Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 days of Christmas!

Only 12 days till Christmas!
My Chihuahua Apollo is at the ready. He thinks we are doing something fun like making cookies. He loves to glean the floor and get his sugar fix! Bad news for Apollo but good news for you is we are making Christmas cards. These are already sent out but I decided to include this tutorial. You could use the ornament as a gift tag instead of the front to a card. They turned out very simple and elegant! Hope you enjoy!

I choose a verse and printed it out in the shape of my teardrop. I have a Mac and can choose to place text in a shape. I think you can do this in most programs. If you cannot or don't know how you can just type your verse so it will fit in a shape when you go to cut it out by centering and then typing each line to create the shape like this:

Merry Christmas
A Very Merry Christmas
A Very Merry Christmas
A Very Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

See the ball shape? I love that mine already went into the shape for me! Good luck because I am no computer tech person and that's all the help I can give you on that part! :)

Start with card-stock in colors you like. This year I went with pale green pearl and light berry colors. I used Martha Stewart  glitter. Her glitter is superfine and I can't rave enough about it. I used scrap booking photo mounts to create the little cap on the ornament. I used a paper cutter to trim my pieces of card-stock and scissors to trim the card-stock under the ornament. Tacky glue and that's about it for supplies. Pretty cheap and much more personal than store bought cards. OH! You'll also need twine or string for the hanging of the ornament. This brings me to a funny story. I had Depression Era Great Grandparents. I am thrifty by nature and blood. I hold onto supplies carefully, using only what I need to use. At Thanksgiving, while visiting my parents in Virginia Beach, I went to a restaurant supply place with my father. I saw red and white butcher twine and immediately said "I'm getting that". It's finer than what you find in craft stores, but I like it. These spools had thousands of yards on them. I am never going to use this much! My dad right away didn't want my mom left out and bought her one as well. Then my sister had to have one as well! So we have something like 50,000 yards of twine. You'll see in this tutorial how I have only cut pieces about 1/2" too long to trim. I mean, what am I saving this for? I had to chuckle because no matter what the family is frugal! So on with card making!

Use a photo mount to secure piece of twine to card about where you want the top of the ornament to go.

Use Tacky glue or white glue to secure the twine straight up to give a taught "hung look" to the ornament.

Peel top off photo mount and sprinkle with silver glitter and tap off excess.

Trim excess twine from top of card.

Apply a thin edge of glue to side of ornament.

Dredge in glitter and tap off excess.

Finished glitter edge.

I took the printed verse in the ornament shape and cut them out. I then mounted them on my card-stock and trimmed the card-stock leaving an edge as a frame. Glue to card just under the "cap" of glitter.

From scraps of card-stock hole punch or cut circles of red for berries. Also freehand some Holly Leaves and draw veins for leaves with pencil.

Apply leaves and berries to top of card.

The finished cards ready for mailing!
 I have made smaller versions of the ornaments to attach to the cookies we'll deliver to our neighbors this weekend.

I hope you enjoy the tutorial and have a wonderful day!

Until Next Time!

Chatty Cathy

Monday, December 12, 2011

Checked out but checking in soon!

If you are someone who reads this blog...is anyone reading this blog? LOL You may wonder why I haven't posted in a month? I won't bore you with details, suffice to say, I have been going through some medical stuff and keeping up with my blog is important- but the kids like clean clothes and food so choices were made :) I love you and will be posting soon. I will have some great tutorials coming to brighten your new year and the cold winter months.


This is one of the projects I'll be making with a twist. I can never seem to make something "just like I see it" I always have a bigger idea. I liked the use of branches and pictures. Mine will have white painted branches that are textures to resemble birch. I also will be using some MS pink glitter and accordion folded edges on the pictures. It's going to be super cute!

Another picture that I am spring-boarding off of is:


I love the birds and branches! I also love crepe paper! I plan on making one of these little arrangements to place in my entry to welcome guests!


Anyone who knows me knows I love miniatures and especially little toadstools! I have in my craft stash some adorable red and white ones I bought years ago. Problem is I need varying sizes. I came across this post in MS site and bingo! I am going to use Paper clay to make mine. I have a great glass cloche for it to go under! Just a little spring scene to brighten the weary gray months of winter!

Enjoy the links and check back to see the tutorials. I have plans on posting them first week of Jan.

Until next time!

Chatty Cathy

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Joyeux Noel!

Joyeux Noel bird tree
I just hand painted this darling wall art! It was super easy. Here's how:

Start with a primed board or pre-made sign. Mine was an old sign that I repainted. I primed this with Kilz brand primer, two coats. started by painting the edge of the sign blackish red. I just mixed some FolkArt brick red with a little black. 
Next I went to GraphicsFairy.com (You know I love her!) and did a search for Christmas clipart. I came across this darling tree of birds. I am using it for my Christmas cards as well!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bear with me!

I am no computer whiz. Learning HTML and how to make my blog look like a blog I'd want to visit has been no easy task! In an attempt to make my blog look more "Christmas Like" I have somehow messed up my settings. I hope you will visit tomorrow when I can actually get a post up! Here are some pictures to tide you over till the posts are ready.
Winter Village

Happy Fall!

Until next time,
Chatty Cathy

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vintage Halloween sign.

As promised here is the tutorial for the vintage Halloween sign.

This is also a quick and easy project.

Halloween vintage sign from Graphics Fairy
(under search pick halloween and browse till you find and image you like or the one I have choose)

1 ½” strips of your favorite scrap booking/cardstock
Hot glue gun
Scallop edged scissors, or any other edger you like
Black cardstock 12x12
Piece of ribbon or tulle 12”x1-2”

BOO garland

Halloween is fast approaching and I’m still busy making things!  Our neighbors are doing the “boo” thing this year. It’s so much fun. You put together a “treat” bag, bucket or whatever and place goodies in it. You include a sign telling them they have been boo’ed and then give them a sign to hang in their window indicating they have been boo’ed.
They are then supposed to make 2 copies of the letter you gave them and the sign and pass along their own treats to 2 neighbors. It’s a fun tradition. This year we bought buckets and candy and I decided to include a handmade item for each bucket. I hope you like the items and enjoy the tutorial! I will be posting this one today and …
This one tomorrow!
This cute boo garland is easy peasy! You will need:
6-4” squares of black cardstock
3-letters to spell out B O O
1 piece of cardstock or a copy of cardstock in a pattern you like
Glue gun
Martha Stewart scoring board (not necessary but much nicer)
Paper cutter or ruller and scissors

Here’s a close-up of the individual component we’ll be making:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


FRENCH COUNTRY COTTAGE: A PASSION FOR INTERIORS GIVEAWAY: I don't know about you... but I start my Holiday shopping early. We pick up little things here and there as we find them and set them asid...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tutorial: "BOO" pleated paper discs.

As promised I am posting a tutorial on the "BOO" signs I have on my windows for my front porch as seen below. Aren't they cute?

Here's a close-up of the "B"

First you'll need the following:
6- 12"x 12" orange cardstock
1-12"x12"  black cardstock
hot glue gun (I use a multitemp on low setting)
glue sticks
platinum/silver glitter
Zots  marker or permanent black marker such as a Sharpie
3- 16" piece black netting or ribbon
black curling ribbon
Martha Stewart scoring board (very helpful, but not needed)

Okay, let's start

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Porch- On A Budget!

Today I woke in a bit of a funk. I’ve been painting in the house and landscaping which has given me much joy, but I felt restless. Let me explain. I get this restless feeling inside whenever it’s been a little while since I’ve done something creative. Now I know picking paint colors, doing my walls, landscaping and all the projects around the home are “creative” in a way but I mean crafty creative. I had started a paper cone wreath to take to my mom’s porch sale ( see her blog at: http://www.missflibbertigibbet.blogspot.com/ wonderful redone Shabby Chic furniture and French inspired creations!) when she told me on the phone she had made some! Oh well. We had both been crazy over them it was no leap to think we might actually create similar things! Great minds do think alike! When I came home from the porch sale I decided to finish my paper cone wreath for my daughter Kelsey. I took an old praise and worship book of music from the local thrift store. 200 pages of double sided music for 99 cents! I also used an old paper back book for my other wreath (I’ll post pictures next week). Most thrift stores have them under a dollar and I always make sure it’s a book I’m pretty sure will land in a Landfill so I am doing my part at recycling! I would never cut up Little Women for example! My favorite book! I’ll be posting pictures of the wreath for my daughter this weekend. My mom’s blog has a tutorial on it and it’s such an easy project. I made mine slightly different than hers and will also post a “How To” on my weekend post. So making the wreath DID help with my restlessness a bit, but then as I was pulling into the neighborhood I thought: “I know what is bothering me!” My front porch is “nice looking”, 2 chairs, pumpkins, wreath and a faux leaf garland flanking the door. Nice right? It needed more. I fell in love with a Mary Englebreit Home Companion spread on front porches years ago. I drooled over it, but alas I had no front porch or even a stoop! I vowed to one day do a fun porch like that. Now, you will remember that my husband and I purchased a home this summer, and have a daughter in college plus 3 others! Money isn’t exactly something I like to spend right now. My dear husband, David, would give me the moon and the starts if only I asked, but I hate to ask. I think if I have any hidden decorating items I can do the porch up with and sadly come to the realization that living in apartments and townhouses has left me lacking front porch deco! So I kiss him, hand him his coffee and ask what a proposed budget for our front porch decorating would look like? He smiles and says “I’m not used to that.” I said AT&T gives you a budget for projects right? He says “yeah for work, but I’m used to being told ‘I spent this much’” I tell him I don’t do that. You tell me what we can afford and I will stay under that. So we discussed things and he gave me a budget. I came in at just over half of what he told me. Now I could have spent it all and then it would have been spectacular, but restraint and coming in under budget allows him to realize I can be content with less and he can trust me to stick to the budget. Later I may need another budget and I want his trust. So my point is that this project can be done super cheap! Here we go!

Monday, October 10, 2011

To everything there is a season.

August was the last time I blogged!? Really? I have sat so many times about to post and thought, is anyone going to read this? Today I am thinking.... who cares? I mean blogging is going to be my outlet. My chance to reclaim my creative side and explore all the avenues I've never ventured onto. Today I worked in the garage...no...workshop, yeah workshop! My husband and I are building bookcases for our new living room. An adventure. Neither of us are furniture builders, but we are handy with tools and Lowes had many good books on the subject. Of course being my mother's daughter I didn't want run of the mill bookcases. I want crown molding and adjustable shelves and lighting.I don't want one bookcase, I want a wall of them! David is one of the most patient and kind souls I think I've had the pleasure to meet and delight to marry. He said whatever you want sweetie! So we spent a couple of hours today working on the bases for the cases (yes I meant for that to rhyme). I'll be posting some pictures of our progress as it progresses! So far we have one side of the living room's bases made. I guess my point is. Sometimes in life we think; "I wish I could do that!" or "I'd like to try that!". My suggestion? Go for it. Nothing ventured - nothing gained. Challenge yourself to think of something you have thought about trying and then dismissed as "silly" or "not feasible". Take a creative writing class, learn to swim, visit a workshop at Lowes on brick laying! The only thing that holds us back on most ventures is fear or lack of motivation. Many things cost nothing but a little time, and I know how limited it can be trust me! Until recently I worked full time, raised 4 teenage girls and did it on my own-yes single! I still pushed myself to make a "Bucket List" of things that I could try to do even in my state of affairs. I ran a 8k, I pushed myself to swim a mile a day (man I wish I was still doing that...hmm dust the goggles off and go to the gym I'm thinking), I sat and made at least 10 minutes of quiet time to listen to classical music and read. Little things can make a big difference in our daily lives. The feeling that you thought about doing something and then actually tried it, or even better accomplished it- well that's a great feeling let me tell you. So if anyone is reading this, I challenge you to do something, anything. Do something for yourself, for another person, for a group, just get motivated and make a goal. Mine is to stop being afraid of blogging and do it with commitment. So I will be posting each week, after all I'm not Chatty Cathy because I have nothing to say right? I have plenty to say and here's my outlet :)

Have a great week and go change the world...or at least your little part of it!

-Chatty Cathy

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Powder Room Power!

So I now have this really beautiful house that I am slowly transforming into a "home". The first room I decided to tackle is the Powder Room (spare bath). I figured that if I was going to go wild with color, this small 3'x8' space is the place! I chose a bright aquamarine to do the job. Valspar from Lowe's. I've been a Behr girl most of my decorating time, but was at Lowe's and have had success with Valspar, so what the heck. My future hubby loved the color and once again I thank God for a open-minded, brave soul to go through life with! I come home all excited and start putting color on the wall. Super! This is so energizing and alive! 2 walls into it I'm thinking, hmmmm this may be too much aquamarine for someone in this small space? I keep painting and decide my idea of hand painting flourishes and swirls in muted white will be just fine, just keep going! As I'm trudging along I realize, my projector will not work in this small space. I'll have to free hand. By the end of the painting, box unpacking, start of school and all the other joys that come along with the first weeks in a new home at the start of a school year, I decide we will be stenciling this puppy! Much less arduous. I know there are beautiful stencils and I'm certain there are ones I'll find perfect for the project....right? So, somewhere between Virginia Beach and Charleston the art supply stores decided they will completely cut back the stencil stick they have. VB had lots of stencils, but here in Charleston the pickings are slim. I do come across one set that's small, but I feel I can do multiple layers and use only sections of them to create a more customized look. Off I head to Lowe's...again. One a side note. I may be a girl, but there's a distinct possibility that I may love Home Improvement stores more than any stores on the face of the Earth. Lowe's paint department will know me by name by the end of the month I'm quite certain.
I settle on using Martha Stewart's shimmer paint for the project. I planed on doing a relief stencil effect. Let me say here and now. If you plan on using shimmer paint for a stenciling technique you WILL see the swirls. Great right? Well, the light hit it different from ever angle. It looked like a small child painted it for me. I am a seasoned painter, so this was not satisfactory in my book. Okay, lesson learned. I'm using the shimmer in my entry though and it's going to be lovely just painted straight on. So back to the powder room....
I repaint the room with the aquamarine and change my course. Folk Art puts out a great acrylic paint and I use them often. I've used them for 25+ years and feel for crafty projects they are exceptional. For my stenciling I chose the metallic line they offer. I combines different tones of aquamarine and teal as well as silver. The results were great! I got the shimmer I was looking for and the slight transitioning across the stencil from one hue to the other looked great! I've included pictures of the project! I asked David to assist on some higher up ones while taking pictures! He's such a good sport! Thank you God for my wonderful Fiance!
I hope you enjoy the photos and forgive the quality. The room is so small to get into!
Until next time Dear Reader...

-Chatty Cathy

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Winchester Va

So we have taken a small break here in Winchester Va! What a delightful town! It dates back to the 1700's. It's like a mini Charleston! I stopped into a wonderful little yarn shop today- Never Enough Yarn and met the owner who was just wonderful! I love knitters. I have armed myself with some beautiful Bamboo white yarn and bamboo needles to sew Zimmerman's surprise baby jacket. This of course is jumping the gun as we aren't married yet, I am waiting 6 months after that to even get pregnant and of course who knows if it will happen or what I will have! I'm a visionary what can I say? I figure this one will more than likely go to my little sis who IS getting ready to get pregnant! I'm tired of just making scarves and hope this isn't too ambitious? Well that's me anyway! Please visit this shops website and if you have the chance to visit Winchester I highly encourage you to do so!


Until next time...

Chatty Cathy

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Off the Grid!

Well, not really off the grid. I've been travelling by RV through Va, Pa and NY for the last 2 1/2 weeks and still have almost 2 more to go. 30' and inside that 30' RV contains: 1 patient Fiance from heaven, 3 teens that can't agree on much, a cat that pukes often and is only tolerating us because we feed him, a chihuahua that is content constantly ( mostly because he sleeps in the sun and occasionally gets a drink or pees on trees-his favorite past times) and then little ole me-Mom, maker of rules and keeper of peace! I have to say given the small space, mini kitchen and bath and a general lack of excitement...they have done exceedingly well! We did have a lovely day yesterday. It was about 93 and we went to the lake to swim (avoiding the horseflies fairly successively) and then headed back for a hot shower at the camp shower. My first shower in 2 weeks with any type of normal water pressure...it was heavenly! I've showered daily, but the RV shower just doesn't have much pressure, so it leaves you feeling as though there is soap in your hair sometimes. Then we had a great dinner-if I do say so myself! I've mastered cooking for a family of 5 on a RV stove top! Not so bad if you can adapt, which I seem quite able to do! Then we cleaned up and all went back to the lakefront to lay on a blanket watching the stars and looking for meteors and satellites. It was so pretty out! Then we headed back and were thrilled to see the black bears in the dumpsters. This time it was the mid sized bear and the big one. The big one is estimated to be about 160 lbs. We sat with our astronomy binoculars and watched them eat and climb in and out of the dumpsters- big fun for campground! We were able to be about 20 foot away in the jeep with parking lights and they never moved. Kids don't get to see that in SC, so they were thrilled. I keep reminding myself that even though they might fight and complain they are bored sometimes, these girls will remember this month long trip for the rest of their lives. The little things like dodging the horseflies in the lake, seeing bears up close and sitting and roasting marshmallows at night will be things they talk about to their kids and I am the lucky one who has a chance to share the memory with them! I think often lately how very lucky I am. To have family that I love and loves me, to have beautiful, loving daughters and to have found a man that loves me for who I am right where I am and my daughters as his own! We all get on each other's nerves from time to time, but there is a greater thread holding us together. We love  one another when all is said and done. I'm so excited to get to the house in Summerville and start our new life as a married couple and family, but I am cherishing these moments as a lasting memory I'll call upon when my kids have grown and gone. I'd love to have you share some of your favorite family memories!

Until next time Dear Reader,
I bid you happy memories and much love in your life!

Chatty Cathy

Monday, June 6, 2011

moving and rebirth....

So as many know I am moving. 15 days to be exact. In that time I have to pack out the apartment, go to storage and clean out and purge what is no longer useful or wanted, pick up hand me down furniture from generous relatives, drive to SC for a walk through of new home, get my oldest packed up for college, graduation, graduation party, 11 year olds birthday party (same day as graduation!), father's day celebration and my sister's birthday...plus load up the truck, drive to SC, go to closing and move into the house that night. Drive back from SC to pick up 4 kids and then drive to PA to see David's family and register the RV! Oh and did I mention getting married somewhere in there when we can find time? A wedding.... think not.Whew! Okay so how am I still merrily singing Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band and smiling? How have I gone through 16 do it yourself moves, surgeries, 4 births in 5 years and still come out looking at the positive? One reason. I praise God I can count on this being temporary discomfort. These life issues are little compared to the really hard things in life like cancer, death of a family member or friend or any other truly devastating thing. My discomfort at the present is because I have a beautiful (diagnosed autistic) daughter that will be graduating with honors and beat the diagnosis of "never going to regular Ed and getting a normal diploma"! I have a beautiful home being built in Summerville, SC and it's going to be wonderful! I have the most amazing man in the world that loves me right where I am, for who I am no matter what (Thank you God for him). I also have a father who is alive and well to celebrate Father's Day with. I have 4 beautiful daughters the youngest being 11 and turning 12 on June 17th (Graduation Day!). I can thank God for good health and the ability to see the bigger picture in life. I am also blessed to share my life with a man that can do the same. How could I complain (trust me I do find a way, I'm sad to say!). I just finished reading The Hiding Place and once again it gave me perspective on life. Instead of looking for what's not good (which let's face it is so easy in our world), let us look at how those can be blessings? Today, while I sweat in the sun at storage I will be thankful I can afford storage to store and protect those items that wouldn't fit in the apartment. I will be thankful that although incredibly small, my apartment has given us shelter and has running water and AC and heat. I will think about how blessed I am to have so much and each time I want to complain I will try to replace that thought with something positive. I really believe that if we can change our way of thinking life can be such a wonderful adventure. I hope Dear Reader you will take away a renewed thought about your life. I'd love to hear from you some way you feel blessed in life. Until next time think:

The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chatty Cathy the beginning.

Yo Chatty Cathy....Clip your string!
My mom loved to use this phrase and it always made me laugh, still does. Her mom used it before her, my guess is for the same reason she used it on me? I love to talk, yak, converse, reminice, chew the fat, chatter. No matter where I am or who I'm with I can find some subject to talk about. I'm a creative soul with ADD (not ADHD). I am full of energy and love to laugh and therefore feel everyone around me should laugh. My goal? To make sure the people I have the chance to meet laugh at least once while knowing me and remember later that they laughed with me once. What greater joy than to see those you care about have a good laugh and light up?  No this blog is not going to be a jokes page. I plan on just relating eveyday life and it's funny little moments. Maybe you, dear reader, will have a good laugh with me along the way.

I'm engaged, to an incredible man, we'll call him David for lack of a better name (this happens to be his name in fact). I have 4 daughters of ages ranging from 11-17. He only has a black cat name Frisco to throw into the mix. I also have a 5lb. chihuahua named Apollo. So we have decided to combine this whole group into a family (brave we are indeed). My dear David works from home, which used to be great, but now there's the 4 kids, cat and dog. I currently work full time as office manager, acccounts payable, travel coordinator, accounts receivable and girl Friday. Looking at this sceerio you may guess that my dear man has the majority of the work with the kids. Well, Friday is my last day at work and I'm sad and excited. Sad because I couldn't ask for better co-workers. I mean stellar people. I'll dearly miss them. Excited because I have missed making things pretty, gardening, spending individual time with my girls and creating a home in the way I did before a full time job took over. I've balanced both for awhile and have to say it was extremely hard. Kudos to those out there with bunches of kids and working full time! Hats off and a big hug to you because you need it! Ok, back to my story. Last night, I come home to my dear David (after biting his head off in the A.M. for something I'm sure I overreacted over!) and he has this tired look. I recognize it because I've worn it. I say let's go out with no kids? The man is up and ready. So off to dinner we go. It's so nice away and by ourselves that we decide to go to K-Mart and buy chairs for the beach. Staggering 33-. I mean really? (I'm very thrifty). Armed with chairs and a determination to "relax" no matter what we head to the beach. Down on the sand we are talking (my favorite) about life, kids, and our lack of a life with kids :) Just teasing. We comment on how nice it is. David tells me he feels like he needs help or a plan for these moments with the kids. He says he doesn't know what to do. I ask what he means. He says I know the area and my kids. I just come up with things like we'll go here and do this. He says all I have in life is a couple of things: the beach, the library and grilled cheese! I start to laugh, I mean really laugh. I asked....grilled cheese? He says well they eat the heck out of it! I make it and they eat it. He looks very proud and my heart does the little skip it does when my dear David looks at me with those little boy blue eyes (so gorgeous!). Itell him they love the library and the beach, he says..."They love grilled cheese too!" I say yes dear! I told him one day when they are older they will laugh and reminice about trips to the beach, library and grilled cheese! He says really? I think if we all think back on our lives it's those small things and familiar things that really do stick right? Deli sliced american cheese, dill pickles from the barrel at Wawa's in Absecon, N.J., trips to ShopRite and lunches around the table with my Grammy, Poppy, Mama, Papa, uncles and Aunt Patti. These are the things that make my heart warm and the world seems good. Who doesn't catch a whif of something and get taken back to a person or a place? Estee Lauder's Youth Dew makes me instantly think of Grammy! The first rose of the season reminds me of Poppy bringing Grammy the first rose of the year every year. Butterscotch pudding and tea with sugar and milk make me think of Granny in Asbury Park. Aren't some of your greatest pleasures in life those little things, simple things that make you happy? I'd love to have ya'll share a memory and remember something that made you happy and still does. Until my next post- I bid you happy thoughts and warm hearts!