Inspiring greatness

As the years pass, I sometimes find myself reflecting on what mark I will leave in the world. Of course, my first thought is my children, but what imprint have I left for them? Have I already achieved my opus, or is it yet to be determined?

Today marks the final day of Women’s History Month.

We wrote a post at the beginning of the month asking you, our readers, to leave a comment about the women in your lives that have inspired you. We are not all destined for greatness, but certainly are capable of being great to those around us. Our Create & Decorate readers and designers are such creative and inspiring people! Please take a moment to reflect on your own life with a smile, and think of the women who have inspired you to become who you are today. Recall your mother, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and friends who have taken the time to share their love and talent to guide and inspire your creativity.

As a young child in a family of six, I was given chores as well as the rest of my siblings were. Dusting, watering the plants, setting and clearing the table, and feeding the animals is a quick list. Another of my weekend tasks was to bake cookies. As with all chores, sometimes I resented the household routines, but an interesting result came out of my tasks. My perceptive mother guided me to find two of my favorite pastimes: gardening and baking. I do, however, despise dusting.

Please leave us a comment about a woman in your life that has inspired you in big or little ways leading to your greatness.

In the meantime, here is a peek into my summer garden. I should also post a photo of the dust bunnies under my bed!


“What is it?” Wednesday#6

Happy Wednesday, friends! We hear a wintry mix (sounds friendly enough, but Noelle and I just aren’t amicable toward the concept) is coming our way. We snuck out of the office to enjoy the last predicted sunny afternoon before the weekend, and find some treasures for our “What is it?” game.

Here is today’s puzzle:

Please leave a comment with your guess, and come back and visit us when we post the answer and your guesses this Friday. Noelle thinks you won’t have a problem guessing this puzzle. However, if enough of you request one, we will post a clue.

Website facelift!

The Create & Decorate June issue is hot off the press and is being mailed to subscribers now! Our web master has updated the site pages, so be sure to drop by to see what is new. You will find free articles and projects, just by visiting the site! Why wait, click on over now! This June issue is available in stores on April 12, and is filled with stitchery designs, inspiring painting projects, flea market treasure-hunting, a feature article about collecting wooden ware, and more!

Etsy Extravaganza Winner

And the winner of the book How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products by Timothy Adam is…Karen Stumbo!

She was the second person to leave a comment, chosen by the Random Number Generator!


Karen’s comment:

I have an etsy shop that sells primitive/folk art dolls, and primitive/folk art paintings. I am also the team captain of Primitive and Folk Artists on Etsy, and have a great group of talented primitive artists as part of the team. I would love to win this book, and get tips on how to make my etsy shop more successful!
Prim Blessings!


Congrats, Karen! I will be e-mailing you shortly to get your info so I can the book out to you!

Thank you to everyone who participated, we always appreciate your comments! Remember to keep checking back with us for more giveaways! Happy Friday, everyone!

“What is it?” #5 – The answer

Oh, you are just too smart for your own good! We did have 2 requests for a clue, but most of you had already figured out the “What is it?” puzzle, or were very close.

To read the guesses, click here.

Now then, if we use a more difficult photo for our game next week, do you promise to be good sports and leave a guess?

And now for your answer: a vintage wax paper and paper towel dispenser!

See you next Wednesday with yet another puzzle! 😉

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! –Mark Twain

Ahh. At this time a week ago, the weather had reached the 70’s. All the snow had melted away, the skies were blue, the birds were singing, and you could feel that special warmth of the sun that’s telling you a new–and warmer–season is about to begin.

Well, Mother Nature is a big tease. And as far as I’m concerned, that furry little liar Punxsutawney Phil can stay in his little hidey-hole forever. Yesterday we woke up to this:

I mean, come on! What the heck is that all about? Big sigh. Just when the winter coats have been put away, snow shovels put back into sheds, and new mulch is spread in gardens…wham! Old Man Winter, all smug and stuff, sneers and shakes his cane at us, shouting “Hah-hah! You thought I was done. Well, you thought wrong!” Oh, the joys of living in the Northeast.

In order to combat the blues that inevitably accompany a long, very cold, and veeeeery snowy winter, Beverly and I have decided that if spring won’t come to us, well then, we will just have to make spring for ourselves. Behold, an instant sunny day:

There. Now doesn’t that just make you smile? Take THAT, winter. (And thanks to one of our fellow editors Jane for the supply of pretty papers. It totally pays off to work at a craft magazine company.)

“What is it?” Wednesday #5!

Woohoo! Here we are again, friends. You know the drill by now: Leave a comment with your guess as to what this item is, and on Friday we will post the answer photo and also your guesses.

Perhaps this is a more difficult one? If you need a hint, let us know. If enough of you request, we will post one!


Perfectly Prim

The soon-to-be-released Create & Decorate June issue (on newsstands April 12) is overflowing with creative projects and articles! So much so that we were forced to pull some of our favorite designs and features to use for a later date. Since feature article Perfectly Prim didn’t fit into the magazine, designer Kim Grasso has graciously given us permission to share her June feature column ideas with our blog readers. Thank you, Kim! We are thrilled to have Kim designing her “creepy little dolls” and sharing primitive crafting ideas for Create & Decorate magazine. Below is a teaser photo of her latest doll, Garden Gayle (pattern and instruction are in our upcoming June issue). Please note: If you are unable to find Create & Decorate in a store near you, you may order current copies and back issues from our website. Remember, you’ll save money when you subscribe!

The feature article, Perfectly Prim, originally for our June issue is shared below. Enjoy! Please feel free to leave a comment about what primitive crafting techniques you would like to see in future Perfectly Prim articles. (We have recently shared Kim’s ideas for rusting techniques, prim painting, fabric staining, and special paper Moravian Star ornaments.)

Perfectly Prim

Fabric Stiffeners and Vintage Curtain Tiebacks

By Kim Grasso

So many of our craft projects require fabric stiffeners to finish. Ready-to-use stiffeners may be purchased at any craft or fabric store. To use, simply follow manufacturer’s instructions.

I like to make my own fabric stiffener, and use it when I make very simple, no-sew vintage curtain tiebacks. (They make terrific prim ornies or tie-on’s as well!)

Sugar Water/Salt Water


For product information, see sources on pages 76-77.

Sugar or Epsom salt


Measuring cup, paintbrush (optional), small pot


1. Mix one part sugar or Epsom salt to one part water in a small pot. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly to dissolve. As soon as mixture boils, remove from heat—you do not want sugar to crystallize. When cool enough to touch, brush or dip items in liquid and let dry completely.

Note: This method will give you a hard finish but sugar may attract ants. This method will not hold up in humid weather and may be removed with water.

Glue and Water


For product information, see sources on page 77.

White school glue


Measuring cup, paintbrush (optional)


1. Mix one part water and one part glue together. Brush on or dip items for a permanent finish. Allow to dry completely.

Note: Humidity will not affect finished item. However, since white school glue is water soluble, it may not hold up outside and can be washed out.



For product information, see sources on page 77.

Corn, rice, or potato starch

Cold water

Measuring cup, paintbrush (optional), small pot


1. Mix 1/4 cup of corn, rice, or potato starch with 1-1/2 cups of cold water in small pot until smooth. Cook on medium heat until thickened and clear. Take off heat and allow to cool for easy handling. Dip or brush on items to be stiffened.

Vintage Curtain Tiebacks


For product information, see sources on page 77.

Cutter quilt scrap

Vintage buttons, rusty pins, or bells (or any embellishment of choice)

1/2” cabone rings, two

Bias tape, fabric, jute, ribbon, rickrack or scrap of homespun, teacup hooks (for attaching tieback)


1. Cut out shape of choice from vintage quilt scrap. Decorate with embellishments of choice.

2. Sew a cabone ring to back of quilt cutout; this will be used to hang tieback. Brush or dip with choice of fabric stiffener and allow to dry completely.

3. Hang teacup hooks. Experiment by pulling curtains back with a tape measure or string to see where you want the placement and length of tieback.

4. If you are using ribbon, just tie a knot or bow and place over hook. Add cutout by placing attached cabone ring over hook. You may just use a safety pin to hold rickrack, seam binding, ribbon, or homespun in place and cutout will cover it all.


  • Liquid starch, spray starch, and hairspray may all be used by brushing or spraying on for a lighter, non-permanent hold.
  • Use a food dehydrator to dry small items such as ornies, bowl fillers, and pins.
  • Use a microwave oven to dry; use a microwave-safe plate and heat on high for 15 seconds at a time. Note: This cannot be used if you have any metal in your projects.
  • Use an oven on the lowest temp and check every five minutes. If project has bells, pins, or wire, be very careful, as the metal will get hot and burn fabric.
  • If you have a warm, sunny day, just place items on a cookie sheet and let dry in the sun.

Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet and allow to dry overnight. Wool felt takes a little longer and may take up the three days to dry completely, especially in humid weather.

  • Add a teaspoon of vanilla for subtle aging. I use this to age quilt cutouts because the quilt pattern and stitches are too beautiful to hide.
  • While still wet, sprinkle with glitter glass to add sparkle to holiday ornies.
  • Add a tablespoon of cinnamon to fabric stiffener and stir to dissolve. Brush on for a dark, hard finish. This is great for gingerbread men.
  • Wool felt can sometimes run. Wash first and rinse until water runs clear. Allow to air-dry before stiffening.
  • Seal completed items with clear, flat, interior/exterior spray enamel to protect.

Etsy Extravaganza–UPDATE

I just received word from Wiley & Sons, the publishers of the book I just posted about–How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products by Timothy Adam. They’ve graciously provided a book for a giveaway! Huzzah!

So here’s what you do: If you have an Etsy shop, just leave a comment telling us about it. If you don’t have a shop, then leave a comment telling us what you would see if you did have one. Easy peasy!

We’ll pick a random winner on Friday, March 25th.


Etsy Extravaganza!

I know, I know—most of us are probably on Etsy overload. Who hasn’t heard of Etsy by now, right? Okay, maybe if you’ve had earplugs in, a pillow over your head, and been living in a cave, then maybe you haven’t. In which case, I guess you wouldn’t be reading this anyway…Well, just to clarify, Etsy is an online marketplace where people can sell their handmade items. Once there, you’ll find anything from plush crafts to clothes to photography to jewelry…along with a myriad of other imaginings. It really is a whole world unto itself.

Alrighty, now that we’ve got the bare bones out of the way, we can get on to the reason for this post. I received this really cool book today (by “I received”, I mean that I opened Beverly’s mail because she’s out today. It’s not illegal if it’s your boss’ mail, right?)—How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products by Timothy Adam.

Adam, a self-taught metal artist and modern metal furniture designer, was trying to find a broader audience for his metal crafts when he stumbled upon Etsy through a friend—and he hasn’t looked back. His designs now sell around the world—thanks to that little gem called Etsy.

If you’ve been thinking of opening an Etsy shop, but are hesitant because you don’t feel you have the right tools or all the know-how, then this book could very well be your one-stop-shop door to the online marketplace. If you already have an Etsy shop, then this book is a must-have to let you in on things you might not have known, and to help you make improvements to your store—you know, like sprucing up the ‘ol girl, advertising successfully, and getting more customers.

Adam takes you through the basics (like “what do I make?” and “what is my target market?”) to successful networking and increased SEO (that’s search engine optimization for those of us not in the know. See, I’ll bet you already learned something. I just did.) With a few well-placed specific keywords, you can move up the Google search, instead of being the 61, 000, 005th result out of 62, 000, 000 results.

With social media on a pretty-much-never-ending climb, Adam discusses how to use your blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account to spread the word about your store. Things like the right avatar and a properly set-up Facebook page really do matter. Scoff if you must, but it’s true.

There are interviews with eight top Etsy sellers that include a knitter, photographer, vintage clothing seller, and handmade glass bead maker. You’ll get insight into how they got started, and what keeps them going.

Whether you’re a seasoned Etsian or a newbie (those are official Etsy terms, thank you very much), this book will only help you climb the ladder.

Learn more about Timothy Adam by hitting up his website . Once there, you’ll be just a click away from his blog and Etsy shop, and Handmadeology, his online source to help to get you started.

How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products by Timothy Adam

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.