Thursday, August 11, 2011

Altered book transformation - creating a purse from an old book


And here is what I have been working on lately.... An altered book that turned into a purse... I decided to focus myself on creating for the purpose of creating with this piece instead of attempting to direct my work towards a visualized end result, and the outcome was fantastic (I think).  I had so much fun with this project and the processes involved actually engulfed me.  I had a difficult time waiting for stages to dry, as I was so involved with the techniques and methods while working on this.  I did not set out with an expectation of what I would create, instead I just let myself create without pressure or stress.  What I started with was a Readers Digest hardback condensed book, and I new I wanted to take a stab at trying to alter it- but, I did not intend on creating a purse.  Mishaps became blessings in the process and when one avenue did not work, I just allowed the work to head down a different path.  I did photograph each of the steps and plan to make a tutorial in the upcoming week.  I hope you like this as much as I do. I used the butterflies on the front to symbolize the flight and freedom of the project, and the bicycle represented moving forward on the path.  The purse has a fabric lining and the entire exterior has been lacquered to preserve the design elements.  A mixed medly of techniques and applications were used including collage, image transfers, sewing, painting, stamping and embossing (to name a few).

I hope you take a few minutes to explore the wonderful creations of others presented at the parties I plan to participate in with my purse- find them at the following:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Somewhere over the Rainbow Challenge with Inspiration Avenue.... Floral cuff entry

So, after a long pause in my "web participation", I have jumped back in- and one of the first things I did was visit Inspiration Avenue to see what I had missed.... Wow!  A lot of beautiful work has been posted in the challenges lately- and I was saddened to see I had missed the Angel Faces Auction!  Last year I had so much fun with the auction and bought a gorgeous pendant from one of the participants!  But, I am determined to keep up with my "web-ly obligations" and get back into the swing of things.  Unfortunately, life happens and we sometimes get called off the path of our journey- the key is to hike that hill and find your way, again.  This week the challenge at Inspiration Avenue is Over the Rainbow, and considering the massive downpours we have had in Illinois- I thought this one was fitting for me!  I did not have a lot of items on hand to create a multi colored project, (hmmm... maybe I should break out of my box and explore this a little more, though)- so, I decided to go with a cuff that I recently made.  It has a mix of colors and blends of fibers, but also has the greenery that comes after the rain with the rainbow and a blend of floral colors and embellishments.  When I was creating this one, my idea was focused on Spring- a chance of renewal, opportunity, growth, and metamorphosis... Each spring, our environment changes drastically, offering us a peek at what is to come over the next few months. There is also a chance for something new, something different to emerge from the ground- seeds from last fall have spread, the birds and wind have blown new startlings into your plot- and their is an excitement in waiting for what is to come.  It is also an opportunity to grow and emerge differently, in a new place, in a new way, in a new perspective- the flowers you planted last year will look incredibly different this year as the growth around them leads to a new background for them, the hardiness that comes from the nutrients stored from the winter months, and the appearance that has evolved as the plant has matured over the year- similar to what we all go through in our lives.  We change and grow as we learn more, experience more, enjoy more, and sadly, suffer more.  But, all of these instances create an ongoing process of metamorphosis within us.  I am sure most artists can find an emergence within themselves over the past year as they acquired new skills and techniques, broadened their view of the world around them, found more symbols and icons that represent their perceptions, and gained a new appreciation for what they deem as art.  I know this has occurred with me- I have learned so much over the past year and am so grateful to those who share their knowledge with others.... and with that, well winded post, I will now show the cuff that I entered and hope that it has enough color blends to qualify....

If you have not participated in an IA challenge, take a minute to check the blog out- each week a new challenge is posted.  Even if you don't enter, it is well worth a few minutes to see the beautiful works that the entrants create.  I loved the last challenge with the purples and greens- my favorite color blend- and the challenges are so thought provoking and really give you the "prompt" you need when block has set in.... Check it out here:

Check out what Mommy Tyme has been working on... New cuffs with fabric, wire, crochet stitching, felt, and embellishments

Well,  long time no write... For those of you who check in often, I apologize for my absence- it has been a  hectic time in my life but I think we are finally beginning to reach smoother ground- and although I have not been writing, I have been creating (my escape)!  Lately I have been imagining some really elaborate jewelry designs, but the technical composition needed to make them work is eluding me!  Frustrating!  So, I have been scouring the blogs and trying to earn some new skills that may help me pull some of these designs together- I know that I want to add my crochet passion into the design, but pulling it all together without a mix mash mess look is still the hurdle to jump!  But, in my attempts, I have come up with a few new designs and pieces that I am pretty happy with!  Below is my new cuff- and I have made a few more, each with individual embellishments, so the end result is unique!  What is fun with these is the mix of fibers and textiles- I have had so much fun rummaging through my stash of material, fiber scraps and odds n ends- I think I am actually learning to spin these into a unique fiber that will become the foundation for some future projects (if I had a wheel or spindle, it sure would make it easier since I am currently using a knitting needle for the  process!!)- anyway, here is a fun example of one of the cuff's.  This one is made with a felt backing, a mix of wire, rayon blend fabric, ribbon, an amber glass focal that I created a wire crochet bezel for- and it is pulled together with a silver colored chunky chain and hook clasp to make it completely adjustable.

Well, I am off to link up with a few parties and see what everyone else has been up to....

PS - we just got back from an awesome trip to the Southern Missouri woods, where we rented a cabin with a private pond and just spent some time enjoying our family, quiet, and nature... I wanted to share some of these with you, also!

As always... thanks for spending some time with me today!  If you have time, please visit the website and make sure to sign the guestbook at  By signing the guestbook you receive an instant coupon code for 10% off your next order from Mommy Tyme Gifts- and if you sign up for the newsletter, you can receive a coupon for 20% off your next order!  Keep up to date with all the latest items, freebies at my shops, and contests on the blogs!  Sign up for the newsletter at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beaded Ribbon and wire crochet Earrings in Pink! Crochet with Mommy Tyme Gifts!

I love FaveCrafts, don't you?  I am always browsing around and finding awesome new ideas or techniques.  Well, I have been thinking about sharing some of my own patterns with my readers here, and thought that it might be cool to get published at FaveCrafts, also!  So, for my first attempt at publishing a pattern/tutorial with Fave Crafts, I am offering up my Pink Ribbon and Wire Beaded Crochet Earrings.  I recently showed these on my other blog, but I haven't had a chance to share them here- so, let's get started.....

Pink beaded ribbon and wire crochet earrings- They are truly not difficult to make, just a little awkward in managing the tension and holding the ribbon as you work.  I actually became addicted to this new technique and have made several other pairs of earrings this week using a few types of ribbon, some with beads and some without, and differing shapes.   I should note, however, that I have seen several different crochet with ribbon jewelry items out in the Crafty Corners of the web- but, I have not seen any that include the wire, nor that use the same pattern I have come up with.  I have found some that use about twice as many beads, and that stick with slip stitches for a tighter more "beaded" look.  I was going for a flower motif with these, but the point I am trying to make is... once you get the stitches and feel of how these materials blend when working with them, you can really go any direction with it.  Create pendants, trivets, bracelets, whatever... limit yourself only by the constraints of your imagination!  So, now let's get busy....

ribbon-these are created with a satin ribbon about 1/2" wide.  To start with, though, I would use the thinnest ribbon you can (about a 1/8" width) so that it does not get so twisted and difficult to manage 
thin wire for jewelry making
beads (use a bead you are comfortable with for your first project- and keep in mind if you are creating earrings- too big will be too heavy on the ears!)  I used approximately 14 small white acrylic beads because they are so lightweight. 
crochet hook - I used a size F

Let's get started! 

1.  String your small beads onto the wire, keeping the wire attached to the spool.  Wrap the wire back onto the spool once you have the beads loaded.
2.  Keeping the ribbon attached to the spool, grab your ribbon and the end of your wire and make a slip  knot.  Slide your hook in to make the first chain.
3.  Holding both the wire and the ribbon together make a chain stitch.  Next make a beaded chain stitch (to make a beaded chain stitch, slide the bead up to your work so that it is laying next to the hook, crochet the chain by grasping your ribbon/wire just past the bead and pulling through your loop.  It is literally the same as making a regular chain but just utilizing the ribbon/wire from past the bead for the next stitch. 
4.  Make another chain stitch without the bead.  Make another beaded chain stitch.  You should have a chain of 4 stitches- 2 with beads and 2 without. 
5.  Slip stitch into your first chain to make a loop
6.  Chain 1, then bead single crochet into the loop.  To make the bead single crochet you are making a single crochet but pushing the bead up close to your hook first, then completely the single crochet so that the bead lies on the opposite side of your work when you complete the stitch.  (a little more technical for those who may be feeling uncomfortable with the bead stitches:  push the bead up close to your hook and keeping the bead in that position, take your hook and go into the center of the loop- NOT INTO A STITCH OF THE LOOP BUT IN THE CENTER OF THE LOOP, Yo, draw loop up and now you have your one loop with a bead and one without on your hook, yo and pull through both loops.  Your bead should be sitting on the back of your work.)
7.  Bead single crochet into your loop 4 more times.  You now have 5 BSC around the loop.
8.  Slip stich into the top of the first bsc to complete the round
9.  chain 2 (counts as first dbc).  This round we are doing the same thing as last round but making double crochet stitches and increasing. To make the bead double crochet stitch, push bead close to hook, yo, insert into stitch indicated, yo, pull through stitch, yo and pull through first two loops, yo, pull through last two loops (the last one has the bead) and your bead should be on the opposite side of your work.   So, bead double crochet into the same stitch you did your chain 2 with to start this round.  Bead double crochet into next stitch of the previous round.  Double crochet into same stitch you just completed then bead double crochet chain into.  Bead double crochet into next stitch, then double crochet into same chain.  Continue until you go all the way around. You are basically stitching 2 double crochet into each stitch of the previous round- one with a bead and one without.   Slip stitch to top of first dbc of this round.  You should now have 10 stitches. 
10.  chain 1, then slip stitch around the entire piece.
11. Cut your ribbon and wire from your work leaving about a 4" tail.  Tie off.  Hide your wires and ribbon ends, cut close.  You may want to put a dab of glue on the back side to hide the ribbon end.
12.  Turn your work over so the beads are showing.  Insert earring hooks through any of the last round of slip stitches. Make sure the hooks, when inserted, have the end of the hook facing to the wrong side (side without beads showing) so when worn the beaded side will be facing outward.

That's it!  Questions?  Piece of cake once you started, right? 

Well, Have fun with it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting to know the Squids ... Squidoo Hop? Create a lens to market yourself

Well, recently I find that I spend most of my time creating and barely any time marketing- which, unfortunately, now I have a lot of items in my stores but my sales are just not coming through.  It really is amazing how much can change if you take a few weeks off from promoting yourself.  Well, it happened this weekend I was checking out a few blogs and browsing some linky party entries (which I just love to see what everyone has created recently!) and I stumbled across an entry by a Bit of Sunshine at Poetic Creations.  One thing led to another, and I followed links to an awesome post and idea for Squidoo hops!  Squidoo is an amazing opportunity for learning and promoting- plus, you can even make a little money if you get enough viewers!  I have several squidoo lenses and it seems I am constantly adding more information to each one as I come across it- but, I rarely promote them.  I love to browse through the lenses other people have created, too.  Especially if you are looking for crafting tutorials.  Because squidoo has a template and several modules that are structured to organize the information efficiently.  Many modules are set up to do step by step presentations of the information, others allow you to add links to a list (which is really cool because you can add the "add to my lens" bookmarklet to your toolbar and as you find interesting and applicable things on the web you can just add them to your list), and some even feed your blog, your Etsy, and other information about YOU to the lens.

The Squid Hop promoted by Marsha's Spot and A Bit of Sunshine at Poetic Creations  offer s you a chance to talk about your lenses, and hopefully find some new readers.  Exactly the same as a Blog Hop, but you are talking about  the lenses you  have created.  So, I want to take a minute and let you know about a few of mine..

I recently created  a lens about Mixed Media and Altered Art techniques.  I have talked a lot lately about my fascination with collage and mixed media, especially in jewelry!   I happened to have a canvas lying around and a few months ago I saw this cool technique in Cloth, Paper, Scissors for adding texture.  I did a piece on my canvas that started with the technique I read about, and then just emerged into several other techniques.  I was so in to working on this project I could not leave it alone.  I would be up until 3 in the morning and
not even realize it.  I am addicted.  Since then, I have tried to learn EVERYTHING I can, and as I find new information, great links, fascinating and inspiring examples- I was bookmarking them!  Then, I thought, why not create a lens so everyone can catch the bug ?  So, here is the link:   

 The next lens I would like to share is Marketing you Handmade- and of course, this one arose from necessity.  When I first began my venture of selling my products, it was SLOW moving.  I almost gave up- but, I happened to join a few Ning networks that were great communities for supporting and promoting one another.  I began to feel a little more confident and the sales started coming.  But, it is never a stagnate process.  Once you start creating and selling your creations, you learn very quickly that you have to change it up frequently.  I am not talking about changing the product (although, sometimes you have to do that, too!) I am referring to how you get your product "out there" for the world to see.  Simply opening a store front is not going to get the viewers you need or want- and there is constantly new social networks, new advertising, new ideas (like this Squid hop!) that can offer you great opportunities.  So, the Marketing lens gives you some basic First Steps, and then moves on to a variety of ideas on keeping your name in the current scene.  I am always adding to it as I find new links, pages, blogs, etc. that can help you along!  So, check it out at

And- there is a module on this lens where you can Add your shop name and URL to the list!

So, are you thinking you might want to join the Squid Ranks?  Ready to create a lens about your shop?  Something you are an Expert on?  Have advice to share?  Well, it is free- Easy- and once you start, I guarantee you will be hooked!  Here is a link to get you going:

And if you want some Squidly advice from the pro's... Check out these blogs:

And finally, once you get a lens up and running- or if you already have one- join the link hop:

Also, if you have a lens- make sure to add it to my lists on my squid lenses and I will come back and lens roll you- and feel free to add your URL here in the comments- so I can find and "Like" you!



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