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Christy, my Sweet Sister Swap partner sent me her package of Halloween goodness.  She gave me a sneak peek at her project, but it was not as lovely as the finished item and only one small part!  Check out the goodness she bestowed on me…


She made me one of her Morsbags in the appropriate color for the holiday, a cute decorated tin filled with my fav Reeses’ cups (most already gone), some cute Halloween buttons for projects, one (of two) Tootsie Pops that her son Nathan sent to me (he had them covered with white tissues and decorated as ghosts), and a handmade Halloween card with such a sweet picture and the glittery embellishments and buttons added.


Now that thing that was part of the sneak peek.


Here are each of the panels panel close up.




Thank you, Christy….I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!  I appreciate all of the handiwork you put into this and have placed it proudly on my front door for the holiday.  Thanks to Nathan, also, for the most excellent ghost lollies!  I loved them so much it was the first candy I ate!

I spent the last 2 days working on some smalls for the craft show on the 4th of November.  I decided to play with my felted wool and create some small holiday brooches.  These whipped up quickly and I had a lot of fun making them, too. 

felt brooches1

They are teacups, oak leaves and Christmas trees (or should it be holiday trees??).  I used some templates I located using the google image finder for each of the objects and then used a simple blanket stitch to sew it on.  I then sewed on the pin back. 

oak leaf

Here’s hoping your week is filled with scary, but sweet surprises! 

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to 3 pretty new ladies each resplendent in her glittery best…

Ms. Jasmine

Dotee Doll

Princess Plum

Princess Plum

The Petal Pusher

Petal Pusher

These are the dolls I created and embellished for the Dotee Doll swap on Swap-bot.  I think I have gone cross eyed from staring at the tiny beads all day, threading them on the needle and sewing them to the bodies.  I do love how they turned out.  I was most worried about the hair and how to create that.  I think I did fine.  The flower on Princess Plum is one of a pair of crocheted earrings that I thrifted.  I cut the post off of it. 

I am sure that the new owners will most likely rename them, but for now and as I was working on them those are the names that came to me.  The girls will now take a very long trip to the homes of their new owners in IL, CA and TN. 

Secondly, the mail was nice today.  Here is the handmade Halloween postcard from Gypsysong again from my Swap-bot swaps.   

Halloween Postcard

I love the foil touches, the faintest little Boo and the vintage image of the lady all ready for the Halloween Ball.  Too great and thanks, Gypsysong!

There was some more goodness in the mail today.  I received my Ikea bird fabric I won for 99 cents on Ebay from Kilita1.  If you are looking for Ikea fabric this is a great place to find it.  I have bought others and they have arrived quickly and were great fabrics, too. 

Also, I received the fabric squares and the fall scrapbook kit from Vegas Moonpie on Etsy today.  Check out the cute paper, the ribbon wrapped on little wooden spools, the floss, the felt leaves, and the little samples (brad and heart button).  I really love Etsy as all of the sellers wrap the items so it is like a present to open it.  It is that extra touch that makes all of the difference.

Mail Package

Lastly, check out the link to the post below that caused me to spend part of the afternoon today picking up acorn caps in the backyard.  If you know anything about Chester, where I live, you know there are a plethora of oaks in the village.  I guess afternoon was really about 5 minutes. 

Check out this creatively crafty idea on Betz White’s Blog.  She creates fabulous things using wool from thrifted sweaters.  I am thinking about using some fabric to create the acorn part.  Stay tuned this might take a bit to perfect.  Her idea with the wool balls is great and so pretty. 

My challenge to you this week is to bring a bit of nature into your crafting.  It can be real nature as in acorn caps or imagined as in your interpretation of the season.  Leave a comment when your project is completed and let’s all see!

I received this great postcard from my Swap-bot Halloween postcard swap.  It was created by WillowsMarika from Hungary.  It is a paper postcard and made a flawless trip across the miles. 

Marika Postcard

I love the texture of this card, the technique of it and that she (it appears) cut out the Halloween from a newspaper.  There is also a picture in the upper left of a bat that didn’t photograph too well. 

Marika Card Back

This is the back of the card.  The box on the right was put there by me.  I don’t have a photo editor sophisticated enough to blur my address.  I love the quotes she put on the back appropriately themed for Halloween, huh?  The parts with the quotes and the address part are sheets of paper that it appears she burned the edges and then added to the card.  The spiders are all hand applied, too.  I guess the blue label is Air Mail in Hungarian? 

I love this card and will give it a place of honor for the holiday and show it to all of my artsy friends, too. I want to figure out what she placed on this card to give it the texture.  Does anyone know what the medium may be? 

Now a little tease for my Sweet Sister Swap Partner Christy.  I wonder what it could be?  Of course, I know what it became, but Christy doesn’t.  I am pleased with this one.  After she receives it I can show you the finished product.  We don’t swap until the 20th so be patient.  It is worth the wait! 

cat for sweet sister swap

And lastly, I went to check out some new (to me, that is) thrift shops in town.  I went to Family Thrift Center and Love of Jesus Thrift both located on Midlothian Turnpike.  Both are worth the drive, but please be aware of your surroundings if you visit either. 

At Love of Jesus, I purchased some medium treat bags for my friend’s shop to use as small bags for purchases.  They are really cute with snowmen pictures.  I also found a set of a man’s burgandy silk scarf with fringe and 3 pocket inserts in the original box from a shop in Newport News.  It appears to be from the 50’s and one of the inserts has Merry Christmas on one side and Happy New Year on the other.  It is attached to a card from the dry cleaner that provided it and I am going to consign them.  I also got a large package of tissue paper for the same shop and a few Babar cards for the images for card making.  All for the grand total of $4.34.  Nothing was marked and I had no idea how much they were.  I thought if it rang up too much I could do that embarrassing supermarket checkout moment of I don’t have enough money.  I didn’t have to it was 4 dollars and 34 cents!

At Family Thrift, I got a large bag of ric rack, seam binding, cording, etc for $1.98, a canvas tote to embellish for $1.98,  a yard of quilted backing, a large bag of fabrics (4-5 yards or more) for $2.98, 2 6-packs of styrofoam balls, and some fabric baseballs (small circles in fabric for collages) for 45 cents.    I found these in the bag of seam bindings, etc.


They also have a metal piece that I assume keeps it in the stuffed animal that you make with it.  Can anyone use 6 pairs of eyes to use with your softies and want to do a reciprocal supply swap?  If so, leave a comment and I will send them your way.  If no one does they might be cute for an eyeball ball for Halloween.  I have some styrofoam balls that I am saving for some Christmas ornaments. 

If you are interested in visiting either thrift and you are in the area here are the addresses:

Family Thrift Center

5432 Midlothian Turnpike

Richmond, VA 23225

(804) 231-1737


Love of Jesus Thrift

5503 Midlothian Turnpike

Richmond, VA 23225

(804) 230-4144


I will definitely be back to both.  The Family Thrift Center is the same company that runs Fan Tastic Thrift in the Fan, but I believe that Family Thrift is much better stocked and not so crowded. 


Hope you enjoy the rest of your day!

What a great mail day.  I love mail days!  Just look what Mr. Postman brought to me…

From Myra in Vancouver, BC some very lovely handmade cards.  She used some of her own pictures for the cards. 

Myra’s Cards #1

She covers all the card giving holidays with some just because themes thrown in, too!  Here are the rest and a little journal she made for me, too. 

Myra’s Cards #2

The lily in the pic above is one of her photographs.  She does a fabulous job!  Thanks, Myra!

Also, just look how Ms. Kirsten from the Preppy Pink Crocodile says “thanks!”  Look at the plethora of perfection she sent to me!  A placemat purse, some grosgrain ribbon, some thrifted buttons (she is a newbie to thrift shopping, but doing very well!), a coffee cozie that she makes (I asked to see one), and some fallish cheese spreaders.  What a great way to say thanks for some rolls of pink and green ribbon that I sent to her.

Kirsten Thanks

And lastly, some fabric and trims from Japan!  Aren’t they lovely?  The trim has numbers and ladybugs on it.  Too cute.  She also sent some notepaper and apple bags.  The candy was eaten before the pic was taken.    I purchased them from good-ness’ shop on Etsy. 

 fabric from good-ness

A day when it is a happy time to open the mail indeed!

Swap Receipts and B-day Package

Yesterday (9-24) was my friend Angela’s birthday, but when I got home and went to my mailbox I thought maybe it was mine.  Above (in the blue) is the package I wrapped for Angela.  I picked up a couple of rolls of blue banner paper at the Goodwill that I thought would come in handy.  It certainly did as it matched the tote I gave her for her birthday perfectly.  Tied with a grosgrain ribbon and with a pretty tag using the date stamp I thrifted to record the date and you have one pretty package.  I added a couple of my bird stamps since the tote had a bird on it (the picture is like the one with the orange handles, but I got her the larger size like the green). 

Also in the picture above is the necklace that Sabrina made me for my optical crafters swap.  She, Myra and I met on an optical board and decided to swap among ourselves.  It is a lovely necklace.  I can hardly wait to wear it.  It is the kind of elegant necklace that can dress up jeans and a crisp white shirt or a really dressy outfit.  I LOVE IT! 

I also received the handmade Halloween cards from Ingrid in Ontario.  We participated in a Swap-bot Halloween card swap.  The tree card is my favorite.  I think I may frame it as it is too lovely to send.  I am trying to figure out how she made the tree on it, but will probably ask her.  She also made me the bookmark from a recycled card.  Too cute and a great way to recycle.  It would be a great gift for treat bags at school, too.

The last 2 pictures are 2 more totes I embellished.  I have been on such a bird kick lately, haven’t I?  I really like the word fabric that I used on the one on the left.  I found it at a quilt shop here in Chester, The Busy Bee.  I have seen it many times, but only recently went in.  It is a trove of fabric and fun.  They are very helpful and often have FQ’s and fabric bundles for $1 and 50% off respectively.  It is in the Village Green section of Chester down from the gas station on the corner.   

And, I tried the new chai combination that the Starbucks person told me and it is thisclose to what I am used to drinking.  1/4 chai liquid, 1/4 water and the remainder milk for a full cup, bless you Starbucks barrista!  I thought for a bit I might have to toss the liquid.   

You can click on the flickr link on the left to see any of the pics close up.  Have a great rest of your week everyone!

Remember these witches?  Well lookee what they became…

Swap-bot Halloween Postcards Completed

I added some pumpkin background fabric, embroidered a couple of spiderwebs, sewed on spiders from my Halloween confetti, added glitter glue and verigated thread that the colors reminded me of candy corn.  Since the embroidery was done with black thread I had to place a heavy(ish) muslin on the back and then fuse the background fabric to that so you wouldn’t see the black through it.  Pair the front with this swirly fallish background fabric and you have one sweet postcard for my swap partners.  (Stay tuned to see how you can partner without the reciprocal swap!)

I also finished two other projects to consign.  Start with a thrifted messenger bag in either tan, green or khaki, wash them, iron them and then embellish them with fabric, a bit of embroidery, buttons, lace, some fancy stitching, threads, etc.     I find the templates mainly using children’s coloring pages which I locate using Google’s image search function.  The coloring pages are usually the outline of the objects and are normally large images, too.  If you are specific in your search terms (template OR coloring AND tree OR teacup OR your image here) you can normally locate what you are seeking quickly.  If you play around with the image in Word or your photo printing program you can size it as you need it.  I find that resizing it in Word gives me the most specific sizes I need.  I use my photo editor program to crop out the parts I don’t want to print as much as possible and then print the image on heavy paper so I can save it for another use as needed. 

Tree EmbellishmentTeacup Embellishment

I fuse the image to the fabric with Wonder Under and then embroider around the image if the fabric permits it.  The tree was placed on a leather tote bag that I found nearly impossible to hand embroider.  I decided to use my machine and stitch around the image (don’t shudder, it was a very soft and thin leather or I would not have thought about it).  After the sewing I then took my fingers and roughed up the edges of the fabric to cause it to fray a bit.  I like them to look rustic.  After that it seemed to be a bit on the plain side so I located four buttons that matched various parts of the leaves  and sewed them on with yellow embroidery thread to make them pop a bit. 

With the teacup, I outlined the image with a blanket stitch and added some outlining at the bottom of the cup to separate it from the saucer.  You are probably wondering why I placed that piece of fabric in the middle of the grommets on the strap?  It was because I was missing that grommet.  The fabric is on both sides and I outlined the patch with a zig zag (2 times around) and then a X (2 times also, with the zig zags placed bottom to bottom so it looked like a design) in the middle to reinforce it more as it will get a bit of weight on it.  On the inside of the bag by one of the pockets there were several short red ink lines…enter big wooden vintage asian inspired button and it was never there.  It happens to have been on the flap right on top of the velcro closure ideal place for a button, right! 

The messenger bags are easy to find at the thrift shops and don’t we all like them better after they are broken in?  Someone did the breaking in for us.  I sold this one  to see how much “action” it got before I invested in making more.  There were several people that made comments about how much they liked it, wanted it, needed to get the money to buy it, asked if I had other designs, etc.  I decided to go ahead and make more of them.  I get the bags for a song, the fabric is mostly my scraps from other projects.  It is a very inexpensive, but sometimes time intensive and visually appealing item.  You never know what people will like??

Now the part where you can partner, too.    If you leave a comment about any of the projects, questions or thoughts to tweak any of them, I will put your name in a hat and pick one on Friday.  I will send you a Halloween fabric postcard (I made an extra one), too.  Complete with a personalized greeting from me and sent via mail to you!  Boo-tiful, no?  Bewitchingly greatScary cool?  Wicked easy?  (Please stop me!  I could go on forever!)

Enjoy the last bits of the weekend!

F R_McElman_070716_2442 E E DSCN5969 Uwithreflection

I thought I would share a bit of the free wealth of stuff on the internet.  I have a couple of blogs hosting giveaways and a couple with free project ideas.  Check them out!

First, Sweet Jessie is having a giveaway.  While you are there check out her super sweet blog, too!

So here’s how to play (there’s two ways to win):
1.Leave me a comment telling me what you would make with the fabric (or what I should make with mine).
2. Tell your friends about the contest – and tell them to tell me you sent them!

Comments will close Saturday the 22nd at midnight

One winner will be drawn on Sunday, September 23rd, and the person that referred them will win the second prize! The more people you tell, the better your chances of winning!

Make sure to tell her I sent you!

Second, Sugar Sugar is giving away some notions and things.  Check out her too cute blog while you are there.  The winner is drawn on 9-21.

Then there are free project ideas on Country Home’s site.

The Purl Bee is packed with projects in all media.  I made the fabric gift tags with the idea from this site. 

It occurred to me today that I had not posted a pic of the items I received from the Just Stuff Swap on Swap-bot.  The items on the right are from my partner in England and the ones on the left from my partner in Minnesota.  the only item missing from the left pile is the lace I used in the birthday postcard

I also received the first set from my handmade Halloween card swap.  These are from Kimberly from Wisconsin.  The bat on the card on the right is drawn by hand.   Since the cards are black she placed swatches of tan paper on the inside to write on.

I have been looking for some new drapes for my bedroom as the current pair is older then I care to admit.  I found just the pair at the Goodwill today.  They are custom made draperies and I got them for $4.99!  It is a chocolate brown background (think milk chocolate) with the sweetest viney pattern on it.  There is also a label on them saying the shop that made them, who they were made for and what room in her house they are for. 

The pair is a bit narrow for my window, so I spent this evening taking out the pleats at the top.  Tomorrow I am going to sew two lines across the top to accomodate my curtain rod and they will be perfect.  I had this brain storm when I got home.  I thought if they don’t work for the curtains the fabric will make some pretty tote bags. 

This is a close up of the pattern.  It is very minimal and lovely, isn’t it?  Can’t wait to hang these puppies up.  I recently found a set that was hand printed for the craft room makeover.  It is a scandanavian pattern and more of a cafe length.  There were 9 panels in all (the craft room has the same large window).  They look great!  The craft room gets a lot of the afternoon sun so it helps to shade it a bit.  I got these 9 panels for the same $4.99.  I love Goodwill. 

I have to make a teacup pincushion for an auction for the United Way.  A crafty friend asked for a donation so I have to have it done by tomorrow.  I was at a shop in the Lakeside section of Richmond on Saturday after meeting a friend for lunch.  The owner of the shop I was in asked me to bring some by for her to see if she would like to carry them in her shop.  I love when a short conversation works that way! 

Have a great rest of your weekend!


Here at the cards that I will pick 2 for each of my swap partners. I ended up making 16 total.  You can use the link to the left to my Flickr photos to see them up close in groups of 4.  I have promised one to a friend in NC and the remainder I will sell at Torman. I found the cards at Michael’s in the Martha Stewart Crafts line. They were $7.99 for 8. You can see somewhat in the picture they are scalloped on 3 sides. Too cute. She packages them with a silver metallic gel pen to write in the card and address the envelopes. I purchased one for each of my swap partners to send with the cards.

In addition to various Halloween images, I used some ribbon, halloween confetti and some small fabric autumn leaves for adornment. Some of the papers I found were really pretty. The 2 with October on them are 12×12 pages that I cut out that image from the paper. I also used a bit of yarn on the card with the wizard to simulate the magic spell feeling.

 Tags for Halloween Cards for Swap

I also created these tags to add to the package I will put the cards in to send to them. I cannot wait to hear what they think. One of my partners is an artist and the other a scrapbooker, so I am anxious to see their goodies.

Swap-bot Pressies

Here are my swap-bot Just Stuff items all wrapped and ready for the mailing box.  I had 2 partners for this one.  One in CA and one in TN.  The sad thing is that they are not the people that send back to me.  I like it better when there is reciprosity. 

I received a package from one of my partners who lives in England yesterday.  I got a couple of gel pens, some postcards from her area in England, some stationery and buttons and ribbon for crafting.  Cute package and it FLEW from England to me.  The other person has e-mailed me it is on the way!

Thus far I have not been thrilled with my Swap-bot experience.  In my first swap I got back the fat quarter from my partner.  In my second, I sent 3 fabric postcards only to receive one back.  The other 2 partners flaked on the swap.  I know that is the risk you run, but one of the flakees was the swap coordinator!  It also appears this is not the first time she has done it either.  Wonder why they would let her coordinate a swap then?? 

I did sign up for one more which is a handmade Halloween card swap.  You have 2 partners and you send them 2 cards each.  I enjoy making the cards lately, but have to get working on my bag I mentioned here that I was to make.  I have the squares all ready and will sew them together this evening. 

I got an e-mail from Vicki that she received my Self Portrait postcard and that it was a “really clever self portrait.”  She makes some pehnomenal cards and from her that is quite the compliment! 

On the job front, not much to report.  I briefly spoke with a recruiter from a company in the city and I hope it proceeds further.  Time will tell.  I keep hopeful that it will all work out okay and I will end up where I am supposed to be.  I believe everything happens for a reason, but most of the time I think that reason must be a twisted one (LOL)!  God does have a sense of humor, right? 

Enjoy your day and the LONG weekend!  Travel safely and if you are beaching it…beach it for me! 

Quote O’ The Month

"What this world needs
is a new kind of army
- the army of the kind."
~Cleveland Amory

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cindyforeyes at earthlink *dot* net

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Richmond, VA

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