Vintage Postcard Ornament Tutorial

| December 15, 2012

If you are looking to make a unique Christmas tree ornament, this Vintage Postcard Ornament tutorial is just right for you! It is pretty quick and truly charming!

Supplies:

  • (Vintage) Postcards
  • Glitter Glue
  • Hole Punch
  • Ribbon

Pick your postcard. Punch a hole in the center near the top. The ribbon will hang from this spot.

I prefer vintage postcards, of course! (The date on the back of two of these is 1910!) Make sure to use a hole punch just wide enough to fit the ribbon you will use to hang your creation from the tree.

Apply Glitter Glue

Apply glitter glue to the edges of your postcard, and to any spots you’d like to highlight. The glitter may look a bit thick and goopy but it should dry flat and perfect! There are many color options, available.  Choose what works best for your postcard and according to your preferences.

When the glue dries, add the ribbons of your choice.

After the glue has dried (time will vary depending on how thick you apply it and what brand you use), then you can attach the ribbon of your choosing. I like to put the tied bow right in the front as part of the decoration.

Finished Ornaments with the Red Glitter Edging

Here they are! Don’t they look adorable?! Each ornament is a unique work of art, with it’s own special message on the back. These were written long ago and sent at Christmas time to loved ones. As I give these as gifts, I like to imagine a wonderful cousin or sister-in-law writing their note near candle light, never guessing that I’d be passing their Christmas message on one more time, today. Just think how far off 2012 must have seemed to them, over 100 years ago!
Oh! Isn’t it just marvelous to make old things into new treasures!?
Merry Christmas!

 

Altered Story Handmade Goods available at BookFinders!

| December 12, 2012

I’m excited to announce that Altered Story Handmade Goods has teamed up with another local business! BookFinders in Stevens Point, WI now offers repurposed hardcover books that have been altered into one-of-a-kind notebooks! Valuing the work of local artists and authors, BookFinders offers a wonderful selection of locally created goods, along with book accessories, candles, gifts, calendars and (of course) BOOKS! And, just like every other Altered Story purchase, 10% of profits from each sale benefits anti-trafficking organizations! So, sales help local business AND they change the world!

Altered Story notebook display at Bookfinders

Each of the notebooks are made of  incredibly unique hard cover books of all different kinds! Writers, both beginning and professional, will enjoy the lined papers found in some. Artists will appreciate the plain sketch papers found in others. Boys and girl of all ages will truly appreciate at least one of the vintage-book-turned-modern-canvas… for thoughts, dreams and ideas! Each book has divider pages, inside:  actual pages from the up-cycled book or unique retro papers, antique magazine pages or old fashioned wallpapers. No two books are alike!

Can you find the Altered Story notebooks?

What a perfect gift! Especially for creative souls who could benefit by having a journal just as lovely as the ideas put down on paper. Each book is bound with a professional grade tool that creates perfectly round and even holes through each and every paper. The wire bindings allow for wide-open page displays, making for wonderfully easy writing! What about using them for: a unique registry of that new baby’s hospital guests? that artistic/literary couple’s wedding guestbook? a child’s first journal? or even a scrapbook you’d like to remain open on your coffee table?

There they are! Right in front!

Whether it’s words or pictures that simply must be recorded, there is sure to be one Altered Story notebook that would be perfect for you or that special someone you have in mind. Make sure to get to BookFinders to check out the wonderful new selection of handmade treasures! And, remember, you can always check out Etsy for other unique Altered Story treasures!

 

 

 

Spencer Lake’s Taste of Christmas 2012

| December 10, 2012

This past Saturday, December 8, 2012, some friends and I traveled to nearby Waupaca, WI. We wanted to check out a holiday arts and crafts show at Waupaca’s Taste of Christmas at Spencer Lake.
The event had a number of local artists and vendors. From garden decorations to Christmas goodies to jewelry and fabric arts, the show had a nice variety of items.
I had the privilege of meeting Kaycie from K. Rose Design. She makes the cutest little vintage paper earrings. I snatched up a pair that will be perfect for a Christmas party I will soon be attending! Make sure to check them out at her shop on Etsy.

Kaycie sitting by her lovely display of vintage paper earrings.

One of the best parts about the show was meeting Ashley Gordon. She is an encaustic artist with such a sweet personality. Isn’t she such a cutie?

Ashley Gordon is a talented encaustic artist.

I discovered this art form, also known as hot wax painting, earlier this year. But, she’s the first local artist that I’ve discovered who does encaustic. It involves using heated wax in which pigments are added. It’s truly a beautiful form of art, and I’m hoping to meet up with her again, maybe at one of her workshops, to learn more about it! I’d love to use this technique in mixed media creations. Oh! The possibilities!

Encaustic Paints are actually melted wax with colorful pigments.

What was especially neat about the event was that it wasn’t just an arts & crafts show. The day offered something for the entire family. From Christmas movies to a bakery filled with desserts. From meeting Santa to eating Jamaican, Mexican, Chinese and all kinds of yummy foods! We especially enjoyed the FREE rummage sale (I found a few vintage plastic flowers to use in future creations and some T-shirts to try out a crafty idea I found on Pinterest.) Madrigal singers that looked like they belonged in “A Christmas Carol” walked all around the grounds and sang songs of Christmas delight. But, one of our favorite things was the living nativity scene and petting zoo.  We got to pet those lovely barnyard animals!

Here’s the petting zoo at the backside of the living nativity scene.

Did they have turkeys in Bethlehem? :)

All in all, it was worth the small trip to this neat event! With a lake view like this to enjoy among all the other wonderful aspects of the day, we were all happy we attended this year’s Taste of Christmas!

Vintage Toy Trucks

| December 1, 2012

I just LOVE vintage toy trucks!  I’m hoping to put one in my garden, come Spring!
Here are a few beauties I was able to photograph at Junk Bonanza, this fall. I was so inspired by all the vintage goodies, creative booth displays, and crafty ideas I discovered during the amazing bi-annual event. These toy trucks were just one shining example of the unique treasures to be found! Enjoy these shots!

Wouldn’t each truck be just perfect with a very green plant in the back? Or as a letter-keeper? What about with some rusty vintage toy characters riding around inside? Or modern-day softies!? So many possibilities! I just love these trucks and the possibilities they provide! Don’t you?
Maybe you could get to the next Junk Bonanza event in Canterbury Park on April 18, 19 and 20th in 2013? There’s sure to be lots of good junk!
Have you been to a junk event? What items did you like best?

 

Vintage Storybook Star Wreath Tutorial

| November 30, 2012

Here’s just a glimpse of the awesome star wreath project, below!

Inspired by a star wreath I found on Pinterest months ago, I decided to use vintage pages from two nursery rhyme books to put my special touch on this lovely project. Here’s my tutorial, just for you, in case you are interested in creating your own vintage storybook star wreath! Of course, you could always just go to Altered Story Handmade Goods and snatch one of these up… that’s a little easier!
Make sure you start with all your supplies, and cover your working area with newspaper or anything else you don’t mind getting all glued up!

  • Vintage Storybook Pages – images/text cut out
  • Cardboard piece – any size  (will determine the size of your wreath)
  • Cardstock – complementary color to your images/text
  • Star Templates – either printed onto cardstock from the internet or hand stenciled directly on your card stock
  • Mod Podge (lots!)
  • Paint brush or foam brush (for the Mod Podge)
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue
  • Ribbon – for wrapping around circle and/or for hanging
  • Scoring tool (an awl or a bone folder will do just fine)
  • Martha Stewart Scoreboard or soft cardboard for scoring
  • A sink nearby! This project gets messy!

Step 1 – Print out star images (found on the internet) onto cardstock of your choice. This will be the base color for your stars. The paper color can be seen from the backside of your finished wreath, so make sure to pick a color that suits the project!

Step 2 – Mod Podge your images onto the cardstock, ensuring that you adhere your image to the exact opposite side of the paper from your star image (basically: do not glue images directly onto your star image or you will not know where to cut!)

Step 3 – After the Mod Podge dries, cut out star images. Using the Martha Stewart Scoreboard (or a soft piece of cardboard), score your stars from each point to the opposite side. Make sure that your image is facing down when you do this, so your stars “pop” outward, not inward.

Step 4 – When each star is scored properly, you will be able to push into the middle of the star, making it 3 dimensional. If the center juts out from the points, you’re on the right track!

Step 5 – Fold each line with your fingers to achieve the desired depth of your finished star. (You will have certain control over the “oomph” you give your star, based on this step and how you hold it as you hot glue it to the base.)

Step 6 – When you’ve achieved your desired star “zing-zang”  (height, depth, pop… whatever you choose to call it!), then you can slather it with more Mod Podge. I wanted mine to have a really lacquered look. I used matte Mod Podge, but you could use glossy or even glittery or metallic… there are lots of options! This will help to secure the shape of your stars and make them more durable.

Step 7 – Now for the Base! I just used good ‘ole cardboard! Decide what size you want your base to be and find something around the house that you can use as a circle template (or square or whatever shape you decide is best!) I found a big bowl and a cookie jar cover. Cut this out. You’ll probably want your stars to protrude outside the edges of the wreath. 

Step 8 – Now you’ll want to do something sassy with your circle base… so nobody even knows it was just a piece of cardboard! I used more Mod Podge to decoupage hand-cut strips of the text from the nursery rhymes onto this wreath. Just slather, adhere your paper and slather some more!

Here’s a finished product! Getting to this point was just a few more steps. Step 9 – Decide how you will hang your wreath. I used some durable metalic cording and tied it around the top and then hot glued it to the front of the wreath to keep it secured. Step 10 – I picked out the cutest polka dotted ribbon I could find and hot glued it to my wreath across the front (with a little “give”). Then, I glued on the previously Mod Podged Mother Goose text from the book across the front like a banner. Step 11 – I experimented a bit in deciding which star I wanted to place at which spot, and then attached each star with hot glue just along the edges that touched the base. This is a bit tricky to ensure that the backside still looks tidy. So, I suggest you either make little pencil marks where you want to glue, or do your best at eyeing it up!

Here’s the front side of my yellow-ribbon wreath. I like the colors! I feel like dancing with the dishes! This one is now available at a local gift shop in my area.

On this wreath, I wrapped ribbon around the circle a million times (well it seemed like it!) to cover the base. I hot glued it each time around. I admit, I had a little more control with the paper decoupaged wreath base. And with the ribbon one, I didn’t like that I could tell where it was hot glued through the ribbon. But, both are very cute!

Here they are together! Which one do you like best?

I must admit, this was a satisfying project. There were a lot of steps, but the end results were so unique and beautiful! However, I would only suggest spending most of  your day to make this for a loved one or to liven up your own space. It’s definitely not a project that I could justifiably continue to make for the sole purpose of selling through my handmade goods business. Although it will not end up a financially profitable project, considering all that went into it, I know that whoever takes these home will surely feel blessed!
Do you have a little baby in mind who would love to grow up with these keepsake treasures?
Each vintage storybook wreath is surely one of a kind! If fact, I give each one 5 stars!

 

A MacBook Air with an Orange Cover

| November 30, 2012

Here’s the picture I would post if only I had a MacBook Air

I’m dreaming of a MacBook Air. I dream that I bring my little laptop with me wherever I go. In my dreams, I pull it out of it’s cute case and type out all my thoughts and ideas that will make a fine novel, someday. It has an orange cover, because orange is happy and it inspires me. It is the first computer that I’ve ever owned that wasn’t a hand-me-down. It is personalized to fit my needs. It has apps (a long-standing item on my wish list!). I strongly believe in apps. I don’t get to use them, much, yet. But, someday I will. Someday I will use my twitter account and tweet to my 48 followers who have never once received a tweet from me or a hashtag or anything, yet they are still following me. (How sweet are they?!) Someday I will have apps that help me do my crafts more creatively and write my sentences more acceptably and shop at the grocery store more healthily and go places more efficiently and learn about so many things that I’m just sure I could only know about if I had apps. And, my friend Mindy would rejoice with me because she knows about this longstanding desire. When I go to bed at night and I think of those most important thoughts that have filtered down to the end of my day and I wish I could reach over to my orange covered MacBook Air and type them in, I can’t help but believe that someday my wish will come true. I’ve been praying for God to spoil me with a MacBook Air. I’ve had 2 amazing friends offer me their used non-Mac laptops, which I truly appreciate. I’m embarrassed to admit I feel very snooty about not using them because I really, super-bad am praying that my Father will bless me with what I can truly use-a MacBook Air. You see, my entire photo library and all my previous notes and documents and newsletters and flyers and everything I use for ministry and Altered Story and my blog and anything techy is Mac-related. My smart husband doesn’t think I should attempt to make a short-term change to one of those computers and then try to make it all transfer back perfectly on that special, golden day when I do get my very own MacBook Air. And, I agree with him because in my dreams I am united with my hubby in all his apple-loving bliss. We can email each other documents that don’t need to be exported. That’s how marriage should be. And, there’s the apps to consider. So, I continue to dream. Because using his MacBook Pro late at night, like this, when I’m tired from my computer-less day of writing with pen and paper and jotting down ideas that I just might definitely make something amazing out of, if only I had a MacBook Air available to me during the sane hours of my day, makes me wonder if I’m looking a bit silly to the world in this blog post.

Old Journal Entries

| October 19, 2012

Ha! I just found this journal entry written almost a year ago, when my little one had just started preschool. I think I’m getting the message!
09/13/11
“Being a writer?
I sit here in the cafe and I wonder, “Could my life really be like this? And I answer, “It is!” I have an amazing cup of coffee. I’m eating a blueberry muffin puffed way too high for good health. I’m surrounded by a spontaneous arrangement of music, sounds of chatter and laugher all around. What could be better? I’m so thankful for this year that will allow me a couple of free hours per day to pursue this possibility of a passion. I’m afraid I won’t be any good at it. I’m afraid the dream is going to be better than the actuality. I’m afraid I won’t keep trying through the hard, empty, silent moments. But, I believe that God’s destiny is greater than any of my dreams. And, I trust that if I will obey Him by moving in this direction then He will be faithful to direct my paths. I can end up in just the right spots along the way that He desires for me to be. And, I will grow and develop and mature and continue in this adventure of giving Him all of me. So, I say “Thank you, Lord for this opportunity. I’m yours. Speak through me. Develop my style. Give me content. Fill me up so I can pour it all out through these words. Make me a writer, please, Lord?”
I need to read stuff like that for motivation to really go for it!
Do you keep a journal? I encourage you to look back at what dreams have been brewing inside you for too long! It might be time to move forward.

I Am A Writer

| October 18, 2012

 

Photo taken by Cristi Schroeder at Warrens Cranberry Festival – a place of inspiration!

Dreams can be scary. That’s one reason they can take so long to come alive.
About eight years ago, I read and journaled through “The Dream Giver.”  Working through that book, three passions of mine came into focus as one dream. My lifelong love of reading, my desire to write and my desire to help adolescents combined into a focused dream to author fiction books geared at young girls. I imagined writing books filled with good morals and lessons and big purposes- all mixed inside the storyline. But, in the face of everyday responsibilities, my pursuit got sidelined. (Also, I honestly don’t think that the timing was right.)
It’s true, though, that those ambitions to be a writer have remained. I have often said, “Well, I always wanted to be a writer.” That’s way easier than saying, “I am a writer” which would lead to the question… “Oh? What have you written?” Which would then lead to a lot of self doubt and other’s judgments about my “minor works”.
Here’s that short list of writing accomplishments:
  • a children’s book in 11th grade that received high praises (from my HS teacher)
  • a bunch of A+ essays in college relating to psychological topics (graded and discarded)
  • a retreat curriculum for youth group teens based on the movie, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (a “whopping” 15 girls, participating)
  • most of the content for a quarterly church newsletter that ran for a few years (I joke that their were 5 faithful readers)
  • (not enough) posts on this blog
My biggest credit, I realize now, is that fact that I’ve been journaling since I was a child. It’s always helped me to get my thoughts and feelings onto paper. But, could all that really help me as a writer? Well, the authors at a recent writer’s workshop taught that anything that gets us writing in sentence form, pouring ideas onto the page-including journaling- will benefit our writing. As I soaked up every word at the workshop, my dream of writing seemed completely possible. And, I sense the conviction, confirmation and excitement that NOW is the time to pursue it!
No, I don’t plan to “take a year off to write my novel” or travel to France for inspiration. I’m just going to start with large amounts of the little things. Like finally blogging 3+ times a week. Writing at least 10 minutes a day with pen and paper in hand. Submitting some articles to local papers and eventually magazines. I hope to incorporate some of my Altered Story projects by writing tutorials for craft projects and seeking publication. Then, as my thoughts get fleshed out and my writing skills develop, maybe I will write that first book for young readers. Maybe, someday, I will write a bunch of books.
So, I’ve just decided to do it! I will finally, actually call myself a writer. I will face my fears and go for this dream!
Calling myself a published author? Well, hopefully that’s yet to come.
I’m curious… do you have dreams of being a writer? What would you write? Maybe we can join together in the pursuit of this dream… however scary it may be!

I Am A Reader

| October 17, 2012

Since my youngest years of elementary education, I loved to read.  I checked out books from our school library over and over again. I felt that the world within the pages was a world I could make my home. A comfortable place where I felt safe. I could laugh. I could relate. I read about people that seemed a lot like me… or who I wished I could be.
I happily discovered the misadventures of Romona Quimby and was hooked! This little girl found herself in lighthearted, funny situations. I soon discovered that the author, Beverly Cleary, had many more books I could enjoy. I loved escaping to Klickitat Street and feeling a sense of community and friendship and family.
As I grew older, I discovered Judy Blume. She wrote about silly grade school episodes that actually dealt with real feelings and frustrations (“Superfudge”, “Otherwise known as Sheila the Great”) I read every one! As I got closer to the teen years, I read “Iggie’s House” and “Are you there God, It’s me, Margaret?” I learned things from Judy Blume that I could never actually speak with others about, in real life. As I read, I felt a part of something. Something secretive, even. Nobody else knew what I was reading. It was mine. And it was beautiful.
As the years went on, “Sweet Valley High” intrigued me more than I’d care to admit, now. Learning about dating and boys and popular kids… well, at least I could read about all that!
When high school hit, I guess I stopped reading fiction and focused on text books that would help me pass tests. College continued with more of the same… and the addition of Bible reading and devotionals as I was feeding my new faith. Christian nonfiction filled my young adult years. Home Decorating Magazines were the bulk of my reading content as a newly married woman. Parent Magazines and books about the stages of human growth were food for thought as I became a new mom. That continued for many years. Country Living, Mary Engelbreits Home Companion… these magazines provided all the light reading I could fit into my busy days. It wasn’t till 2008, when I first heard about human trafficking, that my reading preferences changed from topics relating to the inside of my home to those going on around the world. Gary Haugen and Nicholas Kristof became my new author “idols”.
In recent days, memories have brought me back to those early days of reading. Hoping to recapture what I experienced back then, I’m starting to read some young adult fiction. Dreams are brewing inside me. I’ve always been a reader. But, I’m beginning to believe it’s for a greater purpose than enjoyment or education. It’s about more than me finding myself within the pages of another writer’s work.
I am a reader. But, I am discovering that I am so much more. I’ll let YOU read about that… tomorrow!
What about you? Who are your favorite authors? And, what do you enjoy reading?

How to Make a Woman

| October 11, 2012

When I saw a sign in the bookstore window advertising a writer’s workshop, I was immediately excited! I’ve never been to something like that. But, I truly desire to become a better writer. So, I signed up for the adventure that will take place tomorrow! I can’t wait!
In preparation for the workshop, one of the authors asked that we complete an at-home assignment. We were asked to write a recipe, of sorts. She gave us ideas of recipes to record, like “how to fall in love” or “how to gain fifteen pounds.” We were to write down the ingredients and steps of preparation with no commentary. That’s it.
I’m a pastor’s wife and I’m more long winded than my husband. So, here’s my best attempt at the assignment. Who knows if I got it “right”; it sure was a challenge! Most importantly, it was fun to write!
Let me know what you think? What recipe might you be inspired to share?

How to Make a Woman
Ingredients

  • Heart of Love
  • Hormones
  • Plans
  • Purposes
  • Hopes
  • Dreams
  • Faith
  • Childhood Experiences
  • Ashes of Adolescence
  • Ideologies of Youth
  • Personality
  • Wisdom
  • Talent
  • Tears
  • Laughter

Directions
Begin by placing an emotional heart of love in a clay bowl of any shape or size. Add hormones. Mix together plans, purposes, hopes and dreams. Drop in a seed of faith. Let these ingredients sit for a while.
Fold in childhood experiences, the ashes of adolescence and the ideology of young adulthood. Add more hormones. Mix in personality, growing wisdom and talent. Add more faith as needed. Strain this mixture through the colander of trials and triumphs. Discard the remaining unnecessary emotional baggage of the past. Repeat this step as needed. You should begin to see character form. Add more hormones.
Heat with the fires of hardship just until boiling point. Cool with much needed prayer and good conversation. This process will create a nice balance of sensitivity and endurance. Sprinkle with the organic tears and laughter of every day experiences. Top generously with hormones.
Serves: much more than expected or appreciated.
Note: Each creation will vary in appearance. Expect cracks to develop in the bowl throughout this process. The important thing is that you allow the inside contents to shine.
*Not always a crowd pleaser… but ALWAYS beautiful to the creator!