Monday, June 30, 2014

Beautiful Envelopes

I don't have any of the tools used in this video, but I still love the creativity and it gives me a whole new perspective on envelopes.

JustRite is a company that designs stamps to work with special die cuts.  Visit their channel for more amazing papercraft ideas from their blogger design team.  Their Pinterest page is loaded with almost 350 boards of nothing but papercraft ideas too!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Shadow Queen

Sandra Gulland's 5th novel is out!

Summary (From
1660, Paris Claudette's life is like an ever-revolving stage set.  From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family's acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother's astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Claudette finds working with playwrights Corneille, Molière and Racine to be deeply rewarding, but like all in the theatrical world, she's socially scorned. 

A series of chance encounters pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning "Shadow Queen." Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant. 

Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find that court is very much like a stage--with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king's bed. 

Indeed, Claudette's "reputable" new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs begins to lose her grip on the Sun King, her use of the magical arts take a dark turn, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life at risk. 
Set against the gilded opulence of a newly-constructed Versailles and the blood-stained fields of the Franco-Dutch war, THE SHADOW QUEEN is a seductive, gripping novel about the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape the future of France.
 Athénaïs de Montespan
Athénaïs de Montespan
Review: I am a BIG Sandra Gulland fan so was very excited to pick up this book. Unfortunately, it didn't fulfill all of my expectations, but that being said, my expectations were pretty high.

I still enjoyed it. I just found the first half of the book a bit hard to get through. The back story is needed but it was just a bit much for me. I think this book is more for those who enjoy the details of everyday life in 17th century France.

I'm more a fan of the drama and intrigue of court, which is probably why I enjoyed the second half of the book much more. That's when the main character, Claudette, joins the kings mistress Athénaïs, and the madness of court life begins. With all of the drama that goes in these women's lives, you'd think it was 100% pure fiction. Who could possibly live a life like that? But these women really existed and they really did live the unbelievable lives depicted in this book! Mistresses were honoured, babies were given up, superstitions were facts of was a crazy time.

In many ways this book is different from Gulland's previous writings, even though it overlaps slightly with the storyline from her last book - Mistress of the Sun. If you like Sandra Gulland's other books, and enjoy historical fiction, give this book a chance and be patient. In the end you'll be glad you did.

Pierre Mignard Claude de Vin des Oeillets.jpg
Do you enjoy reading about the English court or the French court more?  Do you think you'd survive court life?  Leave a comment below~

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Birthday Cards

I have two birthday's coming up soon so I thought I'd better get on it and make a couple of cards.

Now, I will readily admit, that card making is not my strong suit.  In fact, it's not something I'm good at at all, but I figure these kids will be more interested in what's in the gift wrap than the card, so I don't mind giving them these.

I sure hope I got it right and it's actually my nephew's 8th birthday!

I used my Silhouette to cut out a big "8" shape, smothered it in Mod Podge, and then gave it a good layer of glitter.  I used a mid weight cardstock (in fact, it was from a pantyhose package...yes, I still wear pantyhose from time to time).

I kind of figured my goose was cooked at this point, but I just let it sit overnight and it flattened itself right out!

Inside, I went overboard and used as many craft supplies as I could fit on one page.  I tried stamping, using cut outs, a flag, inking, you name it it's there.  I think this is my problem with cards, I try to put too much into it.

So, for my niece I decided to play it simple.

I don't have an embossing machine but I do have some folders, so I just stuck my card inside a folder and pressed down as hard as I could, and I got some lovely impressions!

Then I just added some 3D butterflies from Silhouette.

This time the inside is pretty plain.

I keep trying to tell myself that I would not be any better at card making, even if I had an embossing machine that does die-cutting.  But I'm still dreaming of getting one some day.  I guess I'll just have to prove myself wrong~

Do you have any card making tips and tricks or good sources of inspiration?  Leave a comment below.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

6 Inches Lighter

Sorry for the lack of posts lately but it's been nothing but cold and rainy here lately and all I want to do is curl up under a warm blanket and read a book (yes, it is actually summer here, it just doesn't feel like it).

So, I decided it was time for a pick me up and went to the hair salon!

I was going to go much shorter but of course, the nearer my appointment got, the more freaked out I got, so I went for this instead.  It's not drastically different but it's several years of hard growing out time gone, just like that, in a snip!

With my large collection of hair pieces and clip-in extensions I'm pretty brave about cutting these days.  I figure if it's not working for me, I'll just throw some other hair in and fix it.  But I'm having fun with this cutesy cut.

I noticed a few people staring at me while I was out shopping the other day.  I hope it was because they were admiring my hair, and not because I had something on my pants or some other embarassment that only they noticed.

This was the original inspiration that I chickened out of:

cute cut

I'm feeling a little Kit Hoover "newscaster" ish with my new do, but it still works.

Do you like it better long or short?  You can be honest, like I said, I can go long again quite easily.  Leave a comment and let me know~

Monday, June 23, 2014

Movie Monday: Draping a Cowl

This is one of the best draping videos I've come across.  Nick Varreos make it easy to understand how to create a cowl neck.


Go to LookTV for more of Nick's how-to sewing videos (and some other pretty fun stuff).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

DIY Doily Purse

I bought a giant doily awhile ago to use in a T-Shirt refashion, but up until today it was still sitting in my closet in a bag.  So I decided to finally put it to use, in an entirely different project!


I'm thinking about going to an outdoor music festival this summer and thought this would fit in with the hippie vibe that usually happens at those sorts of events.

This is such a simple project, anyone can do it.  Here's what you need if you want to make your own:

-Giant doily
-lining fabric
-standard sewing kit (you can hand sew this if you don't have access to a machine)
-purse handles (if you can't find any, you can make learn how to make your own HERE)
-zipper foot (not shown)

Before we start I'll show you just how big my doily is.  In reality, it's not really a giant doily, it's more of a very small table cloth:

You can get any size you want and any shape.  In fact, I think a rectangular one would probably be much easier to work with but this is what I had on hand so I made it work~

1) Lay out your doily and then lay your lining fabric on top.  Cut your fabric to the same size (ish) of your doily.  If you have a frilly edge don't get too fussy.  This will all be turned over eventually so it doesn't need to be perfect.  Just be careful not to cut your doily underneath.

I used some left over tricot knit that I had but anything will do.  If it has just a bit of stretch though it will help if you're sewing the whole piece onto your handles using a machine.  If you're hand stitching I think cotton would work just as easily.

2) Pin the edges down.

3) Secure with a straight stitch close to the edge.

4) Fold your lined doily in half and mark with a pin 1.5" up from the bottom on both sides, each layer.

5) Guide the doily onto your first purse handle making sure not to go past your needle markings.  If you want to be able to open your purse when you're done, this is very important!

6) You need a bit of patience for this part but it's not hard.  Just adjust your fabric so that it folds over the purse handle opening.  It may gather a bit and you may have to use a lot of pins, but just keep at it.

Now is when you decide if your hand stitching this onto the handles or using your machine.  If you're using a machine be careful which way you put in your pins, and most importantly, make sure that your handle will fit under the sewing machine arm.  You can get away with a large handle on one side, but you'll get stuck if you're doing two.  Luckily mine fit!

Tip: This is much easier with a zipper foot and you can get nice and close to your handle.

7) Carefully and slowly stitch down your edge.  This won't make sense until your actually sewing, but don't worry too much about moving the handle through the machine, think more about moving the fabric.  The further you go, the  more you'll be able to gather onto the handle behind the needle.

Be patient.  I had a spectacular needle break (bits of needle went flying everywhere!), but that was only because I suddenly started rushing.  I slowed down and it all went very smoothly.

8) Repeat all of this on the other side and you're done!

See how nice the top opening is?  If you stitch right to the centre you'll have a heck of a time getting anything in there.

That's it!  The perfect bag to carry your lipstick, TP, flashlight, cash, and whatever else it is you take to an outdoor music festival~

Take a look at some of my other purse/bag projects:
1) Embroidered Bag  2) T-Shirt Bag  3) Asian Bag  4) Wool Tote  5) Summer Bag  7) Scarf Bag  8) Hathaway Purse

It's been pouring rain here for about 2 weeks straight and I'm about to lose it.  Leave a comment and send me some of your good weather if you have it~

Monday, June 16, 2014

Quilting in Space

Two of my favourite pasttimes come together in this and sewing!!

Visit the Quilt Festival channel to find other videos that showcase some truly amazing works of art.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Shell Earrings

I've been on the road most of this week for work so it's time to pull out the jewellery making supplies for a quickie craft!

Aren't the painted shells gorgeous?  I completely forgot that I ordered them, so was very happily surprised when they fell out of my latest Wholeport package.

Here's what you need to throw together your own perfect summer earrings.

-2 shepherd hooks
-4 medium size jump rings
-2 medium/long eye pins
-2 large round cabochon shells
-4 natural beads (I think mine are coconut)

1) Slide 2 small natural beads onto your eye pin.  Then cut it down and make another eye on the other end.

2) Using a jump ring, attach one end of your eye pin to the shell piece.

3) Attach another jump ring onto the other end and through the end of the shepherd hook finding.

That's it!  Couldn't be easier.  Just make another one and you've got a pair.  Watch the direction of your jump rings to make sure the shells don't swing the wrong way, but other than that...easy peasy!

I tend to go a little boho chic in the summer so my jewellery changes as well and gets much more casual.  How about you?  Do the change in seasons signal a change in style for you?  Leave a comment below~

*This post is sponsored by however no compensation was received other than the product shown and all opinions are my own.


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