March 29, 2011

Easter Quilts and Dolls Hand Made Originals by Mona Rae Cich



Mona Rae Cichs of Hidden Talents
We first introduced you to this talented woman on December 6, 2010 here as our featured artist. Mona Rae Cich creates unique hand made original quilts and dolls and is the owner and creator of  Hidden Talents. http://www.monaraeoriginals.com/
 Mona Rae is an avid fan of our CCC blog and Facebook.  Even on the road during their recent travel to shows in Phoenix AZ, Denver CO., and Lancaster PA. she always keeps in touch and provides updates.
Mona Rae has been very busy preparing quilts and dolls for the upcomming Canterbury Spring Festival on April 8, 9, 10th in Shakopee MN.  Please stop in and meet Mona Rae and her husband Ken at the show, they will be in booth# D1&D2.
In addition to our Easter featured decorating and gift ideas, check out Mona Rae on Facebook and view all of her beautiful creations at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mona-Rae-OriginalsHidden-Talents/127350071963
and become a fan.


Maxwell-9inches tall, can be posed $23.99
$45.00 with stand, $30.00 quilt only
Mr. Rabbit and Ms. Bunny 24" tall $39.99 each

Pete is 8" tall and is $12.99

Picket Fence size 14"x16" with stand $69.00
Birdhouse 6"x8", $35.00 with stand

March 22, 2011

"Flower Power"

Jenny ( the Bride)
Flowers... definitely my favorite planning stage of the wedding!  After careful research Jenny has chosen to go with fresh flowers.  Jenny theme is "garden" so it made sense to go fresh. Besides,  she felt fresh flowers make a wedding so romantic.

Jenny and Jim at Cape Coral Florists
 Wedding ideas and inspiration can be found all over the Internet with plenty of do-it-yourself ideas, and how-to information. And we considered creating the flower bouquets ourselves.  With the time and energy it would require, Jenny decided to go to one of our local florists at Cape Coral Floral.  Jim has 34 years of experience and does excellent work.  And their prices were not bad at all.

Jim ( Wedding Designer)
 Jenny and I met with Jim to discuss several options, and he was very open with what Jenny wanted.  Jenny looked at several bouquets online and narrowed it down to colors and style.  Jenny had printed out a couple so Jim was able to get a vision of what Jenny was looking for.  This allowed us to spend more time at our appointment discussing what what we want rather than wasting time on what we didn't.
The beauty and fragrance of wedding flowers symbolize promise and commitment between the couple.  it can be somewhat difficult to choose the right wedding flower. Listed below are 4  of the wedding flowers Jenny chose:
* Rose:  known as the queen flower.  Rose has always has been used by poets and romantic writers as a reflection of beauty, emotion,true love and passion.
* Calla Lily: An elegant calla lily looks sensational in a wedding bouquet.
* Tulip: Tulips come in many colors and symbolizes a powerful human emotion and a yellow tulip means, hopelessly in love.
* Hydrangeas: The powerful presence of hydrangeas infuse glamor and life to your wedding.
Now that you know the special meaning to some of Jenny's wedding flowers we just have to wait to see how fabulous the wedding flowers will look!
-Kate (Mother-of-the-bride)

March 21, 2011

It's Spring, a good time for a Wedding!


Jenny and Rob
 One of your hosts here at Creative Chicks Cafe, and my daughter, is getting married!  Yes, can you believe it... Jenny's getting married! The special day is coming up fast.  May 7, 2011.  I don't even want to think about how close it is. In honor of this special event we are featuring some posts about meaningful, unique wedding ideas.  Planning a wedding from start to finish is definitely not an easy task and can bring with it moments of exhaustion and stress. But,   I also find it extremely exciting.


The wedding invitation
 Hosting a wedding involves decisions. The wedding theme is the foundation for these decisions and is the inspiration for all ideas and creativity in transforming the wedding day into something special. Cute and sweet, with endless possibilities is the love bird theme.  Birdcages and bird-printed anything are in abundance this spring. The wedding invitations were
purchased at Micheals. www.micheals.com  BRIDES, a wedding collection from the editors of  Brides Magazines designed them.  http://www.brides.com/  We had them printed at Office Max in just one day.  www.officemax.com Total cost for invitations and printing, under $150.00. 

inspiration dress
 The next step was the choice of the Bridesmaids dresses.  Color and style were easy. Truth be told, Jenny has been planning her wedding day since we can remember and for at least ten years we have kept a evening gown the color of jade and black in the back closet as inspiration.  So it was not difficult to move on from there.  Jenny chose Alfred Angelo,  www.alfredangelo.com for both her wedding dress and the Bridesmaids dresses.  I wish I could show you the dress she has chosen, but,  I'll have to save that for after the wedding.  I can tell you  that her wedding dress is ivory and the girls dresses are jade.  Each Bridesmaid has selected a unique style of her own.

So with all that being done, it's time for the Bridal Shower.  The shower will take place this Saturday. with an Asian Flair.  This is where you come in...
I am looking for ideas.  Whether it be food, decorating, games, etc.  If you have a website you would like to share or an experience we would find helpful please leave us a comment below.  Or you can email me at   Kate@creativechickscafe.com  We appreciate any and all ideas...
Have a great day!
-Kate

March 8, 2011

The Green Sheep - Joan Olson Brings Life to Used Wool Sweaters

Joan Olson Artist and Creator of The Green Sheep
I have a visual for you, follow me for one moment.  After a long day you reach home put on your comfort clothes to unwind, it is cold outside; you make a cup of hot chocolate or perhaps tea with a teaspoon of honey in it just to get the chill off your bones.  You go to that spot in your favorite room in the house and drape a beautiful warm blanket over your lap that you received as a gift. But would you ever have imagined that the blanket is made from recycled wool sweaters? 
Joan Olson is an artist and creator of The Green Sheep, her mission is to “Rescue wool sweaters for a new life.” Take a quick peek at her site before you continue; http://thegreensheep.wordpress.com
A Happy Little Tune
Joan grew up in Southern California, married there and then moved to the Midwest to Crystal Lake Illinois where they raised their family. “Our two daughters are just about grown up; our oldest is getting married this spring and our youngest is in college.” Joan’s “Day job” is as an occupational therapist. “I love my day job; my after-hours job is as The Green Sheep (sounds like a masked crusader), designing and sewing things from recycled wool sweaters.”
Joan creates her unique genre from her home studio. “Now that we are empty-nesters, I have slowly co-opted more and more portions of the house for my sewing- and still my wonderful husband never complains. My sewing machine is set up by a sunny, west-facing window in our home’s loft.”
Goin' To The Beach
When did Joan first discover the artist in her?  “I have always enjoyed messing around with crafts, learning how to do new things.  When I was young, my mom had a huge box of odds and ends to create fun stuff with.  In grade school, I checked out library books to teach myself to knit and crochet.  I have a very wide “do-it-yourself” streak and generally think that with a little education and some extra time, most of us are capable of doing more with our own hands than we suspect.”
Joan shops for her sweaters, or has them given to her. “I felt them and cut them and make blankets, mittens, sachets, coasters etc. from them.”  She shared with me; “I like things that make me feel comfortable and at home, so that’s what I try to make. I try to create things that conjure up warm memories of favorite places. I think of my blankets sort of like comfort food.”   Felting is done by washing 100% wool sweaters in hot water, and then drying them on high heat. This process allows the wool to shrink and creates a tightly woven fabric so it will not unravel when you cut the fabric.  Raise your hand if a family member threw your favorite wool sweater in the dryer, and you held it up and it looked child size.  
Life is A Gift
Lovie Babies
Joan draws her inspiration from the sweaters themselves. “I like to say that they choose their own partners.  Sometimes I’ll just pick up a beautiful sweater once it’s been felted and I’ll walk around and hold it up to my other sweaters until a color combination stops me in my tracks.” It’s all about color and texture for Joan. “An idea often begins with a photo or a pairing of sweaters that I just can’t get out of my head. Or the sweaters are so touchable that I can’t put them down-that’s how I started the lovies for babies.”
I had a few questions for Joan that I think your will enjoy reading her responses:
Where did you learn your technique?  My mom gets the credit for teaching me to read a pattern and use a sewing machine.  She was a great and patient teacher, and she loved to sew right along with me.  I’ve taken drawing, painting, and woodworking classes at various times through my life.  But the techniques that I use with The Green Sheep have all been discovered by observing how others have used felted wool and then trying out ideas of my own.  This method involves tons of trial and error!”

Sweet Pea
How often do you work?  Ideally, I’d like to do a little something everyday—look at pictures, plan a blog post, cut wool, lay out a design.  Of course, it certainly doesn’t always work out that way!”
What skills have you found essential in your work? “The willingness to try something new without the assurance of a good result.  Experimentation is invaluable.”

Where are you currently showing your creations?  Online (through my blog: thegreensheep.wordpress.com) and at seasonal home shows.  As my inventory grows a bit more, I’ll probably consider putting my things on etsy.com.”

Sachets
What advice can you give people just starting out? “I am just getting started myself!  I’ve been working at this a little more than 1-1/2 years, but so much still feels new.  A friend who was a few years “ahead” of me in a crafting business encouraged me to just give it a try.  It looked very overwhelming, but I took one step at a time.  I started by setting little deadlines for myself, like: “This week I’m going to make a simple business card.” Or “This week I will learn how to register a business name in my county.”  I still set little goals like that.”

Mittens
If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?  “Really—I have no idea!  I suppose I’d pay my taxes on it, put the rest in the bank, and then have a good, long conversation with God about what he’d want me to do with that money!”

That 70's Throw
  "Additionally, if you have wool sweaters of your parents or a loved one, Joan can create a keepsake blanket that would be personal and meaningful." Or if you live in her area and would like to give her any old wool sweaters, please contact Joan at her email greensheepjo@gmail.com , or visit her blog at http://thegreensheep.wordpress.com and see all of the beautiful treasures she creates.
Thank you Joan, your story is inspiring, and to create art from re-purposed wool sweaters is very unique talent.



March 1, 2011

Button, Button, who's got the Button?

BUTTONS !!!  I LOVE buttons... I collect, sew and create buttons.  My love for the button began when I was a small child.  My Grandmother would give me her "Button Box" to keep me occupied while she created outfits for the family to wear.  I would spend hours sorting buttons by color, shape and size.  I now own "Gramma's Button Box" and I am proud to say,  I also know every button in the box!
Now... have you ever given thought of where the button began.  Buttons made their debut over 3,000 years ago, during the Bronze Age.  They were fashioned from bone, horn, wood, metal and even seashells.  The buttonhole wasn't invented until about  the 1200's so these buttons were nothing more than simple decorations.
The word button appeared in France and came from the word "bouton" for bud or "bouter" to push.  The french were quick to spot the potential of the button and by 1250 had established the Buttton Makers Guild.  The Guild produced beautiful buttons of great artistry and as a result the button became a status symbol and once again were being used not just for fastening clothing but as an adornment.  The attraction for buttons resulted in outfits adorned with thousands of buttons.  Dressing and undressing became a chore.  In 1520 King Francis I of France had over 13,000 buttons adorning his clothing while he met with King Henry VIII of England.  He also sported as many buttons on his clothing.
In America buttons were imported, until, 1812 when the demand for everyday objects like cloth and buttons grew.  In America,  factories began to produce many fine buttons in quanties not previously possible.  Some of the finest buttons ever manufactured were crafted during the "Golden Age" of button making in America, 1830 - 1850.  In addition to the increase in mass-production, new types of materials were being discovered.  Hard rubber was introduced by Goodyear.   Plastic, glass and china, also popular button materials.  Buttons were mass produced as simply and cheaply as possible, and came in all shapes and sizes.  Fortunately, for all of us, there are still artisans today that believe beautiful buttons should be available for everyone to enjoy and treasure.  Button clubs, such as the National  Button Society have fought to preserve the integrity of the button.

Kate's Button Collection
 Today, many homes still have the "Button Box", but with today's busy lifestyle few people take the time to sew buttons on anything.  But, the future of the button seems secure despite the popularity of Velcro.
So the question is... Have you every sewed on a button?  It's surprising how many have not!  Don't be afraid it's easy.  Just follow these simple steps below...
1. Choose a button.

needle, thread and button
 2.  Choose the thread color that matches the button.
3. Cut a piece of thread about 20 inches long.
4. Thread  the needle.
5. Move the needle to the middle of the thread and fold the thread in half.  Tie a not where both ends meet at
    the bottom.
The thread is doubled and ready to sew.
6.  Place the button on top of the material where you want to sew it into place.
7.  From under the material, push the needle up through the material and one of the holes on the button.  Pull the thread all the way through until the knot is anchored against the material.
8.  Push the needle down through the second hole on the button and through the material.
9.  Repeat steps 7 and 8 three times, going up and down so that each hole is secured by mulitple strands.
10. End with the needle on the material side  and secure it with a knot.  Double-knot this end.

So now you know a little history about the button.  When I dig though my button collection I try to think about where each button came from and the many times the button was buttoned.  I hope this too helps you to think differently about the button, where it came from and its many uses.

Handmade buttons, made from clay.
Painted with an underglaze and ready to be
fired in a kiln.
 I also LOVE button crafts! In future Creative Chicks Cafe Blogs we will have several button craft tutorials.  If you have any buttons ideas let us know so we can share them with everyone!!!
-Kate
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