Sunday, November 18, 2012

Angels Are Everywhere and a Free Vintage Christmas Image

Hi Everyone

Are you having a great week? I sure hope so! Can you believe it's Thanksgiving week. Where on earth did October and November go? It sure seemed like it sped right through!

The first thing I'd like to do is thank everyone for all the sweet and supportive comments left on my last post. They sure lifted my spirits. The last year has really been a challenge but I see blue skies ahead!

In October, our area has tons of craft fairs and I try and attend as many as possible. My goal for these trips is to try and find some cute ideas to use for making Christmas presents. I'm primarily looking for ideas that won't cost a ton of money, are easy to make and make cute homemade gifts. I've never been disappointed in this quest, I always find something that I can recreate and this year was no different.

My find was a sweet little towel angel.

Now, maybe you've seen one or have made them before but the idea was a new one for me. So I looked it over for a few minutes, figured it all out and I had my plan in place. So here's how I made my angel towel.

Supplies needed:
One kitchen towel set
3 cotton balls
2 zip ties - 6" in length(mine were 8" and way to long)
3 rubber bands

From the towel set you will need the dish cloth, the towel and an oblong pot holder that has rounded corners. Make sure you check the pot holders before you purchase. I ran across several sets with oblong pot holders but they had square corners on them. I didn't really want pointy wings, so I choose the sets with the rounded corners.

My plan was to have the solid side of the pot holder showing for the wings, but the tag was really obnoxious so I cut it off.

The pot holder hanger also functions as the hanger for the angel. Now fan fold the pot holder along the longest edge. Once folded, use rubber bands on both ends to hold the folds in place.

Place the zip tie in the middle of the pot holder. Make sure you place it so that it goes between the hanger and the holder.

Now pull the zip tie tight. Do it slowly and adjust it as needed to keep it in the center of the pot holder. Watch the little square connector as you tighten it. The connector should stay in the middle of the side of the pot holder that you want to show. This will keep the connector hidden when you have your angel all put together.

Trim the zip tie close to the connector, remove the rubber bands and spread out the fan and it should look like this.

Now lay the dish cloth out and try and get it as flat as possible. I turned in the edges of the cloth because I wanted the ends to look a little neater.

Tightly roll up the dish cloth, straightening up the edges as needed.

After it is all rolled up, use rubber bands on both ends to hold it together. Place your rubber bands about an inch or more from the ends. This will make it easier to tie on the ribbon. Wow, it's been about a whole 3 minutes and two pieces of the angel are done!

Now open up the towel and fold it in half.

Squish the 3 cotton balls together to try and form one big ball and place it at the top and center between your folded towel.

Now this is probably the trickiest part of the whole thing. I wanted my angel to have a nice A line dress so I started with a triangle fold like this.

Once this initial fold was done, I gathered it all together by squeezing closely under the cotton balls. Then it was pretty much fuss a litle, tighten up and squish the cotton balls and fuss some more. The whole time it was straightening folds and mushing and squishing cotton balls until it looked nice and round and neat. Once I was satisfied that it looked good, I used a rubber band to temporarily hold everthing in place, so that I could lay it down flat and just give it one more double check before I made it permanent.

The front looks pretty good.

The back doesn't look too bad! So it's ready for the next step

To attach the wings, slide the second zip tie underneath the first zip tie on the wings. Now be carefull here, with taking pictures and all, I forgot that I wanted the solid brown side to be the showing side and I placed my second zip tie on the patterned side vs the solid side.

Place the dish cloth roll over the head of the doll. Make sure the cloth is centered and that the "arms" are of equal length on both sides. I used a rubber band to temporarily hold the cloth on the head. Place the rubber band at about the center face area so that it doesn't interfer with the placement of the second zip tie.

Now lay the angel, face up on top of the wings making sure that the second zip tie is between the wings and the angel and that the wing hanger is located at the top of the head.

Tighten up the zip tie, making sure that it stays right under the head and that the connector piece winds up hidden between the angel body and the wings. Pull it slowly and get it as tight as you can so your angel head doesn't flop around.

Trim the end of the zip tie as close to the connector as possible and remove the rubber bands from the head.

Now tie some ribbon around the end of her arms to hold the roll and then remove the rubber bands.

Isn't that just the cutest towel angel? I think it took about 15 minutes from start to finish and most of that time was folding and squishing on her head. lol

Add a few more or a lot of embellies and you have an awesome little homemade gift for that special person. Once they tire of the angel, they can take it apart and have some useful kitchen items. That's what I call repurposing! lol

Two down and how many more do I have to make? YIKES! I better get busy! lol

Staying with the angel theme, here's a really sweet angel image for you. This card is circa 1946 through 1949. Isn't it sweet? Make sure you click on it before you save it.

Have a great week, plumb full of smiles!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Lend Me Your Ear and Free Vintage Three Kings Christmas Image

Hi Everybody!

Anything interesting going on in your world? Sorry it's been so long since I posted, but it has been super intersting and super busy around here. There has been several major events that have occurred in the last couple months. These events have pretty much eaten up all of my spare time.

First and probably least important, I turned the BIG 60 on my last birthday! I'm now classified as a senior! When I reflect on this piece of information, I have a hard time realizing that I've reached this milestone. I think I can't be that old, can I?

On rainy days, do my joints ache? Of course they do? Do I feel full of wisdom from all the experiences that I've had through my life? Hardly! Am I ready to sit in my rocker in the corner of the room and watch the world go by from my window? Of course not! I sure don't feel like I'm that OLD, but then again what should a 60 year old feel like?

Second, my state is in a terrible financial position, like many others out there. Our govenor is of course trying to bring down deficits. One of the things he has decided to do is close one of the few Developmentally Disabled Facilities located within our state.

I have a brother that has been living at this facility. Now we have to find him a new home. He has been institutionalized since he was two and has always had to live in areas other than our town. Primarily because there wasn't a facility in town that could provide him with the care that he needed.

Now, various Service Agencies are scrambling to provide the needed support for all the residents that are being forced to move. The good news is that one agency is opening up a facility in our town and I've been lucky enough to secure him a housing spot. It will be so nice to be able to finally bring him home and have him close to his family.

Third, it has come to my attention that a well known Scrapbooking company has acquired copies of my images and has created several scrapbook pages using my images. This company sells their sheets over the Internet as well as selling them in scrapbook and hobby stores.This makes me soangry!

Upon questioning them about this, the answer goes something like this.... Well they're in the Public Domain and you don't have the rights or you can't re-copyright something that is in the Public Domain. Well that's somewhat true but I'm not protecting the original image, I'm protecting the modifications I've made to the original image. If they can take my files and remove all the restorations and modifications that I've made and return it to the original state, then all the power to them. Do it, then use the image. If not keep your hands off.

And then they add something like... These are just simple scans of existing images. Well folks, I hate to bust your bubbles, but my images are NOT just simple scans of an already existing image. I devote a lot of time, energy and money to my images and my collection. It can take hours and hours to complete the editing on just one card and for these arragont people to classify that as minimal or simple just irrates me to death. If it's so simple why don't they do exactly what I do, purchase the vintage card, scan it and perform their own editing. Then they don't have to worry about stealing someone else' work.

They have no idea (or don't care) that it can take months for me to get enough images ready to publish just one CD. And they are arrogant enough to not even inquire as to whether or not they can use the image. They'd rather steal it and hope you don't discover that fact.

I'm not ready to share the name of the company yet because I'm hoping that we can reach an equiptable agreement. But I will tell you that the company base is in Iowa.

Piracy is a big issue, so please, please, give it a serious thought when you see an image that you really love and want to copy it for your blog or craft item and you think, Well what does that hurt? I'm just a little guy. Well, maybe that image was created by just another little guy and he may have spent a lot of time creating it. I'd be willing to bet that the little guy would greatly appreciate you asking first. He might say no, but that's his prerogative and he might surprise you and give you a big YES!

Fourth, if you've been following my blog for a while, you might remember that a year ago August, we lost a very important and a central member of our family. My dear father-in-law was one of the strongest, sweetest, kindest men (next to my daddy of course) that I've ever known. Was he perfect? Heck no, but he was always there for us during the good and bad times and we were always there for him and Mom during their good and bad times.

Dad was the sole caretaker for Mom who is suffering from dementia/Alzheimers. Of course when Dad was diagnosed with his terminal cancer, his main concern was Mom and who would take care of her. Dad and Mom decided who they wanted to help make their decisions and care for them. They completed the appropriate legal paperwork. This should have been sufficient for the family to handle everything.

But my husband's half-sister was hurt and offended that she wasn't selected as the primary caretaker for this responsibility. So instead of working it out in the family, she snuck around and filed a Guardianship case with the Courts. She completed this activity even before Dad passed. And she was so cowardly in her actions that she didn't even advise him of it prior to him being served with the notice from the court. Now if you're not aware, Guardianship is the last thing that should ever be forced upon any individual. All rights to any decision making is taken totally away from the individual. A jail inmate has more rights than a person who has been assigned a guardian.

This hurt Dad tremendously. In our opinion, the extra stress resulted in Dad passing sooner than he should have. Instead of being there when he needed her, she did everything in her power to make him miserable and to increase the tensions within the family. She lied to the courts, she lied to family and friends, she lied to doctors and lawyers and I truely believe she would have went to almost any extent to try and get what she wanted.

When the whole family should have pulled together to support Dad and make his last days full of suuport, love and encourgement, she was conspiring to make Dad as miserable as possible.

Over the year and a half, the rift has expanded to such a depth that it will probably never be healed. We have lost any and all respect that we had for her. And truthfully, it would make us extrememly happy if we never had to see her face or hear or voice again.

But as far as the guardianship case, it is finally resolved. And do you want to know what persuaded her to end it? You won't believe the answer... the scheduling of her deposition. She was terribly afraid of being put under oath. She was willing to give in and agree to almost anything to get out of having to do the deposition.

The resolution is 98% of what Dad and Mom wanted, not what step daughter wanted. We are thrilled that it is over and we know that Dad is finally resting easy. Now, we can focus on getting Mom some relief from all the misdeeds that were completed against her. This means more legal work for us, but hopefully it will result in a much more comfortable life for Mom.

Whew that was a lot! Thank you for bearing with, providing me with an ear to bend and sticking it out to the end. All in all it's been a pretty awesome time and I am thrilled that most everything has turned out on a positive note.

Maybe I'll brighten your day with this gorgeous Three Kings image. I don't often share religious images and I thought you might like it. Make sure you click on the image before you save it.

Have a great week, plumb full of smiles!