Handkerchief Invitation Test

A friend was recently planning her wedding.  She wanted to print her invitations on handkerchiefs for a unique effect and wondered if I had any DIY ideas.  Here’s what I came up with:

First, I printed out my test invitation in reverse on an ink jet transparency.

Next, I painted Liquitex Matte Medium (craft stores in the paint aisle) onto muslin with a sponge brush.  I had to work fast since it seemed like it would dry fast.  I only painted the muslin in the areas where printing would be.  Why waste the good stuff?  I placed the transparency onto the muslin, ink side down and used the bottom of a Sharpie to emboss.  I pressed hard but could also see which areas I had done since I was working under bright lights.  The air bubbles disappeared in the areas I rubbed.

I peeled off the transparency to reveal a less than perfect transfer.  As I could see from the transparency, some of the design did not transfer.  In the bottom left corner, I laid the transparency back down and rubbed some more.  This transferred more of the ink but also caused it to bleed.  Not sure if the muslin was too wet or too dry.  I’m guessing too wet since I started painting the medium on the left side of each line.  This resulted in a piece of muslin that had some sheen to it wherever the medium was painted on.  It dried a bit shiny (and stiffer) in most places. Probably would go with a silk-screener for the wedding but I still like this technique and hope to find a really cool use for it.  Perhaps on an already-made fabric album cover or a ready-made tote bag.  Anything that wouldn’t lay flat for a silk-screen machine!   I want to try it with a photograph, too!

Stay tuned for more fun ideas to try and click on over to my website WendyAmato.com for even more inspiration!



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Costumes 1.0 – Captain Hook’s Coat

When our daughter signed up for the school musical, I jumped on the volunteer list to make costumes.  I’ve done it before and had a ball:  Mom and I made costumes for Seussical one year and took over our basement for months.  Laughing all the way!  This time it was Peter Pan.  How fun is that?  Mom says I was named after a TV character back in the day – I liked to think it had to do with Peter Pan!  Anyway…  the day I signed up to do Peter Pan costumes was the day I started the wheels turning.  It was a few days before Halloween and I needed lots of swords.  And pirate hats.  And fairy wings!  Off to the local Dollar stores I went.  I kinda felt bad that I took the last fairy wing before another mom got to the aisle but I was on a mission!  I needed 11 of them!

With the wings, hats and swords safely stored, my attention turned to Captain Hook’s coat.  It needed to be grand and swirly and gold (with some red would be nice, too!).  I went to the library and checked out books on costumes and found a picture of just what I was envisioning!  I went to JoAnn’s and found the perfect pattern for $12 (Simplicity #3677).  On my search for other costume parts, I was walking the aisles at Goodwill and a bedspread caught my eye.  It was perfect!  It was $5!!!  I was so giddy at the checkout that I’m sure the cashier was wondering why on earth I was getting so excited about a dirty old bedspread!  It was king size, gold and red brocade and had yards and yards of gold and red rope trim.  Jackpot!  I made a trip into the city to my favorite discount fabric warehouse (http://megafabrics.com) to buy the buttons for 10 cents each and bought a bunch of gold trim for the pirate hats, too.  Our son and I spent an afternoon taking apart that old bedspread, cutting off the rope trim and salvaging the stuffing for later prop use.  A good lesson in frugality!

A bit of sewing magic (thanks again, Mom, for teaching me how to sew instead of cook!) and here it is!  Captain Hook’s Coat.  I even had enough fabric left over to make a cape for Peter Pan, complete with lining and rope trim edging.  I’ll save Peter Pan and Tinker Bell’s costumes for another post.

If you have re-purposed something that you would like to share, add a comment to this post.  Inspiration is everywhere.  For more fun ideas, click on over to my website, http://www.WendyAmato.com.

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Cold Fingers, Rejoice!

All this cybershopping has given my fingers the chill!  Here’s what I’m up to:

Take an old sweater with tight(er) sleeves.  Cut off the ends of the sleeves anywhere from 7″-9″ from the cuff edge.  Turn under and sew the cut edge so it doesn’t unravel.

Sew a very long button hole (2 inches for small hands) about an inch or so away from the cuff edge on the sweater seam.  Cut open the button hole.

There you go – warm gauntlets for your frigid hands!  Hmmm… these would make great fast Christmas gifts.

A few things I learned in my first attempt:  Sewing the cut edge with a zigzag stitch or a straight stitch didn’t make any change to the shape of the bell.  The sweater seems more lumpy with the zigzag stitch and the straight stitch is a bit prettier.  In my next effort, I’ll sew up the existing seam to make a uniform tube so it hugs my forearm better.  I also plan to use a more colorful sweater.  This one will work for me at midnight in my jammies but not so pretty for a gift.

Have fun, stay warm and post a picture if you try this.  For more fun stuff, click on over to my website:  www.WendyAmato.com!  See you there!

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Hang on to Fall

Fall = candles.  When the temperature starts dropping, I start lighting candles in the kitchen to bring warmth in.  It’s getting dark earlier.  Bring some of the beautiful Fall colors and a little light into the house with this project:

I picked leaves off our Burning Bush in varying shades of green and red (The Giving Tree, right?).  Next, I found a simple glass candle holder at our local Goodwill – you know I love them!  Reduce, reuse, recycle!

This one had a wood base and a removable glass vase.  Starting at the bottom of the vase, I painted on Mod Podge and placed the greenest leaves – stem side down – overlapping around the vase.  More Mod Podge on top of each leaf.  The next layer was the greenish/red leaves, again overlapping a bit.  Lastly, the red layer.  When I was finished and the Mod Podge had semi-dried, I cut the overhanging stems along the bottom of the vase so it would sit properly on the wood base.

With the addition of a candle, I have a constant reminder of the beauty of the passing season.  Since I chose red and green leaves, I’m planning to use my candle holder well into the Christmas season, too!  Don’t limit yourself to leaves.  Any semi-translucent paper, fabric or object will work and still let the light shine through.  Try postage stamps (soak them off the envelope paper first), gum wrappers or tissue paper cut into snowflake shapes!  I’d love to see your ideas come to life!  Post a photo in the comments – it doesn’t need to be your own creation – just look around while you’re shopping this season.  The first photo wins one of my Christmas-themed mini books!

For more fun ideas, stayed tuned or subscribe to this blog using the tab above or click on over to www.WendyAmato.com.  Happy Fall!

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Surprise in a can!

I’m always looking for a fun way to wrap a present.  Here’s what I’m up to lately:

Take a can of vegetables or fruit or anything else with a pull-top lid.  Take the BOTTOM off of the can, wash it and fill it with the surprise gift.  Glue the bottom back on and ta-da… a surprise gift in a can.

Here are my secret tools:

OXO Smooth Edge Can Opener – cuts the side of the can thus taking off the end of the can without any sharp edges.

G-S Hypo Cement – bonds metal to metal, has a precision applicator, doesn’t bond fingers.

That’s it!  Decorate the outside and make a matching tag.  It’s really fun to hide a gift card and some candy inside or even a pair of earrings!  If you need a pair of earrings to hide inside YOUR can, visit my jewelry sale this Friday and Saturday.  Check my website, www.WendyAmato.com, for details.

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Create your own font!

Font junkies rejoice!  There is a website that allows you to create your own font without any high-level technical skill.  So cool!  I spent about twenty minutes last night designing my characters and then a single minute uploading my design template and instantly there it was – my handwriting on my computer screen.  I’ll warn you upfront, however, this could become addictive!  Our son caught wind of what I was doing and he wanted to give it a try.  His font, however, was a coded font!  You would need the code to decipher any messages typed in that font.  Something he and a friend have been wanting to create for some time now.  Very, very cool!  A section of the template is reserved for a signature.  So even if you don’t want an entire font in your handwriting, you can get your signature digitized.  Cool, again!

So here’s what you do:

Go to yourfonts.com and print out the template.  Using the template, handwrite your characters within the boundary lines.  You don’t need to stick to alpha characters only, get creative and draw some cute designs, too!  When you are finished, scan the page and save it (the site has a list of available file types).  Go back to yourfonts.com and upload your file and name your font.  Instantly, your font will appear on screen!  If you want to use your font, the price of the font file is $9.95 and the file is available immediately to download and use.

For those who have experience with Photoshop, there is a digital template available to download.  You can take a sampling of Great-Grandma’s handwriting and cut and paste the letters into the template.  What a unique way to journal your family’s history!  You could also use your kids’ handwriting to create your holiday letter.  I used my mouse to create a font but if you have a pen/tablet, all the better.  Have fun and let me know how your font turned out.  For other fun ideas, check back here or click on over to my website:  WendyAmato.com.

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Altered Book #101

I found this little gem of a book at Half Price Books CHEAP!  I couldn’t resist the list of 101 Things Every Kid Should Do.  While paging through, I realized that we, as a family, had done most of the activities on the list!  And I actually had pictures to prove it!  “Ah Ha” moment!  I searched through stacks of extra photos and ordered new ones from index prints and before I knew it, I had many of the pages filled with a photo or two from our archives.  I kept it simple and stapled the photos to the pages.  The extra bulk prevents the book from closing and instead sits open on the table like those accordion party decorations.  To look through the book reminds me that our kids have enjoyed many of the simpler pleasures of childhood, not to mention proof that I am, indeed, a fun Mom.

Some of the catagories:

Every kid should…

…help bake a cake from scratch and then lick the frosting bowl.

…experiment with simple science projects.

…blow a bubble gum bubble until it pops.

…play dress-up.

…ride a horse.

You get the idea!  Have fun with your old children’s books.  I’d love to see the results.

For more fun scrapbooking ideas, check out my website:  WendyAmato.com.

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