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!




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!


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?


Personal Cards

| November 25, 2009

Personalized Cards

A special card made for newborn Juliet to match her baby quilt.

It’s so fun to make cards! You can personalize them with your loved one’s name. You can rub on images that add dimension next to puffy stickers. You can reuse your favorite stamps and color them in using crayons, pencils or paint. Most importantly, you can give them to those you love who will know that you took an extra moment out of your busy schedule just for them.

You gotta start somewhere!

| October 14, 2009

Autumn Matchboxes

Autumn Matchboxes

So, I’ve been a little preoccupied by the responsibilities of daily life. It’s been way too long since I’ve done anything crafty. But, I managed to spend a couple hours being semi-creative, the other day.
I wasn’t “feelin’ it,” if you know what I mean. Sometimes I like what I do. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it’s just nice to have accomplished something. I’m hoping this little project gets my creative juices flowing, again.
These matchboxes are a great idea if you are looking to utilize small papers, rub ons, fabrics and stickers that just don’t fit anywhere else. They add personality when placed next to your pumpkin spice candles. And, they’re practical, too. Keep a decorative bowl of them in the bathroom. Just sayin’.
May you be inspired to just get out your stuff and go for it, too. If it stinks, just light a match.

*Thanks to my sweet sis-in-law for this artsy idea.

Arriving in Moldova

| July 27, 2009

On July 16th, Amy and I arrived safely in Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova.  Stepping outside the doors of the airport was a true welcome, as we viewed such an amazing panoramic of green pastures and blue skies. As we drove into the city, it began pouring and we made our way through humungous structures that looked like city gates from “Lord of the Rings”. As we got closer, we realized that they were communist-style apartments.

"The city gates"
“The city gates”

Troy Darrin (our missionary host) shared with us how each one is a condominium, of sorts, to the inhabitants. It depends on the owners how they will fix up their portion. Most are the size of 2 small rooms, with a balcony attached. One of the rooms may be used as their livingroom/bedroom, with a couch that turns into a bed. The other half of their apartment may be an entryway, a small kitchen and a bathroom. We visited an amazing young couple, with a baby, who rents one of these. The woman told us that it depends on the complex whether they will have heat starting in October or November and whether you might be in one of the warmest or coldest apartments, both summer and winter, based on what floor you live on. (Does the heat come from the top or the bottom?) Some have gas, but hers only had electricity. It costs so much, they only kept one light bulb in their 3 bulbed lighting fixture. The hallway didn’t have any lighting fixtures. The amenities depend on when they were built by the communists and how many levels they have (architectural design). She said that during these summer months it is up to her to boil her water for food and for hygienic purposes. Her small home was kept neat and tidy, and she told us she was blessed to live there. These huge complexes fill the landscape of the city.

Chisinau Apartments

Chisinau Apartments

We made our way past many of these buildings, through flooded streets and downed trees. We found “shelter” in an upscale pizzeria-style restaurant and enjoyed some delicious food. Then, we drove back to the Darrins where I was treated to some meaningful gifts, a birthday cake, and ice cream from a tube. Super yummy! We went to the living room and began the gift giving… for Moldova! Amy, I and LOTS of you donated 3 suitcases of items to the Darrins, other missionaries and ministries and the wonderful people of Moldova. It was such fun! We gave away many of the items during our visits throughout the week. They brought so many smiles! And the Darrins were left with MANY presents to give away in villages and to children, families and others as they continue their ministry in Moldova. Thank you to all who blessed us with the joy of blessing others! It was so fun to be a part of it all.*

We come bearing gifts!

We come bearing gifts!

Take the Lead

| May 30, 2009

Nina Winkelman at the Moldovan display that she and her coworkers created. 

Nina Winkelman created a display at Platinum Salon in Stevens Point to collect gifts for Moldovan children.

When Amy and I were planning our special night, “The Worth of One,” we had people like Nina in mind. Our greatest vision was to inspire others toward the purposes and plans that God created them specifically for.

What we didn’t know was that Nina has a real compassion for the kids of the world. Her coworkers watch in amazement as Nina has patience and love for even the tiniest, most difficult, wiggling salon customers. When she heard about the needs of the children in Moldova, she decided to do what she could to help. She and her coworkers set up a special display and are receiving donations that will benefit orphans and the children of victims of sex trafficking. Because of people like her, our suitcases will be packed full of things that will bring smiles to some of the poorest children in Europe.

Others have shared with me what they’ve been challenged to do: Volunteer at First Choice Pregnancy Center. Work to share about purity with young women. Go for the big vision, “Changing the World.”

Because we are following our dreams to Moldova, God is inspiring others to follow their dreams. Nina is leading her coworkers in the worthwhile endeavor to love kids, both near and far. Whatever your purposes are, I challenge you to take Nina’s example. As you make that next step, others might just follow your lead.

Photo Mattes For Framing

| April 27, 2009

Friends Photo Matte

"Friends" Photo Matte

I’ve been making cards since I was child, sending love to others through things I colored or painted. In my adult years, I’ve stamped and used colored pencils and blending pens to do just the same. However, in recent years I’ve been using pages from old children’s books and unique rub-ons to express my thoughts through cards.

For my recent projects, though, I decided it was time to try something a little different. I put some neat old-fashioned pages to use to make interesting photo mattes for friends, girls, boys, and babies. Check them out on my flickr page.

Now, I need to get to the thrift stores for some matching frames! I’m hoping to sell these at a local hotspot of creativity, someday.