Cricut scrapbook elements

Scrap-booking has become another one of my obsessions. I said, for years, that I was not interested in scrapping and then…tada…my great niece was born. Only the most adorable and smartest little girl ever! So, here I am, documenting every step in her young life. I also said that I wasn’t interested in kids. Now I’m completely gaga over Tat. hmmm…I think that it must be because I am now at a Grandma’s age. Anyway…as for scrapping…


Sometimes I only have one picture that turned out really cute for a certain event. That means that I want to decorate a page around a single photo. My new favorite trick for making fun elements is my Cricut cutter. It is so cool that I can use Photoshop to make my elements and text and then just cut them out with Cricut. LOVE it!

The text, starburst shapes, pumpkin and the rickrack were all cut with the Cricut. As you can see, I also used pens to add detail. What a cutie.



Scrapbook 4 page layout

How do you scrapbook a layout if your event has waaay too many photos? And your client wants most, if not ALL, of the pics in said layout?

That was my dilemma when I scrapped my great niece’s birthday party. My niece is a really busy single mom, so I offered to make scrapbooks to document her daughter’s life. I mean, I love it and it’s fun, but sometimes my niece has her own ideas of how a certain event should be scrapped and those ideas don’t always gel with mine. So it was with this fourth birthday party.


To sort things out, I divided the photos into four different categories, one for each of four pages. We made little gift tags, water bottle tags and invites so we wanted to include those memories on the pages too. My niece finally agreed that ALL of the photos of the party would make a huge scrapbook of just one day in Tatiana’s little life, so we edited- – – a LOT. (grin)


My fix for so many photos was to print them fairly small, stay on a grid and keep a small white border around each picture for separation and clarity.


The weeks ahead of the party and then the day of the event were full of frenetic activities.


Normally, I would say that these pages are way too busy, but I’m happy to say that I think the colorful pages reflect the high energy of the party in a fun kind of way.


How to make custom dollhouse light fixtures

Before I can add the second floor to my dollhouse, I need to figure out the lighting situation. I decided to go with the round wire setup- mainly because it looks easier for me to understand than the tape method. It consists of a bulb, wire and a plug. OK, I get that. It sounds like a regular full sized house. Also, with the round wire power strip, I can plug in and have only the lights that I want on rather than the whole house.

Pictured below is the power strip, the wired lamp with it’s little plug and the transformer that plugs into your own 12 volt house wall. If you click on the photo it will take you to Greenleaf Miniatures with a full explanation of how to use this type of electric wiring in your house. They also give a great tutorial on all of the other wiring options too. It’s worth the visit if you are new to dollhouse wiring like I am.
Dollhouse Electrical

The ceiling lamps will be attached to, what else? The ceiling! To do that I will have to drill a hole through the second floor and then route a trough to the edge of the house where the wires will be concealed. THAT has to be done before I can add the upstairs carpet. So what to do, what to do… After looking at several ready made fixtures, I decided that none were quite what I wanted. ie: The really cool ones were way too expensive for me to buy. Browsing stores from hardware to craft, I found some jewelry pieces that would work as well as some bits that I have in my craft drawers. Both lamps started off with a couple components from Hobby Lobby in the dollhouse section of the store. It is a little light bulb that is all wired with the plug. Don’t forget that you can use your 40 percent off coupon every time that you visit the store.lightbulb-kit

The first light is going to be for the living room. For that, I used a jewelry finding that I found in the resin craft section of Hobby Lobby. It consist of a clear, round dome that looks like glass and a round metal disk that has a loop on it for a necklace. I cut that loop off with metal sheers. Then I drilled a hole in the center of the the disk to feed the wire through. The lamp assembly is propped onto my pliers just to show you the little housing in which the light bulb sits. I have no idea what it is, but it used to be yellow plastic. I used my black Sharpie to color it. I also had to drill a hole into the little yellow thing-a-ma-bob. The white around the bulb is a tiny little piece of packing foam that I jammed in there to hold the bulb into the center of the fixture.


When all of that was done, I glued the dome into place. OH! Don’t forget to test your fixture before gluing the dome into pace. The downside of my cute little lamp is that I will not be able to replace the bulb when it burns out. But, seriously, do you think that I will play with my dollhouse lighting all that much? Nope, I will be making furniture and tiny little floral arrangements to fill the house. By my estimation, the bulb should never burn out in this house.


The other fixtures are pendant lights for my kitchen. (I’m showing you one, but I’m making two.) These started out life as tops to pill bottles and little plastic chess pawns.


First, I cut the flared edge off the plastic bottle cap and sanded it smooth. Then, I sawed the tops off the pawn pieces. The top of the chess piece also got a sanding to flatten it off a bit. I drilled a hole through the cap as well as the pawn piece. I super glued the pieces together. Then I fed the bulb wire up through the plastic housing. The whole assembly got a coating of gloss medium. That made the plastic look a little more shiny and glass like. Cute! dollhouse-kitchen-light.jpg

I will paint the cord black when it comes time to hang the pendants. But, first, I have to figure out where they will hang. Well, I know where they will hang- over the kitchen island, but I have to figure out where the island will go. Whooo boy! I can’t imagine figuring out all of the details of a real house build.

Be sure to join me next time for the second floor assembly of Victoria’s farmhouse.


Free Downloadable Crochet Pattern for Snowflake Afghan

Here is another adorable and free crochet pattern from Red Heart Yarns. The pattern looks complicated, but once you get the rhythm down, you can move right along and have fun making it.


I used a variegated aqua blue yarn for the body and white for the snowflakes. The afghan was a Christmas present for my niece and I’m happy to say that she actually uses it. (grin)

To find the downloadable written pattern, click on the link below.

There is also an excellent tutorial on YouTube. The video made it an easy and fun afghan pattern to follow. 




Dollhouse Construction – Flooring

The next part of my dollhouse construction involves flooring of the living room and kitchen. About 20 years ago, I built a dollhouse in the way that was instructed. Whooo boy! I learned from that experience that it is way too hard to paint tiny little trim, walls, install floor covering, wallpaper and lights AFTER the build. That was just crazy, so now I am trying to do paint and installations as well as making any plan changes as each floor goes up. So to begin this post, I have the first floor base built as well as the walls. The outside walls are painted. The inside walls have a base-coat of paint on them

After carefully cutting and gluing down each piece of my pine wood floor in the living room, I stained it a nice chestnut color. ARGH! I hated it! It looked like a log cabin which would be fine if that was the look that I was going for. Nope – it did not look modern at all. So I sanded and sanded and sanded till my arms were falling off.


When most of the chestnut stain was gone, I added a layer of grey stain. YES! That’s what I want for my dollhouse living room. Happy with that color, I painted my living room walls a nice, soft grey color. Next came the kitchen tiles.


After pouring through my scrapbook papers, I decided on a mottled grey paper that looks kind of like slate tile. Actually, it looks almost identical to the tile in my own full-sized kitchen. I guess I like what I like. (grin) The paper is a card-stock weight, so it cuts easily and holds up to the glue.

I colored the edges of each tile with a black Sharpie so that the white line of the card would not show when glued down. You can see that the black Sharpie looks like black grout when the tiles are glued into place. A foam brush and diluted white glue did the job of fixing the tile in place. Each tile is 1″ x 1-1/2″ to mimic the over sized slate tiles. One thing that I learned from this step was to paint my floor black FIRST! Then the brown MDF would not look like brown grout lines in places where the paper shrunk a little when dry. More than half of my floor is right anyway. The problem was not big enough to make me scrape off all the the previously tiled area, that’s for sure.


After both floors were complete they were treated to a coat of Future floor wax. It gave a nice semi-gloss finish and made the slate kitchen tile look more “real”.

To keep the little baseboards and door in place while the glue set up, I used every kind of weight that I could find. I also needed clamps for the door.


The walls are painted with regular interior house paint that was leftover from my own walls. Did I ever tell you that I LOVE grey?


The kitchen wallpaper is going to be on only one accent wall. This paper is also a heavy scrapbook paper. Cute, huh?

Stay tuned. The next installation will be custom ceiling fixtures that really work. THEN I can add the second floor.


Celtic Style Crocheted Afghan

The cooler weather is an exciting time to once again bring out my yarn and crochet hooks. What could be better than making something that keeps you warm while you are working on it?

Here is my last finished piece; a chunky crocheted afghan with crossed cables. I made it a little larger than the instructions so that I can throw it over our queen sized mattress for extra warmth if we need it during these cold winter months. My niece was nabbed as the reluctant model to show off the afghan. She will probably never come to an innocent brunch of mine again. (grin)


The yarn that I used is from Red Heart and the color is “Dove grey”.  By the way, If you wash the afghan on gentle and use a fabric softener, it really will soften up that inexpensive yarn.

The instructions are from this book at Joanne’s. You can use your coupon on books now, so be sure to check them out.



Click on the photo for a link to Leisure Arts and other crochet books. This one has a ton of cool patterns to follow.

I would love to see your crocheted projects. Put links or pics in the “comments” so that we can share, OK? ❤

S McCall





Thrifty Storage Ideas for Gift Wrap and Ribbon

After every holiday, when the clearance prices drop to 80 or 90 percent off, I tell myself, “Do NOT buy any more decorations, paper or ribbon!” And then….

Things stacked on the floor or things that have no “home” really bother me. It was time for another storage solution.  The paper rolls that were shoved into the corner between the card-stock cabinet and the wall needed a home. They also had to be on the wall and OFF the floor. OH! And, as always, it had to be a thrifty solution. After browsing the hardware and home supply stores, I found large, inexpensive hooks for hanging bicycles.

storage-for-gift-wrapI lined them up, two by two, for a total of six hooks. It worked out perfectly to hold my rolls of paper. Then, I went to Hobby Lobby to get two metal baskets to hold the small spools of miscellaneous ribbon.

craft-room-corner-with-giftThe ribbon on top of the card-stock cabinet is lined up in a thrift store cabinet that I painted and sanded for a shabby chic look. The rest are stored in pantry jars, boxes and baskets.

craft-room-with-ribbon-and-On the other side of the window wall is more ribbon storage, this time in an old cassette box. Then, turn the corner and you will find even more ribbon in boxes, baskets and on one of the shelves.

All of this organizing of ribbon and gift wrap made me wonder if there are any cool craft ideas for curling ribbon on the internet. So I searched Google and Pinterest and guess what!? Here are some links that you may be interested in checking out.Image result for curling ribbon crafts

Jellyfish Paper Plate Craft Idea

40 Fun and Fantastic Paper Plate Crafts - Big DIY IDeas                                                                                                                                                      More

S McCall

Abstract Paintings of an Early Snow

mixed media painting by Sandra McCall

Our snow has come late this year. I’m calling it an early snow, in spite of its lateness,  because it’s our first and an unusual amount of fall color remains on the leaves. It has stayed warm for so much of this winter that, even after the snow has melted, there is still a fair amount of autumn foliage surrounding us. This past year has been a year of record breaking statistics and total strangeness. Then, along comes January and it’s STILL strange. Ah well, no matter my opinion, life goes on. What to do about it? Paint it!

abstract apinting by Sandra McCall
Early Snow on the Old Homestead

After a quick gathering of supplies, Les and I set off for another art day in the woods. We chose a close campsite with a long table and got right down to our experiments. It was too cold to stay overnight, so this was strictly a short day trip.

pen and ink by Sandra McCall
Autumn Outing

My experiments were all about using a limited pallet of ink and only white acrylic paint. I smeared, splattered and painted. For some reason, I LOVE struggling in trying to paint a good abstract. Les asks me why I don’t just paint in realism because it comes so easily to me. And that, I think, is exactly the reason that it is not as challenging to me.

ink and paint abstract by Sandra McCall
First Snow on Autumn Leaves

Long ago, I had an art teacher, in college, who critiqued my sketchbook. He said, “You are not an artist, you are a draftsman. Sure, you can draw what you see, but there is no “art” in what you are doing.” He further went on to pour salt into my wounds by proclaiming loudly, “Your paintings are homogeneous.”

Boy! I’ve never forgotten that slam and it still stings after waaay too many years. So, struggle I do, because someday I WILL be an artist!  (grin) Don’t worry, I do know that he was just a jealous old fart – as I told another female student who was in tears over his critique. Oddly, all of the guys in class got glowing reviews. hmmmm….OK,  STILLED pissed! (Smacking my Head)

mixed media painting by Sandra McCall
Snow Over Autumn Landscape

But, back to painting- These abstracts are about trying to depict what I saw and felt that day. The air was crisp, there was a light snow covering the area, but the sun was shining and there was still lots of fall foliage peeking through the snow.

Letters From an Autumn Campsite

S McCall