More Clip-on Earrings

Seasonal Clip-ons

Today my husband and I grabbed our passports and crossed over the bridge from Johnstown, Ontario to Ogdensburg, New York.  I was on a mission to find a dress pattern for an 1812 costume and findings for more clip-on earrings.   My husband wanted to fill up our gas tank.  We headed first to the Joanne store where I was thrilled to discover the very things I was looking for and more.  I bought up all the remaining packages of clip-on backs.  I was looking for the silvery kind, but only found one package of them.  The rest were gold coloured.  Then I pored over the buttons and found a bag of pumpkins, two bags of Christmas buttons, a card of two Santa head buttons, some shamrocks and a pretty pair of violet flowers I couldn’t resist.  I would have liked to fill up my basket, because there were some cute daisy buttons, some pansies, a bag of snowflakes and one of cute ghosts.  As it was, I managed to find a white paint pen that I needed too.  The dress pattern took a bit longer but it was in the Burda pattern book as a “Josephine” gown (otherwise known as Regency).  I didn’t need material, because I am planning to use an old sheet set  that has been sitting in my linen closet.  I will post a picture of it when it is finished.

As soon as I got home, I took out my wire cutters and took the loops off the backs of the buttons.  Then I heated up my glue gun and went to work making my earrings.  The ones pictured above are the result.  I am very pleased with how they turned out and can’t wait to wear my pumpkins for Thanksgiving (Oct. 8 here in Canada) and for Halloween.

A Wedding Memento

ImageI have wanted to take my wedding invitation and make it into a wedding memento for a long time.  I saw the one that someone had done of my sister’s invitation and thought I could do something like it.  However, her invitation had been burned around the edges and I sure wasn’t going to try that with only one invitation on hand.  Besides, I’d had to do that with my children’s history projects many years ago and believe me it is risky.

Our invitation had a deckled edge, so I decided rather than cut out the invitation part, I should just tear it carefully, which is what I did.  I sanded the dollar store wooden plaque oval and then painted it a very pale yellow acrylic paint (front and back).  After it dried, I used white glue to affix the invitation and decorations to the plaque.  Afterwards I gave it one coat of Mod Podge.  Then I used a dry brush method to paint on the gold and used a cloth to wipe most of it away.  It took me a few coats to get the desired antiqued effect.  I then brushed on another coat of Mod Podge.  I have already sprayed it with an acrylic sealer, but I think it needs another coat of Mod Podge.  All in all, I’m happy with the way it turned out.  I know this is not a unique craft, but I think that it could be done for a birth announcement,  a graduation program or even your grandmother’s wedding certificate.  It would make a really nice gift for a new bride, a new mom or a graduate.  Handmade gifts are appreciated and cherished when done well, so take your time and enjoy the process.

The Blue Bird Box

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This craft all began with the fact that my friend is getting married and the theme for her wedding is blue birds. It certainly is a lovely wedding theme as blue birds mate for life.  I found part of her gift right away, by walking into the tea room/gift shop in Morrisburg, called “The Basket Case”.  It was there that I discovered the first part of her gift -a perky little pair of blue bird salt and pepper shakers.  I was thrilled with my purchase, but I wanted the gift to be extra special so I decided to make a decorated container for the pair.  I found an unpainted wooden chest-shaped box at the dollar store and planned how to transform it.

I decided to paint the box a pretty sky blue with acrylic paints.  Once it was painted inside and out, my husband sprayed it with acrylic glaze.  Then I lined the inside bottom with soft blue felt which I glued in place and trimmed with scissors.  I wasn’t sure what I would use to decoupage the top until I remembered that I had some pretty blue flowered paper napkins.  I first of all separated the two layers of napkins and then I cut carefully around the flowers.  I then covered the top of the box with white glue (I will probably use less glue in future projects).  I placed the cut out flowers on the glue in a pleasing pattern.  After the glue dried I placed a number of blue and silver sequins on the box top as well with glue (I restrained myself from adding more than about ten).  My next step was to add Mod Podge  by brush all over the paper flowers and sequins.  I did about three coats, drying each coat carefully before adding the next.  I stenciled “love” in a darker blue on the front and covered it with Mod Podge too.  The final step was spraying acrylic glaze over it all again and putting the blue felt on the bottom of the box to protect any table it is put on.  Altogether, I was very pleased with the results, although I need more practice in stencils.

I had also been working on a painting of blue birds to go with the gift.  I tried it in various medium and liked the results I got with water colour pencils, gouache and soft pastels the best.  I was very anxious to know how my friend felt about the gift, so I was relieved that she and her husband-to-be seemed so delighted with it.  It was an enjoyable project to do and I would do something like it again.  I’m thinking of maybe making my three grandchildren treasure boxes with their names on them the same way.  I love having crafting projects.

Wedding Dresses

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Yesterday, I foolishly tried on my 43 year old wedding dress.  I say foolishly, because forty-three years ago this coming September, I was a totally different shape.  Four children and the fact that I eat what I cook took their toll.  I managed to get the dress as high as my waist (empire still is fairly forgiving) but that was it.  The reason I was trying my dress on was because of all the 1812 re-enactment events going on in the area.  I had hoped that some day my daughter would be able to wear my gown, but she tried it on when she was a teen and as she is much broader across the shoulders it was a no-go.  Besides, her taste in clothing is very different than mine.  I like the odd frill; she prefers tailored clothes.  I wonder really how many young women now would wear their mother’s wedding gown.  Not many, I imagine.

During and after WW ll brides were restricted because of material shortages to what they could wear for their weddings.  Two of my aunts and my husband’s mother, opted for a smart suit with a stylish veiled hat.  My mom, on the other hand, being very sentimental, decided to wear her mother’s 1910 wedding gown.  Luckily, my grandmother was an accomplished seamstress who re-designed the bodice of the dress to make it more in step with the times.  ImageImageI

I think they both made beautiful brides.

I decided to make my wedding dress because I thought spending several hundred dollars for a dress I would only wear once was just too wasteful.  I thought perhaps that all those years in Home Economics should may be put to good use (I’d think twice now).  My material plus the trims, thread and zipper came to about $90.  I bought cotton eyelet and lined it with satin.  I’d forgotten until yesterday, just how heavy that was.  I made my sister’s gown too as she was going to be my maid of honour and my friend’s mom made hers.  The girls wore flocked turquoise organdy (same pattern as my gown) with white velvet ribbon belts.

All of our flowers cost more than the dresses.  It was over $300 for my bouquet, their baskets, flowers for the lapels and corsages.  That would be a real bargain now.  I never even considered centrepieces for the tables.  I was just happy to have the tables nicely set.  Now I would probably re-think that.

My biggest concern about sewing the dress was keeping it clean.  I put a large white sheet under my sewing table and bundled up my dress in that when I wasn’t working on it.  We also had a lovely tortoiseshell persian cat who delighted in pouncing on my material whenever the opportunity came along.  Poor Bibby got unceremoniously shut out.

I had my mom’s old White-Elna sewing machine to use and I spent many a frustrating time untangling threads and replacing numerous bent or broken needles.  I even pricked my fingers when I was hemming the gown by hand.  I expect my great grandmother used a treadle machine and my grandmother no doubt learned to sew on it, but by the forties she would have had an electric machine.  I know that my sister and I received many a dress from her sewing room when we were little.  When I think of the gowns made in 1812, all by hand, I feel very humble indeed. Those amazing mothers and sisters made all the family clothes, from overalls to wedding gowns.  Some of them probably even made the material on their looms.  We really do have it so much easier than they did.

Well, I won’t be wearing my wedding gown for a costume.  Perhaps someone smaller will.  In the meantime, guess I’d better find myself a pattern and some material.  Friends of mine are using cotton sheets to make theirs.  That sounds like a great idea.  I can make a “mob” cap easily enough but the straw hat to top it might take some thinking.  I have a few ideas….

Fun Earrings for Ears Not Pierced

If you are anything like me and cannot have pierced ears ( been there, did it and ended up with a messy infection due to an allergic reaction) or you simply choose not to, you might like an alternative.  Years ago when ear piercing was not so widespread women wore clip earrings.  You may have noticed that they are almost impossible to find now unless you haunt estate sales, auctions or your grandmother’s closet. I have long admired the cutesy earrings worn by friends who do have pierced ears.  It seems that they always have seasonal earrings in their earlobes – Christmas Trees, Easter eggs, Halloween pumpkins, etc.  I was envious because I just had to make do with the pairs I had which were sparkly, or the right colours for the season.

Then one day I was looking at some photos of the beautifully knit sweaters a friend had made for my children when they were small.  They had puppy, cowboy, and kitten designs on them with buttons to match each design.  I remembered seeing other buttons for children’s clothes and even some for adults with interesting shapes and objects on them.  Hmm, I thought, I wonder if I could use actual buttons to make some fun earrings for myself.  I made a trip to the craft department of a local Walmart and sure enough I found some daisies, yellow ducks, and apples on the button rack.  I then searched for the snap-on earring findings.  These are a bit harder to find.  I needed the kind that have a flat surface on which I could glue my buttons.  A crafts store like Michaels is the best place to look, but even then it may be quite a search.  The helpful clerk at the store I shopped in suggested a trip to a second-hand clothing store might be the answer.  They often sell bags of old clip-on or screw-back earrings for a mere pittance and the unwanted decorations could be removed so that the findings could be re-used.

I did find the kind of backing I needed, so I heated up my glue gun and prepared to make my earrings.  The first thing I had to do was take the plastic loop off the back of the buttons.  It can be done very carefully with the wire-cutting pliers.  All that remains then is to hot glue them to the metal backing.  I was a bit concerned that the glue might not hold but I have worn my earrings several times and they are still intact.  Use just enough glue to fasten the buttons securely to the backing.  Wait until the glue dries completely before trying them on (ear burns otherwise). Buttons with holes are good to use as well.  You could always put a small bead in the holes if they bother you, but otherwise, don’t bother.  No one will notice and if they do they will simply think it is part of the design.

Have fun making your earrings.  Today I found some really great strawberry buttons as well as some with air planes, tugboats, and trains. I also saw (but didn’t purchase) some nice black and white lace designs and some bumble bees and lady bugs.  Actually, you might find some great buttons in your own button jar at home.  Never throw away a garment without checking the buttons.  You never know what treasures you have in your rag bag.