it for hours on end. These thread organizers are available at most craft stores. They are manufactured by June Tailor and are available in a variety of sizes. I chose the largest one for this project.

tion of the craft store. Look for spools large enough to fit through the dowels and with at least a 1” diameter at the top and bottom. Collect an assortment of pretty patterned scrapbook paper. Choose bright, happy colors that will inspire and delight your little one. Cut the paper into strips to fit around the spools and glue into place. I used a strong glue stick. Get the kiddos to help! Next, print out the alphabet sheet from the appendix. Or create your own...just keep the letters smaller than 1”. Use a 1” circle punch to cut out each of the letters. Glue into place on the top of each spool. To make this toy extra durable, paint the top and sides of the spools with several coats of varnish.

The kickstand on the back is a bit unsteady (after all, it’s not meant to be a child’s toy). You could fashion some sort of brace to the stand if you are worried about that being a problem. If you haven’t a huge collection of spools, just purchase new ones from the wood sec-

Encourage your child to spell his name, sliding each letter onto the organizer. Or play a game where you call out a letter and she finds it and slides it on. You could choose to put pictures onto the spools instead of letters...or wouldn’t it be sweet to paint a face on a bead and make little people for your child to line up? You could even make your own homemade version of the game “Guess Who?”

autumn 2010



kitty cat treat bag by charlotte lyons

halloween sampler

Print this page directly onto fabric for the Halloween Sampler banner, page 22.


adding color to embroidery

Use a transfer pencil to iron this design onto your project. For more wonderful patterns like this, visit


learning toy

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up next? merry christmas! crafty style