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!


  • (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!


Red Wagon Fairy Garden

| September 10, 2012

Red Wagon Fairy Garden

I have a new fancy for fairy gardens.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s more about the accessorizing than the actual gardening or the fact that tiny little things are just SO cute, but I can’t get enough! When I noticed my neighbor, through my window, putting this scruffy red wagon out on the curb, I dropped everything and ran out, barefoot, to snatch it up. I didn’t know what I would do with it exactly, but I knew I would use it in my garden. Soon after that, I decided to create a mobile fairy garden! What fun!

Repurposed Wagon sitting pretty in front of the picket fence

So, I looked all over Pinterest for neato ideas, and then came up with some of my very own. I researched which little plants I should try to find at my local garden shop, and I journeyed into unchartered territory. (You’ve heard of having a green thumb? Well, I used to have a brown thumb. But, I forgot to water it and it fell off). I still couldn’t help feeling some hope for success when I saw such beautiful tiny white daisy flowers on Irish moss and little succulents that looked like puffy little forest bushes. I just couldn’t screw up such sweet little miracles, could I?

There’s enough room here for the extended fairy family, too!

I once spied on an apron-wearing fairy plucking out weeds. Her head was down, so she didn’t see me!

I also ransacked my craft room and went through all my little goodies to decide what might work well for my new creative endeavor. I decided to put my antique tin collection to use. I found red and white toadstools that would match the wagon, along with some cute strawberry bells that I purchased on Etsy. I used some black and white polka-dotted tape (repurposed from my SMASH book) to make wee little water-proof flags for the “backyard”. They match the domino welcome mat. At the front door, there’s a sign reading “snail mail” posted on a matchstick poking out of a little snail shell.  I also used some felt flowers that I had pieced together with some lovely buttons. They grow right next to the veggie garden… simply colorful yarn “edibles” growing strong next to toothpick stakes.

I do like the little mirror lake that the fairies come to swim in. It’s glistens with brilliant dew after a chilly night’s sleep. Pretty at sunset, too!

The lake stones are smooth on the fairies’ feet.

A vintage stir stick makes a great wind whistler!

In the side “field”, I put a wind chime, of sorts. What could catch a Mid-Western breeze better than a little vintage harmonica hidden in the sedum?! Clever, I thought!

Can’t you just imagine the fairies playing games by the backyard flags and strawberry bells?

Not-so-clever was adding little birthday candle holders as pathway lights to the lake. I didn’t account for the hot summer days we would have. (Goodbye, melty lights.) Another live-and-learn idea was the little fluffy smoke coming out of the chimney- the final outcome of which I wasn’t thrilled with. Imagine wet cotton after a rain storm. I also wished it wasn’t such a brown landscape.  I’ll definitely invest in some nice green moss to cover the entire area, next year. Maybe it’s just me, but the dirty landscape kind of reminds me of a dusty southern farm, where chickens run fast-away from the barking hound dogs. I’m almost sure most of the fairies who used this garden wore calico dresses and cowboy boots.

I must sheepishly admit that yessss, by the end of the summer, some of my green fairy yards looked more like dry miniature driftwood collections. I haven’t quite mastered gardening, you could say. Even fairy gardening. I’m hoping my plants will resurrect after a quiet winter hiding in the basement. If not, now I know just where to go to find some living dwarf plants to begin, again! I still can’t help but have some fairy gardening hope, even with my lack of bloomin’ skills!

It’s a small start (hehehehe), but it’s only my first year. Next spring, I plan to cut little arched doors into my little tin boxes. Houses complete with tin roofs, and maybe a window or two. I will surely allow space for a little wooden swing under a dwarf boxwood “tree.”  I have a few other dreams for my next fairy garden that I can’t wait to put wings to. (Stop me!)

Do you have any tips or ideas for this newbie fairy gardener? What’s in your fairy garden?


We got a puppy!

| July 13, 2012

This is Hazel and she’s a 9 week old rat terrier/bichon mix. We adopted her, yesterday, from a friend-of-a-friend. We adore her already!

Here’s Hazel in her custom suitcase bed.

To make her feel at home, I got to work on this suitcase bed. I was inspired by a post from Kelly Hicks Design that I discovered on Pinterest. After searching online for similar inspiration, I went shopping!

Supplies: A vintage suitcase, craft store doll heads and fabric for the pillows

It was easy to find the supplies. I went to my local Dime N Dollar thrift store and found this $3 suitcase.  I had a previous goal to make curtains out of this fabric, but it was sitting in my storage for years, because (confession) I am afraid of sewing. Thankfully, my awesome friend, Patti, completed this (much more important) project for me. She blessed me with 2 extra pillowcases! Then, Michael’s offered these round doll heads with a flat edge and silver craft paint that worked out perfectly for short, little bed feet.

Wooden craft doll heads painted silver make great little bed feet.

To personalize the space, I asked our sons to draw pictures of Hazel that we could post in her special spot. It was a great little project for them, still in their pj’s on their first morning with their new puppy. I’m hoping to hang pictures of her mom and dad, too.
The boys thought she seemed cold, so we found this afghan that my grandma made for me when I was a baby. I thought we might as well put it to good use for our little lady. It’s a great reminder of my Gram. Ironically, she has a bichon (just like Hazel’s mama).

Our boys drew pictures of Hazel to post in her suitcase bed.

Here she is sleeping with her toys. Isn’t she just the cutest little puppy? She really likes her private little space and has ventured to lay down in it, herself. I think she appreciates having such a stylish little spot.

I think she likes her bed, don’t you?

So, as a new pet owner, I’m curious! What kind of pet beds do you think are the cutest for your cutest little pet?


Good Gifts

| June 15, 2012

Don’t you just love getting snail mail? Especially when it’s a BIG package?
I just got a box full of crafting goodies! My husband’s Aunt Cindy has been a wonderful encouragement to me since I started trying to make a business out of arts and crafts. She made the first purchase ever from my Etsy shop. She’s creative, herself, and has a good eye for cute stuff! The box she sent was filled with things like vintage books, plastic scottie dogs, colorful buttons, semi-scary circus creatures and even a teeny plastic baby in a box with a creepy phrase on top. Just the sort of off-beat stuff I like! There were lots of little doo-dads that will be perfect for some mixed media creations! I’m so thankful!
I’m so blessed to have many generous loved ones! As they hear about my passion to help fight human trafficking by using the old to create new, they have helped the cause by giving generously to me. My mother in law is my greatest “buyer”, finding things at thrift stores and rummage sales that have years of history waiting to be showcased. My friends have given me Golden Books, Elementary School Primers, little figurines and rick rack – my favorites! Anything before 1985 is right up my alley! The older, the better.
Recently, my friend Roxanne blessed me with things she had saved a long time. Many things are from her grandma. Granny things are the best! Here they are, layed out in my craft studio, photographed as I was filled with winsome glee.

Thanks to these gifts from a friend, I have a bunch of new things to create with! I’m thinkin’: mixed media inside the huge golden frame & an interesting shadow box assortment of medical supplies.

What are some of the best gifts you’ve received? Why did they mean so much to you? Are there every-day objects that you’ve used to make art? I’d love to get inspiration from your stories!



Altered Story Store Debut!

| June 14, 2012

There is a sweet little store in Stevens Point, WI that I have loved for years. It’s a charming brick house, transformed into an enchanting gift store. Curiosities used to carry mainly primitives, but they have progressed as the styles have changed. Now they carry a lovely mix of antiques, vintage items, handmade goods and repurposed items. It’s like walking into a brick and morter Etsy store! Plus, they continue to carry the primitives, country items, quilts, candles and other super-cute decorations that ladies adore!
Well, here’s my great news! Altered Story Handmade Goods is now available at the store I’ve always loved! You can imagine how exciting that is for me!
Here are some pics of the special spot that Kathy, the store owner, created for my Altered Story goodies… right by the check-out counter!

Altered Story Display at Kat's Curiosities

Photo mattes, Scrabble "Name Plates" and Bottle Cap Pins

Magnets, Book Loan Bookmarks, Circle Garland, a Star Wreath and more!

This store is the perfect place to find a perfect gift! Come, check it out!?

As you may already know, I alter vintage books and pages into “new” treasures and give 10% of my profits to anti-slavery organizations. I want to use my talents to help alter the stories of trafficking victims for the better! It’s fun to be able to do that on a greater scale.  If you are in the area, please stop in and say hi to Kathy. Check out my Altered Story creations and all the other treasures. You’ll be sure to walk away with something good!