Thursday, October 18, 2012

Napkin Rings

Renee Townsend - Google+
Well, if you love buttons and beads like I do, I have a project for you!!  You will need 54 to 56 buttons or flat beads to make one nice size napkin ring.  I have used a combination of both buttons and beads.  The buttons are in various colors of yellow, green, orange, white, beige and brown.  The flat beads (with only one hole) I used make up the red in the napkin rings.

Items you will need for a set of 6 napkin rings include:

-Good work area with plenty of room (I used a piece of white cardboard so everything would stay flat and intact)

-Roughly 334-336 beads and buttons (I used mostly flat beads), 54-56 per napkin ring

-Stretch Magic cord

-Super Glue Gel (much less of a mess and I think it works better too) - or some other good craft glue

-Small plastic bin to put counted out buttons and beads in

-Medium sized craft bags

First sort out all of your buttons and beads by color and by count.  Lay them out in a plastic bin, as shown, s o they will not 'get away from you."  As I mentioned, you will need 54-56 total beads and buttons for one ring.  You can always use just beads or just buttons.  Put together a prototype of how you want your colors to look.  I wanted mostly red so I used red flat beads (they just happen to be made of red torquoise) to make up the majority of my ring.  I interspersed the red with buttons in the colors mentioned previously.  Any color combination you like will do.  Just try to keep your buttons or beads as equally proportionate to each other as possible.  Some of mine are bigger in diameter, but not thicker in width.  This allows them to lay nicely around the napkin.  I put 3 to 4 red beads together and then a different color button, more red beads, another button of a different color and so on.  Since I did not want to do the entire project in one sitting I put my buttons in plastic bags to work on as I had the time.  

This is a good evening project to do while watching TV once you lay out the buttons for the 2nd time in the plastic bin.  When ready to begin stringing, you take the Stretch Magic cord and begin to string on your items in the order you have placed them in the bin.  I set mine to string from left to right and just followed each row.  Finally after all the buttons and beads are strung, clip the stretchy cord and tie two hard knots.  Apply Super Glue Gel to knot so that it will stay in place.  (Strechy cord tends to slip easily out of a knot if not glued and that would make a big mess - take my word for it - it happened to me!)

With the color combination I chose, the possibilities of placemat and napkin colors you may use are simply endless!  I do my kitchen in red, veggies and chili peppers.  (Mom {Nina} made the Chili placemats for me and I think the green napkins are a nice contrast to the black and red in the mat and completely make the green tops pop with color!  Of course they look good with plain white napkins as well.

I first found the long strand of beads at a local bead shop and then went to my button box, my mom's button collection and my craft buttons.  I picked up some yellow here and there on sale (none of us seemed to have yellow buttons) and I think  some of the orange ones too.  Most of the beige filler buttons are vintage and those I definitely found in our button boxes.  Make your collection fun and try not to hurry.  The fun is truly in 'the hunt for the goods!'


Friday, October 12, 2012

Dress Form Idea

I took a regular dress form, about 17 inches tall, found at a local
scrapbooking store and embellished it with lots of lace, ribbons and bling!

First, spray paint form with two good coats of paint - letting dry completely between each coat - (Using Design Master craft paint in Glossy White).  This is the best craft paint in my opinion with good coverage and less dripping.  Sand good after 2nd coat and press firmly with Tim Holtz distressing tool enough to get a very smooth finish and the beginning of distressing shows.  Spray on third and final coat of paint, again drying thoroughly.  Distress this time with enough pressure for a light distress- or as much distress as you prefer.  Next sponge form with various Tim Holtz Distress Inks to add the 'pink' color.  I use an Ink Essentials hand tool with removable velcro pads (write color of ink in black permanent marker to tell the difference in pads, especially when colors are similar).  I used a combination of worn lipstick and tattered rose finished off with spun sugar for lightening and blending.

Use Modge Podge to attach paper border along dress form lines (they are self adhesive, but do not stay well and tear easy without decoupage).  I used E6000 glue to attach black rose lace all around the bottom and the waist.  (In fact I used E6000 to attach all bling since it was somewhat heavy and would have come loose with hot glue).  Added bows to the bottom and shoulder to 'tie together' the black and pink color theme.  Attached a handmade black rose on one shoulder just above the bow.  I added lots of bling including ribbon shaped rhinestone pin at the neck, a rhinestone and pearl stick pin at the top of the rose and many other charms and goodies.  Even a Fleur de Lis in the middle of the waist.

Dress Form on website soon!  Have one more dress form left - any suggestions about what colors and embellishments to use this time?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Not just any Candlesticks...

I found the gently used candlesticks in the pic below before I found the embellishments and got the idea of what and how to use them.  You may be able to see in the picture that the "spray" on the front of the candle is nothing more than a couple of napkin rings that I found on clearance.  They are intricately beaded and I found them at a chain home decor store for less than $3.00 each.  They only had 2 to 3 of each kind left, not enough for my crowd so I thought awhile and the lightbulb went on.  I could not have bought the supplies for that amount of bead work and my candlesticks were a bargain as well.  I do like the larger Colonial Candles in larger candlesticks like these ceramic ones and the ring part of the napkin ring goes on first and then put the candle down in the stick.  Ad a little 'Stick-Um' on both the candle and the ring.  That makes it hold quite nicely.  Maybe you will try it with brass or silver candlesticks or even glass ones from the craft store.  Have a great week!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Time out for house cleaning...

July 6, 2012

Hi Guys,
Apologies to anyone who tried to read my last blog.  Composed it in word and somehow in the conversion to the blog site my font was a mess and in all caps at that!  It was difficult to impossible to read to say the least! 

Well, web site crafting had to be put aside so I could make some greeting cards and finally manage some much needed clean-up!  You know how it gets sometimes (and then some of you don't) you can't find what you need if it bit you.  My workspace is pretty atrocious right now, however, I know where everything is LOL!  Haven't even made it to the craft room - that will happen some this weekend.  Just had to do the nitty gritty down and dirty bathrooms and all the icky cleaning.  Sure feels good when it is finished.

Oh, I guess I did work on the sewing tray some again this week.  More like took most of it apart and have started over (not completely).  Decided that it was much too involved to do a tutorial on and will save that when I get started back on jewelry designing.   I did go through some beads and some bead books and have an idea for a bracelet made with buttons and beads.  Of course not an original idea of mine, but the bracelet will be original when completed!  I have decided I will get back out my materials I have for some napkin rings made out of buttons and beads too.  Those are all sorted and ready to be thread with the stretchie cord and that goes quickly.  They are very festive since I used reds, greens, yellows and the traditional beige fillers.  Maybe I will work on those one evening so I will feel like I have finished something recently for the website. They are festive, as I mentioned, and just plain summery too!  Pretty casual and might be fun for a cook out.  Not sure if I designed 6 or 8.  Any opinions on whether I should put them on the web site with thin cloth napkins (the polyester ones that you do not iron in all the fun colors) or just put them on by themselves assuming everyone will have their own napkins to use?  Could use a few to demonstrate the napkin ring with though.  One of the craft stores are displaying handkerchiefs as napkins too when using the solid colors.  I suppose you could use print napkins with these napkin rings but they are so colorful already, I vote for solid color napkins. 

I took some time this past week to make some greeting cards for friends and family and I need to watch my time doing those.  I enjoy making cards so much I lose track of the time I spend on them.  I usually don't regret it too much when I'm finally finished -but hey! hours on one card!  Must work on time management skills.  I think I mentioned in my first blog that I would be making some specialty keepsake cards.  Of course I will have birthday cards available, but would like to incorporate some other themes as well.  Would love to hear feed back about the kinds of original - one-of-a kind (keepsake-type) cards you would like to send to friends and relatives.  Right now, I'm working in Paris and French themes some.  I just love the availability of everything Francais!  The antique keys, postcard stamps, papers with French motifs, etc.  My Dad's side of the family are French and my uncle and his wife traced our family tree back until the Souleret's (my maiden name) still lived in France (tres late 1700's), just before coming to the states to settle in New York and finally near Williamsport, PA.  Some French and personal trivia for ya:  [Mon nom de jeune fille entier est le francais - translation: My entire maiden name is French - which was one of the first full sentences I learned to pronounce properly].  My full name is Janelle Renee Souleret-Townsend for those who may have not noticed it on the title page.  My question to my parents was, 'Did it have to rhyme?' (The 't' is silent so it even flowed and I was teased relentlessly - too funny! So maybe I come by loving the Paris and French themes biologically??  Oui, that must be it!  I just found some beautiful creamy pink wrapping paper with a French theme (my aren't I feeling my roots this morning?  I'll brag just a little and say that I took 3 yrs of French in school and still remember quite a bit!)  I'll write a closure for you (with help, no intention of misleading you here) at the end in French, Oui?  'Yes' is apparently all I remember lol!  Anyway, back to the beautiful wrapping paper - I used it to cover my main working table and am thinking about covering some cereal boxes with it to for storage of papers.  Would be copying mom's idea there.  And several Pinterest ideas as well.  Printed all over the paper is everything French:  The Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, many fleurs-de-lis and various stamps and postmarks, never to forget pigeons as well!  All the print is in black but on the gorgeous pink paper everything pops.  It gives me some quiet pleasure in an otherwise unkempt, disorderly crafting/creating area.  Who doesn't love fresh new paper of any kind?  A Big Chief Tablet can still make me smile and don't even get me started on getting new pens or markers.

As for me, I was in Paris, France one night, by accident, in Oct of 2003.  I was traveling home from Italy and my plane was delayed in Paris.  Being all alone and feeling quite intimidated by the years past since I had read or written French - much less conversed with anyone, I stayed at the hotel airport.  I thought about getting a cab to see what I could by just driving around but exhaustion and common sense (what I named it at the time) one out!  It was very late at night and pouring down rain and an unplanned stop to say the least -  so I had  a hot cup of tea and tried to understand the news on the tele and dropped into bed from the exhaustion of traveling, especially internationally.  (And I thought jet lag just meant being tired - naahh- a real thing and worse than just being tired). My main concern was to wake up on time to catch my flight back to the good old USA.  Now, do you wonder if I ever regret that decision I made to stay safely at the hotel airport?  You bet your bottom dollar I do and very much so.  I was young and healthy and I would have just thrown caution to the wind if I had the opportunity again.  Why? When we hear about the atrocities that can happen to women - and men - when out of our wonderful country?  Because I should have realized that such happenstances only happen once in a lifetime and only sometimes do we get 2nd chances!  And I would have had a little more faith in myself and my God and just 'manned up' (or 'womaned up') enough to take the risk and go for it.  Most French people know enough English to get by darn it all!  Talk about wanting a 'do over!' But something tells me to believe in 2nd chances! Because it will probably roll around and I will not even blink.  Ironically, when I was in school, I had the opportunity to be a foreign exchange student to France but my mother would not give me her permission.  Her reasoning was partly the cost, but mostly because -her words - "I just don't feel good about you being that far away by yourself in another country where we don't know anyone and you will be all on your own - your not old enough!"  I threw one conniption fit at the time and stormed around the house for a week or so.  I was trying to grow up and have an adventure and she was holding me back, so I thought.  Secretly on the inside, I was relieved.  I do distinctly remember that feeling of relief that accompanied the tantrum I threw by not getting my way.  But my mother has always known me a little too well.  In less than two weeks I would have been miserably homesick and I know I would have had a difficult time with culture shock.  I learned that about myself when I became the aforementioned Army wife and moved all over the place.  So I can dream of Paris and be proud of my French heritage for now right here in good ole USA.  But France for a second time is on my bucket list.  I even feel like I need to defend the French at times when I hear certain comments or stereotypes used.   I can even take offense when 'the French' are referred to as (thinking) they are superior when they are merely a proud and serious people who take their arts and culture very seriously too.  Now, make no mistake, I do not completely romanticize Everything Francais and European.  I traveled extensively through Italy and that will give you a good sense of what European culture consists of.  It is both wonderful and humbling all at the same time. Not to say that Italia is anything like France - do not want to offend anyone - but I can appreciate each one independently of the other - one has no other choice.  But in most of Europe you will probably stand in line for a pay public dirty toilet and you will be one lucky girl if you make it out without pigeon poop in your hair or even in an ear!  I guess because my dad's side of the family are so proud of our heritage and namesake I first took an interest in learning about the country and it's rich history and culture.  Within 2 years of meeting all of the paternal side of my family at my grandmother's funeral, I enrolled in French I.   Possibly, I do romanticize parts of France that I have seen pictures of and read about.  The quaint little cafes and shoppes we see in pictures to the rolling green countrysides we see in films.  Both the country and the city is a place that does hold some mystery for me, just as it has countless others before me.  When you stop and think of all of the artists, philosophers, etc. and just common citizens as well, who have walked those same streets and countrysides painting some of the same portraits as artists decades before them ---well, yeah - it is kind of romantic.  But mainly it is just a plain miracle and downright amazing that after the world wars it was always restored to it's original beauty.  The buildings were restored or completely rebuilt and the French have earned their pride.  And don't even get me started on the kind of lovers they have always been rumored to be:  Lovers not Fighters, right?  Both since we mustn't forget N. Bonaparte --uugghh won't even go there!  But even he had a tortured romantic soul!  Romance and the French just go together like peanut butter and jelly on white bread don't they? 

My father would be having his 78th birthday if he were still alive on the 19th of this month and I have him on my mind of course with that event coming up.  Who knows why all the French influences have got my insides stirring but whatever the reason I am going to leave you with a few phrases in Francais - which my son now takes in school.  He will be in his 3rd yr in the fall, so if nothing else maybe I will impress him a little - like he'll really read this!  Please forgive my lack of using certain accent marks, as the blog does not seem to have the symbol capability I need for that part of my grammar.

J'aimerais entendre votre conseil a mes questions et remerciements de la lecture.
[I would love to hear your advice to some of my questions and thanks for reading]
See French is easy to learn because it is so similar to English like 'lecture' for reading.  I practiced how to conjugate some of my verbs even -woohoo - just a little more...

Quant a moi, je dois fermer et me preparer au travail.
[As for me, I must close and get ready for work]

Ayez un week-end grand!
[Have a great weekend]

Au revoir pour maintenant mes amis...
[Good-bye for now my friends...]

NOTE:  French phrases dedicated to the Souleret's having all the July birthdays (still in PA) and to my dear aunt and uncle Bill & Jean Souleret who had their birthdays in May (VA) and did the family tree as well as the family newsletter for years.  Mostly for you dad who was always proud of me for studying French. (And thanks for the dollars when I brought home the A's)  Happy Birthday a little early- I miss you.

I'll leave you with a couple of thoughts until next time:

If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain -  Dolly Parton  (gotta love that gal)

and a personal fave...

Tough times never last, but tough people do - author unknown (but sure sounds like John Wayne - ha!)

Friday, June 29, 2012

That was floral design, now there is soo much more...

 June 29, 2012

Well, readers, it’s past the time of“more later” (how I ended my last blog) don't ya think?  I’m ready to share some information about myself while giving you an update about current projects I am working on for the website.

When I closed the last blog I had finished telling you about my first attempt at floral arranging (almost 23 yrs ago now) – with my own silk wedding flowers.  I worried so much about how I would ever get them back into their containers so that I could have company in the home – {and be presentable I thought – lol }-  where we were going to live for the next 2 years. Most everything else (other unpacking) was put on the old back burner, until I finished the flower arrangements.  I felt completely out of control at this point and sorry that I had taken on such a series of projects!  Well, at least they were narrowed down to floral.  If anyone had told me what my craft area would look like now I would never have believed it – honestly!

Well, I made a trip into ‘the city’ the very next day (about 2 hours away).  However, I was on a mission to find a nice lady at one of the craft stores to discuss my dilemma with; someone I just knew would understand my situation.  I took an unnecessary amount of my flowers and supplies with me, just hoping that someone would give me a sense of direction about HOW to even get started on a few projects that had begun to OVERWHELM me completely.

By now, these projects had become much larger in my mind than they could ever be in reality – you know the kind of project(s) I’m referring to right?  Sure you do!  Well, as I suspected, there was a very kind woman who gave me enough tips to get me inspired enough to get home and get started on what I had begun to avoid.  She had me brimming with self-confidence and I was ‘back in control’ after that little trip into the city that particular day.

If you get the opportunity to read this blog – great!  I hope it will get a few things in perspective for you.  Mostly, I just hope 1 or 2 of you will get a giggle at what powerful minds we really do have and that we are ALWAYS in more control than what it seems like we are - even when it feels like we are not in control at all!  Even when it doesn’t seem like it, we are surrounded by choices. We must just pick and choose which ones we want to put our time and energy into since we do not have unlimited  amounts of time and/or resources!  At least I don’t!

Currently, I have several projects in the works.  I’m excited about all of them and quite frankly, I know better than to start so many at once.  Well, part of this I attribute to drying time of several mediums such as gesso, paint, ink and embossing powders to name a few.  Presently, I am working on a printer’s tray with a “sewing” theme.  I’ve just painted some chipboard  flowers and letters with gesso and finally finished a ‘thank you’ note to our cousins in OK that hosted us while we were there for our family reunion.  Also working about 30+ hours at my retail job, took a couple of classes on developing tags and so on…

Life isn’t about finding yourself – life is about creating yourself…
                                                          -George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Just Published Tonight!!

  June 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!  Remember all service members, active duty, retired and veterans - and their families and loved onesYou are so appreciated.  Special hello to all of my military friends!

Well, my sister, Paula, published the website literally yesterday the 27th of June, and we are scrambling to get everything right on our profile pages (at least I am), and I realize that today (12:30am Mon morning) is ironically the 1 year passing of our dad.  We didn't plan this, of course, but how strange.  He would be proud of us and our hard work - especially Paula's. The three of us, Paula (sis), myself and our greatest talent Nina - our mother are on the website!  You can find us at .  Mom and sis have most of the items on there so far - so I am racing to put out items that I hope all of you will enjoy, of course.  However, I hope that you will  take notice of our gifts of unique creativity and awesome quality.  We are very careful in choosing our lightly used and vintage items as well.

My items on the site now are only jewelry.  I will be featuring handmade greeting cards, small flower arrangements, other small items like a distressed, hand stamped letter holder, a small hand painted side table, and later larger tables and chairs that will be distressed and maybe even embellished with new knobs...I can't wait to get started!  I have some fun and creative ideas that will be affordable. Oh, and more jewelry too!! 

I've always had a bit of a creative side and worked in women's retail clothing in high school and college.  I got to do displays and arrangements in the specialized boutique and was a complete "clotheshorse" then.  My mother always sewed and would sometimes make me clothes, but of course I wanted "store bought" clothes.  She never could get me interested in sewing.  I mean I did a few easy things and got the general idea - but my mom...she rocks at being a seamstress and I consider her a professional.  She used to work at a top of the line sewing shop and taught classes about how to use the computerized sewing machines and sergers.  She said they pretty much got her paycheck - LOL.  As sewing became more "techie," I became more intimidated.  Now that the techie stuff is not so intimidating,  I have a growing interest and very littletime.  (By the way, I forgot how much I used to embroider by hand with my Grandma).  I did like to sew on buttons by hand and mend little things.  OK, I've sewed some.  I may even sew on some of my greeting cards; a technique that sue is popular now.

When my creative juices really started flowing was during the preparations of my flower arrangements just before my wedding.  My husband's aunt was doing the arrangements (I had a mix of real and silk).  I picked out the colors and flowers - cali lillies were in then:) and she worked her magic.  I stopped by frequently to see how she was coming along and could not imagine having that good of an 'eye for detail' that she did - at least for silk flowers. 

{To back up a little, original credit for inspiring me was a coworker of mine in the dress shop. Her name was Margaret and she was very artistic and showed me how to wrap beautiful packages and make lovely big bows and even tiney ones.  I watched her closely as she arranged flowers for our large windows.  She was the first person to introduce me to the concept of designing in odd numbers.  This applies to lots of designs and I still use her advice today.}

Well, back to my wedding flowers.  Guess what I did with them later?  I had to take them all apart to fit in the U-Haul we were driving to our first duty station in Dugway, UT.  Believe it or not I put them all back together again, - some the same, but mostly my own creations that time!  She came for a visit not long after we left Shawnee, OK (where I grew up) and told me that she thought I had done a better job of arranging than she had!  I think she even meant it!  Well, there were several years of arranging flowers, making wreaths, etc.  Usally decorated my home and gave away sooo many things as gifts.  That was the beginning of my serious creativity and my confidence was growing...
...More very soon!

Thanks so much for reading.