Crafting Memories ….

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Hi y’all. It’s finally Friday!

I don’t have a new “crafty” something I’d like to share this week. I have been very busy getting ready for a get together at my house. But, I do have a “craft memory” to share. I guess for me, crafting is quite often about creating memories through various projects and scrapbooking.

But, I have been organizing myself and getting ready for the transition between Fall decorations and Christmas decor. I remembered a project from last year that I absolutely love and plan to expand on this year. Well, I guess this project started about 14 years ago. Now, you say, “she is the queen of unfinished craft projects.” Not quite, but close.

When my daughter was about 5, I decided we needed a Western themed Christmas tree. (I have several themed trees now). Western-themed Christmas stuff, at least in Texas can be expensive! It’s not too bad when you are only adding a piece or two, but we were starting from scratch. So, it was DIY for us. We started by recreating some rope garland I had seen in a department store. I don’t remember the exact cost, but it was something like $40 for a 6- or 8-foot piece. Pfftttt! We made it with an old red bandana and $5 worth of rope from the hardware store. It turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. We are still using that “garland” today.

However, you can’t fill an entire Christmas tree with rope, so we also made ornaments out of dough. Using cookie cutters, we made boots, stars and Texas shapes. My daughter helped me make them. Those are some of my most favorite ornaments I have ever had because of the memories we made. Unfortunately, over the years, the dough ornaments have fallen apart. I think I only have one or two of those left. I have been able to amass quite a collection of holiday stars, cowboy Santa’s and more since then. Even though that tree is full to the brim now, I still enjoy shopping the after Christmas sales every now and then for new finds or picking up new items while on adventures with my family.

Whew! That was a lot of jabber to get to the point of this. Sorry. Last year, I wanted to add something larger to the tree, and do it within a budget. I’ve already talked about my Silhouette Cameo and this is just another example of a project I was able to do.

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I made these stars from red, green and Kraft scrapbooking cardstock. I made them in several sizes, using one 99-cent cut file purchased from the online Silhouette store. I don’t remember quite how many I made, but there are quite a few. In all, I spent less than $10 including paper I’m sure I bought on sale. Cutting them out was a cinch, however gluing all the green and red insets onto the star was a little time consuming. Some of them I ran through the sticker machine and sped the process up a little. You could also totally do them without the insets and the project would take literally minutes.

This year, I am making a few smaller stars to add to the garland on my mantle. It should cost me nothing, as I already have the cut file and some of the paper left from last year. Yay for no-cost projects that make a big impact!!

TOOLBOX TALK: I’ve talked more than once about my Silhouette Cameo and how much I love it. This is not a new machine, but it is a good one. The biggest plus, you don’t have the added cost of buying cartridges of files to cut.

There are so many files out there you can cut and you can pick just what you need, rather than buying a whole collection only to use one or two items from it. There are a multitude of websites that offer low-cost and even free files. I get most of mine from the Silhouette subscription program. Subscriptions start at $9.95 a month, but for that $9.95, you get $25 worth of files. Most files are 99 cents. They also offer a clearance section each week with files for 50 cents, and every Tuesday they offer one FREE file. LOVE it! I’m addicted. I’m amazed at all the scrapbook embellishments I’ve used and crafts I’ve done using their files. I just use the search function to find something specific to match what I’m working on. There are thousands of files and fonts you can choose from. Check it out if you have a chance:

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Keep in mind, you can also cut the fonts you already have on your computer and convert any clip art or shape you have to an SVG (cut) file. I use an online converter, but if you are computer savvy there are other ways to do it as well, I just like the ease of the online converter I found.

With Silhouette software, you are also able to create your own art, alter or resize files you already own. It is so easy.

The only drawback I see (and it is small) to this electronic cutter is that is not super portable. You do have to hook it to a computer with the Silhouette Software on it. This computer “houses” all your cut files.

Until next time ….

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Confessions of a “Martha wanna-be.” This will be my journey ….

Wow.  It has been a long time since I last blogged, years in fact.  That’s hard to believe because I love to write.  More so, I love to create anything, but life gets in the way…. thus my long hiatus.

I have decided that now is the time to start doing something I want to do…this will be my journey to be the organized, creative and entertaining person I know is inside of me.  I, as is my home, am a work in progress.

I’ve set some goals for myself, some things I want to do in the coming days, weeks, months and even years.  I may be a little old to start with this kind of  venture, but hey… why not??   My children are older (10 and 19), my life has slowed down somewhat and my current career doesn’t require me to exhaust my creative juices during the work week.  I now have the time — and more importantly — the determination to do this.

Let’s start by explaining my title …. Cooking, Crafting and Chaos.  That is my life.  Better yet, maybe my title should just simply be Chaos.  There’s no better way to explain it.  I spend a lot of time taking care of my home and family, going to my son’s baseball tournaments, sending goody boxes to my daughter at college, cooking, trying new recipes, testing the waters of selling Pampered Chef products and playing in my very disorganized craft room.  All wrapped up in one package it is CHAOS.  Chaos is served daily at my house.

I confess, I am somewhat of a “Martha Stewart Wanna Be,” I know with all the negative publicity around her of late, I should probably not admit this. Yes, I want to be like her in some ways. But, I don’t want to be her.  I’d love to have her talent, her drive to do what she enjoys doing and be able to make a living doing that. (Her money wouldn’t hurt either). Although I respect what she has accomplished, I want to be like her minus the jail time and the famed, hardened personality.  So maybe I just want to be my own version of her.  Just call me Martha Shelly 🙂

I’m starting with this blog.  For those of you who know me, you know it will be filled with cooking, crafts and lots of talk about my husband and beautiful children —  All the things I love and yes, lots of just plain chatter.  I’ve spent the last few weeks browsing blogs and YouTube channels and enjoying what so many other people out there have to offer.  I’ve even spent some time revisiting my past blog posts (now posted here).  It has reignited my inner creativity that I could never find time to use.  I can do this.  I’m starting small with goal of posting here at least once a week, and eventually three to four times a week.  Hopefully, making this public will keep me committed. Hopefully, I will also find some readers.

Then, on to harder goals.  I’d love to do a video blog.  This is a big fear, especially for someone self-conscious about everything from her accent (yes I have one) to her graying hair, to the disarray of my home.  It’s so much easier to hide behind your words; to share without being seen. But becoming what I want to be includes conquering some fears.  So, here goes.

I’m looking forward to sharing my journey — including successes and failures — with you.  Let’s do this together.  I have a lot to learn, so be patient. There will be lots of recipes and crafty projects, lots and lots of time spent organizing and beautifying my home and, I’m sure, lots of rambling.  I like to talk.

Until next time…