Category Archives: Crafts – Cheap

Autumn Altered Book, update

autumn altered book cover scaled

autumn altered book chicken page scaled

autumn altered book front door scaled

autumn altered book living room scaled

autumn altered book spine scaled

I wanted to show a few of the updated pages from the Autumn altered book I began last year.

Go here for the original post.

Part II, here.

Not a huge amount of progress, but some.

Maybe next year…

Leave a comment

Filed under Altered Books, Autumn, Books, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper

Creche Patterns Suitable for Stitching, I


Today’s post is from another of the vintage Christmas magazines I bought at that great thrift store in Watertown, New York.

The directions are to make these ornaments from the craft-weight aluminum foil, but I think they might actually be more nicely done as embroidery on felt or muslin.

Design by Margreet Akkerman.

[Taken from McCalls’s Christmas Make-It Ideas magazine, vol. VI, 1963]

3 Comments

Filed under 1963, Antiques/Vintage, Christmas, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Textile, New York, Vintage Christmas, Vintage Magazines

Nativity Quilt Ornament

Design by Mary Ayres

The pattern was on a page with lots of other images, which I edited out. Therefore, the original instructions to enlarge to 200% is probably wrong, unless the intent is to make a wall hanging rather than an ornament.

[Project from Crafts ‘n Things magazine, December 2007; design by Mary Ayres]

8 Comments

Filed under Christmas, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Textile, Faith, Needlecrafts, Sewing

Paper Houses

First the caveat: Please, please do not put a real tea light in these. They’ll catch on fire in a New York minute.

Found the pattern and instructions here on Just Something I Made. These are the easiest ones I’ve made; they go together very quickly, although I didn’t go to as much trouble as Cathe did. No bottoms in mine and I didn’t cut the windows, etc.

Mine aren’t Halloween houses; of course, the pattern can be modified many ways. Instead of using decorative paper, I mostly used stiff magazine pages with large areas of graphics. The gold colored house was a Godiva chocolates ad.


My favorite, I think was the one made from a book page. It looks particularly good with the battery powered tea light because the paper is more translucent and it sort of glows.

To make the chimney, I folded another piece of paper into a square, using a glue stick to affix the edges. Then I folded it in half, opened it back up, cut little slits in the bottom, folded the little cut strips down and glued it onto the roof. The smoke was made by glue-sticking two pieces together, cutting them into a curved shape, then gluing it down into the chimney.

At Just Something I Made, she cut the windows, but since I didn’t want the haunted house look and didn’t want to figure out my own pattern for regular windows, I just cut little squares of paper and glued them onto the sides.

The front door is just snipped up, then across.

Next I think I’ll try enlarging the pattern about 35% and making a little village, altering roof lines, putting on a little gingerbread trim, etc.

These would look great for a Christmas theme. Or with the bottoms glued on and a hole punched in the top for a string they’d be cute tree ornaments, or on a string of fairy lights.

Hutch Studio has some very cute ones for sale if you prefer to buy them in a kit rather than make your own patterns, etc.

2 Comments

Filed under Book Page Projects, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Internet links, Using What You Have

Autumn Altered Book, Part II

Next steps … but still in progress.

3 Comments

Filed under Altered Books, Autumn, Books, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Thrift, Using What You Have

Autumn Altered Book, Part I

For this project I’m using a Country Living Halloween book. It has lots of fall colors and pumpkins and things.

First I tore out a lot of pages. It was hard for me to do this step when I started making altered books, but the simple fact is that after all the embellishments are added, the book will be too thick and just wont’ close. Sometimes that may be the desired goal, but not this time.

The pages on the inside cover are orange with lighter spots of cats and jack-o-lanterns. Since this isn’t a Halloween book, I covered the pages by stamping a leaf pattern all over it.

The picture below shows the unstamped page (on the left) and then the stamped look (on the right).

Next, I use a glue stick to affix the pumpkins onto a piece of book page, then placed it onto the lower left-hand corner. The piece of book page had been used as a base when I was spraying glimmer mist onto something else. It left an interesting pattern and looked just right for the pumpkins. They were clipped from a Mary Englbreit Home Companion magazine.

This page featured instructions for making a Halloween scrapbook. I covered the felt cut-outs with a stamped image of old-fashioned ink pens. The background paper was from the time my sister (Fran) taught me how to use alcohol inks. The pens just seemed to complement the idea of the scrapbook.

To change the wording, I used a piece of junk mail that had fall leaves on it, and dotted the words “All My Blessings”.

It probably won’t be completed this year because I’ve learned that after putting something away for awhile, fresh ideas will come when I pick it back up at a later time.

Tomorrow I’ll post more photos of it.
Next, I took

1 Comment

Filed under Altered Books, Autumn, Books, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Thrift, Using What You Have

Simple Handmade Cards

This paper from a tablet didn’t seem to need anything else on the cover; the left page on the inside has a brown stamped coffee cup and I included a bookmark to match.

The right edge of the front has been roughly cut around the flower outlines. It would’ve added some color if I had affixed about a 2″ yellow edge on the inside, which would showcase the flowers a little better.

Here’s an example of an idea that just didn’t work out. This strip of pansy printed vellum looked good inside this card – until the fixative came loose. I used a glue stick and it just wasn’t permanent. Perhaps the peel-off double sided tape or glue dots would’ve been better. And it should’ve been narrower. This page is too cluttered and not enough room to write a message.

This stamped edge would be another good one to cut around the right side.

2 Comments

Filed under Cards, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper

Handmade Cards for Men

It’s not easy to produce a handmade card for men – at least, it’s not easy to make one that’s not cute or feminine or … I think you get my drift. Most of the rubber stamps and techniques are geared toward women, and that’s fine because we seem to appreciate handmade crafts. But when handmade is important to you, as well as tailoring a card for the recipient’s taste, the field narrows.

These are some of ideas that I experimented with. They aren’t fussy and over embellished (embellishments are something that my husband really doesn’t understand) and somewhat masculine. I hope.

The card above with the trophy is stamped onto plain cardstock, layered onto a slightly larger piece of diamond patterned paper, then onto plain cardstock folded into a card. My sister bought the stamp from the dollar bin at Michael’s (I think) and gave it to me.

(The diamond paper came in a package of mixed patterns and I thought “What in the world am I going to do with this? By itself it’s blinding, but with just the edge showing it really sets off the stamped image.)

I buy my cardstock in a large package at Wal-Mart. 500 pages with recycled content is less than $5.00, which is much cheaper than at the office supply chainstores. Using my paper cutter, I cut the pages in half- but I don’t cut all of it at once because I might end up with too many small cards and too many large envelopes.

Also, I included a matching bookmark.

For this card, I distressed the basic card front with a brown stamp pad (as well as the 3 hole reinforcers). The layered paper is from a large pad of decorative paper. Usually it’s best to cut off the white edge, but I decided to incorporate it into the design. I punched three holes at the top, stuck down the distressed hole reinforcers, and wrapped just a bit of black pearl cotton through the holes and around the top.

After stamping the postcard on the lower left edge, I affixed it to the distressed cardstock.

The finishing bit was to use a dashed stamp in black ink on the sides. My sister gave me that stamp. It was one that she cut off of a larger foam stamp and it’s quite useful.

Now I have a postmark stamp which would’ve worked well on the upper right hand corner. Or, a torn piece from a cancelled stamp and envelope could’ve been used, but that’s getting into embellishments.

I really like to use what I have and not have to buy things for specific projects. The more versatile the supplies are, the more I can use them and make my craft money go further. (Further? Farther? I wasn’t sure even after looking them up.)

3 Comments

Filed under Cards, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Words and Wordsmithing

Floral Altered Book pages

from Fran's Floral Altered Book

These page layouts are from an altered book my sister made; her theme was Flowers.

On this page, she distressed the pages with purple and buff colored stamp pads, used a daisy rubber stamp, magazine clippings for the flowers and heart. The wavy floral paper scrap was from a drapery sample book, which she ran through a crimper. Also she stamped a tulip on a layered tag and used a bit of photocopied ephemera.

From Fran's Floral Altered Book

This is one of my favorite altered book pages of all time. The purple flower is a silk one, and I wouldn’t have thought of using it because it’s so thick and bulky – but it’s perfect.

Besides the silk flower, she used a purple stamp pad for distressing the page, embroidered ribbon, words cut from a magazine (Home Grown and Spring), rubber stamp, and a decorative paper napkin.

4 Comments

Filed under Altered Books, Cozy, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Family, Using What You Have

George Washington Silhouette



Here’s the George Washington silhouette that I promised last February. The above tracing is from the instruction page (last photo in this post) and enlarged to 200%. The nose is not quite right. If you prefer to trace your own, click on the instruction page to enlarge it, then click again on the magnifying glass.

It’s the closest I could find to the ones that we always cut out and used for crafts back in the early 60s when I was in elementary school at Mingo.

Go here for the Lincoln silhouette outline.

One additional note: an optional background is to print off the Declaration of Independence setting the darker/lighter button much lighter than normally for the font. For an antiqued look, use a tan piece of cardstock.

These pictures are all from Holiday Touches for the Country Home, Memories in the Making Series by Leisure Arts.

3 Comments

Filed under Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Heros, Holidays, Using What You Have, Washington's Birthday