Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Annie's Attic Crochet Patterns Update

I've sold most of the Annie's Attic afghan crochet patterns I had listed.  Those that don't sell won't be relisted at this time because I just don't think it's worth the relisting fee.  And honestly, I wouldn't mind keeping them.  They're beautiful patterns.  But I'm happy with the outcome.  These were my first sales at Etsy and now I've got ideas about other patterns and also craft magazines that I may list.  Vintage patterns seem to be a good seller there.

Besides delving into my own collection and deciding on what I'm willing to part with, this gives me an excuse to do one of my favorite pastimes—thrift store shopping.  Oh the drudgery!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Love Birds Original ACEO Collage

Sometimes I just like to play with paper.  I do like mixed techniques like adding paint or pencil or something else.  But once I get an idea in my head about how certain papers are going to look together, it's fun to just go with it.

In this ACEO, I actually started out knowing that I wanted to put the love and trust stickers on the same piece and the process just flowed from there.  I remembered that I had two little birdie buttons and "Love Birds" was finished.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Last Minute Halloween Kid's Costumes and Crafts

Hi Folks,

I don't have Halloween crafts to share this year but I found some cute last minute costume and craft videos over at YouTube I thought I'd share, especially for you parents who've been procrastinating.

This one is ingenious.  A T-shirt, adhesive craft foam and a bit of elastic is all you need to make up a last minute costume.  The mom made a pumpkin outfit but I can imagine all sorts of characters that would work.

Last minute goodie bags made from toilet paper rolls and toilet paper.

Ninja!  This has got to be one of the quickest costume ideas I've seen so far.

Have fun and have a happy and safe Halloween.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Polymer Clay Cameos

I have a write-up over at PubWages about my first polymer clay cameo.  I love cameos and plan on making a couple more for holiday gifts and for the shop.  Here's the finished piece.

I give a quick rundown on the process I used and ideas for variations in the article.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wood Craft Book Box Ideas Part 3

This is the final post in a three-part series on crafting with wood book boxes.  Here are parts one and two.

The first two photos are of a box used for holding gaming dice.  My husband used pigskin dyed black here and sealed with Mod Podge.  He added embellishments and on the right side you can see a leather strap he added for a closure and used a nail as the hook.

He lined one side of the interior with Victorian themed scrapbook paper and the other with felt.  He painted the edges in burgundy.

Here is another lined with brown pigskin and topped with embellishments.

He hasn't finished the interior of this one yet.  He did make three compartments by gluing in pieces of craft plywood.

I hope this series has helped give you ideas for crafting your own boxes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wood Craft Book Box Ideas Part 2

This is part two of a three-part series on crafting ideas with unfinished wood craft boxes.  See part one here and part three here.

In this post, I'm showing you one of the boxes my husband decorated.  He does bookbinding and uses pigskin leather in some of his projects that he bought from Tandy Leather.  He used that to cover his book box.  He then stained it with tea and sealed with Mod Podge and added metal embellishments.

Before he did all that, he glued strips of cardboard down to imitate the look of old fashioned book spines.  Pretty creative eh?

He added nails on the sides and a clasp where the box opens.  I believe he used a cream color to paint the sides and inside.

He lined one side with Victorian themed scrapbook paper and the other with leather.  He glued in pieces of plywood to separate the inside into three compartments.

I think he does beautiful work.  You should see some of his books.  Maybe he will let me post pictures in the future.  Actually, he's taught me some techniques, so I'll be posting my bookbinding projects.  I hope this gives you some more ideas for wood box crafting.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wood Craft Book Box Ideas Part 1

Decorating wood craft boxes is an easy way to personalize gifts for others and storage items for yourself.  I love the boxes that look like books.  My husband decorated a few of his own to store sundries and inspired me to create my own.  I thought I would share some of our creations.  Since this would be photo heavy, I'm creating three different posts.  This is just to give you a few ideas and get you thinking about how you'd like to create your own.

We bought our boxes at Michael's.  You may also be able to find these or some variation at craft stores or online.

First up is my creation.  I wanted a cottage theme and I found these prints in my scrap collection.  I sanded the box a bit and then painted a base coat and antiqued it.

I layered three pieces of paper on each side.  I had scrapbook paper with a stone background which I used for my base piece.  The glue I used throughout was Mod Podge.  I then used a smaller piece of black scrapbook paper to showcase the prints.  After all three pieces were glued down, I sealed the box with Mod Podge.

I did the same painting and sealing technique on the interior.  There are tiny magnets that seem to be working well so far.

The antiquing really took nicely on the ridged areas.  I used antiquing fluid I had left from the days I used to do ceramics but you could easily water down some craft paint, paint it on and quickly rub it off with a sponge or paper towel to create the same effect.

This was a quick and frugal craft.  You could easily make it more frilly or more minimalist.  I left the interior as it but in the next couple of posts I'll show you how my husband altered it to create compartments.  See part two here and part three here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Geek Knitting and Crochet

Nerds love knits! Well at least the ones I know. And crochet too. At the sci-fi conventions I've been to, there have been plenty of busy hands crocheting and knitting away. While we weren't all working on what's come be called geek knitting, I know I wasn't the only one working on a Dr. Who scarf while listening to filk. I've gathered some free patterns I've found around the internet as well as patterns and books for sale for fans. These would be great for costumes, toys and just for fun. Enjoy!

I'd never heard of Dr. Who before I met my husband. I agreed to knit him a Dr. Who scarf not knowing what I was getting myself into. It's quite long as you can see.

Dr. Who Scarf inspired by the one Tom Baker wore thrown over my geeky guy's closet to show you the scale.

He found the website Doctor Who Scarf which has patterns from theTom Baker seasons with different scarves. I made the season 16/17 scarf. When you browse the site and click which season page you want, click the purple tab on the page and you'll be taken to the color layout and row counts.

More Dr. Who geek knitting and crochet:
Star Wars:
  • Lucy Ravenscar has some excellent amigurumi crochet patterns of Star Wars characters in her Etsy shop.
  • Also some freebies at the Geek Central Station link below.
Harry Potter:
A work in progress. A scarf inspired by but not a duplicate of the Gryffindor scarf from the Harry Potter movies.

Lord of the Rings:
Dr. Pooh. My husband's Winnie the Pooh bear he had as a kid in the 70s with a mini Dr. Who scarf. I still need to make a vest and hat but you get the idea.

And we can't forget Star Trek:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vintage Paper Crane Vertical Garland

This was fun.  I've been practicing origami and even though I've been using traditional paper, I decided to recycle some paper taken from a vintage copy of Andersen's Fairy Tales.  This book was a library sale find.  It wasn't in good shape at all and was surely on the way to the trash if someone hadn't bought it.  I've been using it in collages until now.

Paper crane made with upcycled vintage paper meant for the trash heap.

The only problem was that the paper was fragile and it had an uneven texture which made uniformity a problem.  I decided to just go for it and let the imperfection add to the sort of shabby retro look I wanted.

I was going for a 70s retro feel.

There are six cranes on this garland which I strung on green wool yarn.  I added two coats of varnish because of the age of the paper.  The cranes are held in place with wood beads and knots.  It's about 5 feet long and has wooden beads at the top and bottom.

Heavier large bead +2 at bottom

I've done about 25 of these cranes.  I plan on making at least one more garland with a different color yarn and several ornaments.  See the full listing at Etsy.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Etsy Shop Update and Plans

I'm very happy with my Etsy shop with 15 sales so far after just about a month and a half.  I don't know if that's good or average.  To be honest, I'm still learning about Etsy.  My sales have been crochet patterns and vintage books.  They're small sales but I'm really just glad to get things rolling with the shop.

My original plan before I opened was to add healing and rune and ogham readings.  I will be putting up those listings within the next few days.  From the little research I've done, some people say you should set up a separate shop for that.  I'm not going to do that at this time.  Rather, I think with the sort of gypsy caravan feel I'm going for that readings and energy healing will fit right in.  I'm open to changing my mind at a later date if it doesn't gel.  It's all in the experimental stage now.

I started to accept payment by credit card directly through Etsy instead of just Paypal.  I made 2 sales immediately after I did that.  I don't know if that's a coincidence but I thought it wouldn't hurt since there are still some people who don't use Paypal.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First Adventures in Learning Vintage Book Series - Adventures with Words

I came across these charming vintage books from 1970 in the First Adventures in Learning series.  All of the books in the series were first published in 1963 and republished for Golden Press.  They are meant for pre-school children and some of you from Gen X may remember them.  I'll show you each of them in separate posts.  I'm considering offering the option of buying them all together but I'm not sure about that at this time.

First up is Adventures with Words written by Adelaide Holl and illustrated by J.P. Miller.

Kids learn words that go with certain people and activities.  In this one we see what "Happy Birthday" means.

I love the 60s illustrations.  In this picture, kids learn the words associated with different forms of transportation.

And all sorts of foods are shown here.

And a closer look at some animals here.  I love the lion illustration especially.

It's really an adorable book.  More pictures have children name certain types of people and their occupations.  Also animals and every day things children will recognize.  The listing for the book is here at Etsy.  Update:  This one has been sold as have most of the others, so I won't be putting posts up for the listings.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lisa Shea Origami

I'm falling in love with origami, not just the beautiful simplicity but also how it becomes a meditative practice in making the folds.  I wanted to introduce you to Lisa Shea, founder of BellaOnline - The Voice of Women and origami entrepreneur.  I'm a former writer for BellaOnline and first found out about Lisa's origami business there.  Her work has even been featured during a wedding on the Today Show in 2008.

I've begun to practice cranes mostly and plan on putting up some ornaments on Etsy and possibly Hand Made in Michigan.  I'm working with traditional origami paper but also vintage book paper and will start practicing with maps soon.  You can get so creative with it!

Lisa has an instructional channel on YouTube.  Here is her short version of her crane folding tutorial.  Her longer version is here which is helpful to see exactly what she is doing.  Her origami sales website is here.  She takes custom orders for all occasions.  She does beautiful work including garlands, mobiles, jewelry and more.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cathedral Window Traditional Quilt Afghan and Pillow Crochet Pattern

Update:  Sold and no longer available.  Here is another one of the Annie's Attic patterns I'm listing at Etsy.  This is an afghan and pillow crochet pattern based on the traditional Cathedral Window design.  The second picture is of the back of the afghan.

The Cathedral Window design is one of my favorite quilt patterns.  It's a perfect technique to use for scrap quilting.  Likewise, this afghan pattern would be a good way to use up leftover yarn from other projects.  You can find the listing for this pattern at Etsy.  Abby Holverson over at Instructables has an excellent tutorial on the Cathedral Window quilt technique.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Passion Flower Goddess ACEO and Greeting Cards

This is another one of my Earth Goddess series of ACEOs and greeting cards titled Passion Flower Goddess at Cafe Press and Henna Goddess in Purple and Orange at Etsy.

Like the Ivy Goddess ACEO, this one is inspired by henna designs.  I used the same technique of tea staining watercolor paper and executing the picture in first pencil then ink and colored pencils.  I'm selling the original ACEO at Etsy and stationary products including greeting cards, notecards and postcards at Cafe Press.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Upcycle Vintage Tiles with Decoupage

I recently wrote an article for Pubwages on how I upcycled vintage tiles with decoupage.  I did a set of three to hang in my office to add a little spring cheer.  I used tiles I found at a reuse center but you can buy new ones too.  Here is an example of one.

They all have a butterfly theme and have a soft look.  I used scrapbook findings but you can use any papers you have and even create a mini collage.  For the technique I used, you can read the instructions at Pubwages.

Basketweave Log Cabin Traditional Quilt Afghan Crochet Pattern

The log cabin quilt pattern has always been one of my favorites.  It's been beautifully adapted to crochet in this pattern from Annie's Attic.  Here are two examples of two color sets.  I love both but even though I'm a purple fan, I like the traditional green and red color combination better.  But this would be fun to experiment with any colors you choose.

This is one of many patterns I'm listing that are based on traditional quilt designs.  See the full listing at Etsy.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ivy Goddess Female Nude ACEO and Greeting Cards

I began to experiment with ACEOs (Art Cards Editions and Originals) a few years ago.  I was doing henna designs on my own skin and even toyed with the idea of starting a side business and was inspired to incorporate the design concept into ACEOs.

Henna is a natural dye used for body art and to color hair.  Here is an example of a paisley design I did on my hand around 2004.

Paisley henna design before paste removal

I combined several techniques in the ACEO below.  First I stained watercolor paper with tea.  I then roughly sketched a female form and the ivy motif and then added a free-form spiral design inspired by henna.  I outlined the form in ink and added color with colored pencils.  I was really happy with the outcome and created a few more pieces along this vein which will be showcased in separate posts.

Ivy Goddess ACEO by P.J. Deneen

I titled this one "Ivy Goddess" and am selling the original ACEO at Etsy as well as cards with this design over at Cafe Press.

I love the tea staining but plan on experimenting with watercolors and indigo with both female and male figures in upcoming work.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crochet Car Afghan and Pillow Pattern

I'm busy listing crochet patterns from my collection of the Annie's Crochet Quilt & Afghan Club from Annie's Attic from 1993.  This one is for an adorable car-themed afghan and pillow pattern.  This would be such a fun gift for any child who loves anything to do with cars.

This would be a great project to use up leftover yarn from other projects.  I've kept these patterns in great condition.  I'll be sharing each one in a separate post.  Many of them are based on traditional quilt patterns, so quilt lovers who can crochet can indulge both interests at once.  The listing for the car afghan is here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Welcome to my new blog in support of my first Etsy shop, Rambling Ivy Caravan.  I've been a crafter ever since I can remember and decided to add my love of arts, crafts, and treasure hunting to my web content writing to round out my online business.

I chose the name of my shop because it evokes the image of a free-spirit selling her crafty wares and found objects she's come across on her travels.  I have just a few items up right now including crochet jewelry and patterns and ACEOs.  But I'm adding stuff  almost daily.  It's been a learning process navigating the Etsy system but I'm getting the hang of it.

Here's an example of the jewelry.  My granny taught me to crochet when I was 7, so it's only fitting that the first items I listed were granny square crochet earrings.  These are made with DMC thread, seed beads and other small beads.  They measure 2-1/2 inches long and 1-1/2 inches wide.  This is close to what all the other earrings measure.  They're a bit gypsy, a bit hippie and were just plain fun to make.  I plan on experimenting with different crochet patterns in jewelry using traditional thread but also metal eventually.

I have several different colors and designs but this pair, Orange Dream, has been admired already.  It's funny because I wasn't sure if orange would be too flashy.  I'll be updating the blog with more of my latest items.  Visit my shop here to see what's up.