Dec 30, 2011

Magnetic "Paper" Dolls

One day while surfing the net, I discovered these adorable vintage Betsy McCall paper dolls.  

I knew I just had to do something with them!  I decided they would be a fun thing for my granddaughter.  So, I downloaded the pdf files and printed them on ink jet printable magnetic sheets.  To be more efficient with the magnetic paper, I cut and pasted only the outfits I wanted so that I could fit more on a page.  I also resized them to the size I wanted.  Before cutting out the individual pieces, I covered each printed page, front only, with a clear non-heat laminating sheet.  You could also use clear contact paper...I just happened to have picked up a whole packet of laminating sheets at a thrift store for a couple of bucks...second chances, you know!  Anyway, the next step is to relax and put on a good movie while you tediously cut out all the dolls and outfits.  I had the perfect sized tin to store all the pieces in.  I just mod podged the front, back, and inside with some green scrapbook paper since green is my granddaughter's favorite color.  Now she has a fun, quiet activity that is compact and travels well.  Everything stores in the tin, and since it's metal, the dolls and clothes stick right to it!

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Dec 1, 2011

Mailable Christmas Tree

Our son is serving a mission for our church right now down in Brazil.  We have discovered, through sad experience, that the Brazilian postal service is not exactly the most reliable.  (Sorry if you are from Brazil, but we haven't had the best of luck getting our packages through to him!)  Anyway, envelopes, as opposed to boxes, seem to do alright.  Last Christmas I wanted him to have a little bit of Christmas cheer but had to think of something that could be sent in an envelope.  I came up with a paper Christmas tree and paper ornaments.  Before I sent them off, I asked friends and family to write something on the back of each ornament.  As he placed the ornaments on the tree, he could read what was written and feel the love that was being sent his way.  So, if you have loved ones far away, maybe this idea could bring a little bit of Christmas cheer to them also.  When taken apart, it all fits into a large manilla envelope.

Here is the decorated tree.  
I cut ornaments from solid and printed papers, then mixed and matched the various pieces.  The ornament tops were cut from gold metallic paper.

A view of the tree before the ornaments.
Each "branch" is attached to the poster board base with stick- on velcro.  I randomly placed paper brads on the branches for the ornaments to hang from.  Well, maybe it wasn't completely random...I put the tree together, then placed the ornaments on top to get an idea of where they should go.  I marked them with a pencil and then added the paper brads.  The star was cut using a stencil and then glued to the tree top.  The ornaments and branches were cut using my cricut.  I have included those SCUT files at the end of the post.

A close-up of one of the branches.  
I used a variety of green paper to give it some character.  I chalked around the edges to add some depth.

The base was cut from poster board and taped together so that it could easily fold and fit into the envelope.  I labeled each spot of velcro with a letter that matched a letter on the corresponding tree branch.  I thought that would make it easier for my son to put it all together.

And, just to show you that it successfully reached is the photo our son sent of his tree hanging in his humble little apartment!  (I just realized that the ornament at the top is the one that his girlfriend wrote on...I can tell by the extra paper that was attached to the back.  Now I see where we rank as parents!  That's alright, though, we love Becca.  She's serving a mission also in Peru.)

I cut the ornaments and tree pieces using my cricut.  I use Sure Cuts A Lot v.2.  Below are the downloadable SCUT files for the branches and ornaments.  If you don't have access to a personal electronic cutter and software, you could still replicate this idea by making your own templates and cutting them by hand.  You might even be able to find some paper garland (I saw some garland of Christmas lights at the Dollar Tree) that could be cut apart and used as the ornaments.  Good luck!  I hope this brings some holiday cheer to your loved ones far away!

Nov 26, 2011

Duct Tape Purses

UPDATE 4/28/2013:  If you would like to view a step-by-step tutorial of a simple, fabric-lined duct tape purse, visit my youtube channel.  Become a subscriber so you can be informed when I add new videos!  Click here to view the video!

The other day I submitted some duct tape purses to the editor of Haute Handbags.  I received word today that they have chosen 3 of my 5 designs to include in their April 1 edition of the magazine!  I'll keep those designs a'll have to wait for the magazine.  But here are the two "rejects!"

The first one I named "Anenome" because it reminded me of the ocean.  I used chrome duct tape, silver brads, vintage jewelry, and D-rings to give it some silver accents.  The flower was made by backing a long strip of duct tape with another strip of duct tape—offsetting the strips about 1/4" so that you end up with both edges having 1/4" of stickiness.  Trim away one of the sticky edges.  With your scissors, make 1/8" snips in the tape, cutting to, but into the sticky edge.  This will create a "fringed" strip with an uncut sticky edge.  Determine how big you want your flower and make a circle base with the duct tape.  I overlapped side by side a couple of 3" long pieces of duct tape, backed them with the same, then cut it into a 3" circle.  Starting with the outside edge of the circle, begin to stick your fringe onto the base.  Keep adding the continuos fringe around the circle until you get to the center.  You may need to cut more fringe to complete the flower.  Using epoxy, add a vintage piece of jewelry to the center.  Epoxy, or hot glue gun the flower to the bag.

The next one I named "Black Tie."  It has a fancy tuxedo look to it.  I folded the white duct tape over on itself to within 1/4" of the edge, leaving a sticky strip.  Then I gathered it as I stuck it to a duct tape base.  Chrome duct tape was also used for accents.  The black tie is actually a shoe clip that is epoxied in place.  The fabric lining wraps over the top edge to the front to add some extra interest to the purse.  Small black brads were added to the base of the handles to make them more secure.

I always knew that duct tape was functional, but who knew it could be so pretty also?

I just finished one more purse to add to the mix.  This one has a different flower.  It's made the same way as the first one, only cut with petals instead of "fringe."
Watch my youtube video to see how its done!

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Nov 24, 2011

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Tiann from Bits and Pieces who is the winner of the White Rabbit's Timekeeper from Shabby Apple!  For those of you who didn't win, you can still take advantage of the 10% off code for another 3 weeks.

Thanks to everyone who entered!  Tiann, please contact me so that I can get your information forwarded to the folks at Shabby Apple.  Congratulations!

Nov 17, 2011

Shabby Apple Jewelry Giveaway!

Sorry, this contest is now closed!

I am so excited to be hosting a giveaway by Shabby Apple!  For those of you who don't know, Shabby Apple in an online boutique specializing in Women's clothing and accessories.  I love their philosophy:


A return to what dresses were always meant to be — a one-piece outfit. No need to add tank tops, no cardigans, nothing (except accessories, of course!).

We started Shabby Apple because we saw a need in women’s fashion that was not being met. A need to make women feel feminine and beautiful for what they wear, not what they bare. We offer flirty, stylish dresses a woman can wear just as comfortably in the office, at a family dinner, or on a date. Shabby Apple is a fashion company for women, by women, and of women.
Because serving women and families is a core value at Shabby Apple, we devote a certain percentage of our net proceeds to charitable causes serving women and children.

Their clothing is modest and stylish...what a great combination!  Check out some of these beautiful dresses...

They also specialize in vintage jewelry.  Here are just a few of their fantastic pieces...

I was lucky enough to choose one of their beautiful pieces to be given to one lucky reader.
It was a hard decision, but I finally settled on

This beautifully crafted pocket watch necklace is made of etched antique brass metal.  Glass front opens to reveal clock.  Glass face is diamond cut in a lovely shade of golden brown. 
Necklace is 24” long  
Handmade in the USA
A $64 value! 

Isn't it just GORGEOUS?!!

And that's not all!  They are also offering a 10% off coupon to my readers to be used within the next 30 days...just in time to pick out something lovely to wear for the holiday season!  Just use the following coupon code:

To enter to win this amazing necklace, do either (or all) of the following—leaving a separate comment for each:

Visit Shabby Apple, look around, then come back and leave a comment telling me what you like about their boutique.

 "Like" Shabby Apple on facebook and then leave me a comment saying you did so.

Become a follower of Second Chances by Susan and let me know that you did so.  If you already are a follower, leave a note reminding me that you are!

The fine print!  The winner must have a US shipping address.  And, there will be no exchanges for the winning piece of jewelry.  Contest will end at 9pm PST on November 24, 2011.  Winner will be chosen using a random number generator and announced on November 25, 2011.

Good Luck!!

Nov 2, 2011

Faux Painted Crown Molding

When my boys were little I had painted their ceiling as a sky and then painted a border of kites around the room.  It served its purpose for several years, but as with most decor, it began to feel outdated.  So after 13 years and before the arrival of our last one I decided to repaint.  Well, that was 8 years ago, but I still enjoy the ceiling.  For awhile, Buzz Lightyear flew across the night sky, but now it just has the glow-in-the-dark stars.  The crown molding and circular molding was painted using various shades of cream, beige, and gray.  I drew the circle on the ceiling by attaching a string with a pencil to the fan which was centered in the room.  One trick I discovered while painting the circular trim is that electrician's tape worked awesome for masking it off.  There is enough stretch to it that it smoothly formed the shape of the circle.  The only dark blue paint I had at the time had a gloss finish, but I kind of like the sheen that it gave the night sky.  So even though it rains quite a bit here in Oregon, I can always lay in bed and have a great view without even a drop falling on me! 

Oct 29, 2011

Mega Man!

This year our youngest wanted to be Mega Man for Halloween.  I had the perfect colored stretch lycra material already in my stash.  I picked up the rest of the supplies at a thrift store.  I used a basketball for the helmet.  It worked perfect because it was soft and pliable and I was able to cut the shape with scissors.  I used a football for the mega blaster.  These were both covered with the lycra and glued in place on the inside with the glue gun.  I cut a hole at one end of the football and wedged a flashlight in it.  It serves two purposes.  One, to use as a handle to hold the blaster, and two, as a cool light-up power source.  I covered the lens with transparent red tape.  The boots were made using thick plastic/foam placemats.  They were also covered with the fabric.  He LOVES it so I'd say it was a success!

Where's Waldo and Wenda?

Who knew Waldo had a girlfriend?  Apparently, he does, and her name is Wenda!  My daughter and her husband thought they would be fun costumes.

Apparently, red and white striped shirts are hard to come by.  So, duct tape to the rescue!

To see more of her craftiness, visit:

Oct 24, 2011

Going Bananas!

My crazy boys got the idea one day to make banana costumes from "egg carton" foam mattress pads.  They even made one for my youngest.  They made signs that said, "Please don't eat my babies," and hung out at the grocery store by the bananas...we'll at least the older ones did, I wouldn't let the youngest go (actually, I would have preferred that none of them go, but hey, they're teenagers!)  They even wanted to stand on a street corner and see  how much money they would get with a sign that said, "Need $$ my wife split!"  I don't think they ever did least I hope they didn't!  I do know they went crazy running around the WalMart parking lot because I've seen video evidence of that!

Costume Tip:  No real tip, just guard your foam pads, or you might end up sleeping on a hard mattress!

Click HERE to see more costumes!