Sunday, December 20, 2015

Memory Pillows

I saw Memory Pillows on Pinterest.  They are not Memory Foam.  Rather, they are pillows made from the shirt of a loved one who has died.    A friend of mine had not only her husband die this summer, but also her step-son.  Their family was just the 3 of them and now she is all alone.    I asked her if she had a shirt for each and I would a pillow.

Here is what I made:

The one one on the left is the dad's pillow covered with one of his shirts.  The one on the right ws the son's  He wore ties almost everywhere so I added one of his ties.  I thought they turned out nice.  I also printed a little poam - 
This is a shirt 
I used to wear. 
When you hold it, 
I am near.
I cut that out with a heart shaped die and then cut a second heart that was a little larger from colored card stock.   I mounted the verse to the larger heart and tucked it into pocket.

Evolution of a Christmas Card

When I designed our Christmas cards,  I rarely use the first card I make but make some revisions before settling on the final design.  2015 was no different.

 I started with this card.

I used a new die (edgelit) to cut out the houses on the hillside.  Using the star punch, I cut lots of stars from silver foil paper.  Even with the new fine tip glue pen, I had trouble getting the stars placed in the sky and it was going to take way too long to do 120+ cards.  So I made a modification - and came up with this.

Final card fron

Instead of the silver punched out stars, I used the star embossing folder and covered the whole card front with the embossed stars.

Original inside
For the inside, I started using a full 5 x 3 3/4 rectangle, but as I was cutting with the dies to get the row of houses for the front, I decided to take a rectangle of paper that was 5 x 3 3/4 and cut the bottom for the front of the card and keep the top of the rectangle for the inside of the card.

Final inside

This created a second row of houses - like shadows this time.

And to share the good news with anyone who has not heard,  our grandson was born on 12/7/15.  He and Mommy are doing well.

Baby Derek

Wehrheim Family Ornaments 2007 - 2014

The last decade (sort of - only 9 years) of our family ornaments.

2007 was the 30th anniversary of that first Christmas when Jane put up a pair of socks for each person who was celebrating Christmas at our house.  So we decided we needed something a little special.  I found music buttons that played Frosty the Snowman and we put them inside these pillow type ornaments.  We each stitched the snowmen, customizing the hats and scarves with our own design and colors. If you squeeze his tummy he plays the tune.
2007 Musical Snowmen Pillows
In 2008, we got together at Jane and Brian's apartment in Chicago and made these stamped ceramic stars.  Stazon ink in numerous colors made the job easy.

2008 Ceramic Stars
The legend of the spider gave us an idea for these.  Someone found kits to make jeweled spiders - but the spiders only had 6 legs so we had to add a couple and subsidize the kits with jewels we found at Michaels.  We made these while sitting in a hotel room in Rockford IL over Halloween.  It was a fun Sisters' Weekend with a tour of the Sock Monkey Museum and shopping.
Jane made the tiny books with a very condensed version of the legend.  At our Christmas gathering, Carol told the whole story.

2009 Spiders and Legend
Jane visited in 2010 and we made these ribbon candies.  I think a stiffer ribbon would have worked better but they are still cute.

2010 Ribbon Candy
A friend got married in January 2010 and had little snowflake cookie cutters as favors at the reception.  They had quite a few left and I had seen an ornament idea using cookie cutters and ribbon so I bought some of the cookie cutters and we used them for our 2011 ornaments.   Carol, Jane and I made these in a hotel room in Peoria between Wicked and the Cardinals World Series game 7 win  (#11 in '11).   We even had a rally squirrel - a paper mache squirrel we found at an antique store and we gave it a red ribbon.

2011 Snowflake Cookie Cutter
In 2012, Jane found an idea for making a folded paper star   When all folded up it made a small little square as can be seen on the left in the photo.  Then you open it up and slide the button down to hold it in place and it is a 3 dimensional star.  These were lots of fun to make and to play with every year when we put them on the tree.

2012 Folded Star

When planning the 2013 ornaments, we decided it was time to do some counted cross stitch again.  We looked through lots of ideas and settled on some fun Santa designs. These are stitched on plastic canvas and then backed with some foil paper.  Our niece, Jill, joined our team of stitchers again this year.

2013 Santa Squares
For the 2014 ornament, Jane offered to cut up an old Red Cross quilt that was made by our grandmother, Lena Pump Wehrheim.  These were popular during World War I.  The quilt had a white background with bright red crosses worked into it.  For many years it was the quilt that Jane and I used in our bedroom.  It had gotten frayed and threadbare.  This way we each have a little bit of the quilt.  Jane cut the stocking shapes (she said it was hard to make that first cut) and designed the ornament, then distributed the pieces to Carol and I to put together.  There is a little bronze bell attached to the top of the stocking (hard to see in the picture).  The bells were some that Jane had found in Aunt Nina's craft supplies.   The red tag stuffed in the stocking has a short write-up about the significance of the quilt.

2014 Quilt Stocking

Wehrheim Family Ornaments 1997 - 2006

Decade three - more of our collection of handmade ornaments. 

The idea for the 1997 reindeer ornaments came from a Christmas lapel pin that I saw.  We stained wooden cutout hearts and glued them together to make the reindeer. Then added google eyes, a pom pom nose and a little holly decoration.

1997 Reindeer Hearts
 My brother, Ron, and his wife, Sue made a cute little birdhouse ornament for Mom and Dad in 1997.  We liked them so much we recruited them to make one for everyone in 1998.   Ron made the birdhouse and Sue painted them.   So cute!
1998 Wooden Birdhouse
For the 1999 ornaments, we raided Mom's button box.  Dad trimmed down the craft sticks for us to make these cute Christmas trees.  It was fun going through all the buttons Mom had collected over the years.  She would never throw away a worn our garment without taking the buttons off to use again.  Bet she never thought we could use them on Christmas ornaments.

1999 Button Trees

In 2000, we three sisters spent a weekend in Grafton IL and among other things worked on these cute little gingerbread men.  The heart is cut out of the felt and a piece of red fabric is glued behind the opening. 

2000 Gingerbread Men
These spool snowmen were the ornaments for 2001.  We got together at Jane's house again - I think - and put these together. 

2001 Spool Snowman

I found some cute nutcracker designs in a cross-stitch magazine and we stitched those on plastic canvas for the 2002 ornament.  We wanted one more design so charted out one that looked like a wooden soldier.

2002 Nutcrackers
2003 also found us stitching on plastic canvas.  The stocking design was stitched on plastic canvas and them trimmed to the shape.  We glued these to craft foam and then cut around in a stocking shape.

2003 Plastic Canvas Stocking
In 2004, we decided to do these tall Santas on a bag type ornament.  We found long peppermint sticks to put inside.   We each did some of these and chose the colors to use so they were all different.  My niece, Jill, learned to do counted cross stitch helping me make some of these Santas.  

2004 Santa Bags
At our Christmas 2004 gathering, Kelly showed us another idea she had found. Dominos were stamped with a snowman design then colored in the detail with a permanent marker.  We agreed that Kelly needed to make these for the 2005 family ornament.   They don't hang from the tree (although you could add some sort of hanger) but we couldn't pass up dominoes.  Our family plays a lot of games and dominos is always a hit.

2005 Snowman Dominos
I found the design for these Santas with a clothespin on the back to clip onto the tree branch.  We each worked on our ornaments throughout 2006.  When we were almost done we realized that Jane was using a smaller count (larger squares) of plastic canvas so the ones she stitched were twice as big.  So we decided the men would get the larger ones and it worked out perfectly. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Wehrheim Family Ornaments 1987 - 1996

This is the second decade of our family ornament tradition which began in 1977. 

 I bought kits to make many of the ornaments in the early years.  In 1987, I bought kits for styrofoam wreaths.  There were at least 6 different designs (always tried to have at least 6 designs since one of the family had 6 members and I wanted them to all be different).  I don't remember what many of them were but do recall one used whole cloves that were stuck into the styrofoam.  Many of these did not hold up very well.  Over the years we have become more selective.  We not only look for durability but also try to find a way to date the ornament.

1987 Styrofaom Wreath

The next year, 1988, I got married in November so did not have a lot of time to work on ornaments.  I found some small card stock boxes to assemble and put a few tic-tac mints inside.  I don't have a photo of those and I did not keep mine.

1989, was even busier.  We had our first daughter in December, just 9 days before Christmas.  Jane and I collaborated on these grapevine wreaths.   Each cross stitch design was unique.
1989 Grapevine Wreath

I found kits for these cute penquins that were very similar to the snowmen from 1983.  They had red or green caps and scarves. I decided 1990 would be the last year since I had a 1 year old and was expecting our second daughter.  My sisters volunteered to help so we began planning the ornaments together and dividing the work. 

1990 Knitted Penquins
In 1991, we made cute cross-stitch gift bags.  The fabrics was glued and starched.  A little piece of tissue paper was tucked inside with some sort of treat - maybe a small candy cane.  And a different design for each person.
1991 Cross Stitch Gift Bags
Another favorite is the quilt square pillows we did in 1992.  We designed these using a quilt book of my mom's.  We each took several quilt square patterns and then designed the 'fabric' using red and green floss.   Each was a unique design and so much fun to see what the others had done. 

1992 Quilt Square Pillow
Growing up we often had a jigsaw puzzle out and most of us would work on it as we had time.  So the jigsaw puzzle piece wreaths we made in 1993 had extra meaning.  We three sisters and our families gathered at Jane's hous over the 4th of July that year and painted the puzzle pieces, then assembled the wreaths.   That was one of the first 'Sisters' Weekends' even though we had families in tow.  The guys took the kids for the afternoon while we worked on the ornaments.

1993 Jigsaw Puzzle Piece Wreath

For the 1994 ornaments, I found a counted cross-stitch kit that had 12 Victorian buildings, a church, a storefront, some 'painted lady' houses, a firehouse, a gazebo, and a lighthouse.  We needed 39 ornaments so if we had a thirteenth design it would all work out evenly.  I combined parts of several of the designs and created a Toy Store which we did for 3 of the youngest kids in the family.   We also changed the Mercantile banner on the storefront to say Wehrheim's for the family business.

1994 Victorian Buildings
For the 1995 ornaments, our niece, Kelly, had found an idea in one of her craft magazines.  We purchased the wooden cutout stockings and Kelly painted them.  This worked out really well because 1995 was a very stressful year for the whole family with our mom's death in September after months of bed rest due to pulmonary fibrosis and our youngest brother's being hospitalized for almost 5 months due to a car accident and eventually dying Thanksgiving weekend.  Kelly's offer to paint the ornaments meant one thing we did not have to deal with. 

1995 Wooden Stocking Cutouts

Cutwork ornaments were the 1996 addition to the collection.  The women got hearts, the men got a diamond shape and the kids got a stocking shape.  The stitching is done first, then the fabric inside the stitched areas is cut away.  Red gingham fabric was place behind the cutwork for these ornaments.

1996 Cutwork
That completes the second decade.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Wehrheim Family Ornaments - 1977 thru 1986

The tradition of our family ornaments began in 1977 when my sister, Jane, bought a pair of socks for each person who would be celebrating Christmas at my parents' home on Christmas Day.   We had two new babies in the family (niece Trisha and nephew Phillip).  They each got a small pair of socks with a squeeze toy stuffed inside.   I don't remember all the socks but do remember striped toe socks for my mom and her sister, Aunt Ruth.  Most of the boys got tube socks. I think everyone except the two babies got candy in their socks.  We stuffed one sock inside the other then added the treat.  They were hung on the mantle with thumbtacks. 
It was so much fun on Christmas morning to hear my mom talking about it and trying to figure which of us had done it.   Unfortunately I do not have a picture of that - not sure if Jane does.

The next year, Jane and I planned together.  We got an engraved ornament for everyone.  Mine was Sally from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

1978 Engraved Ornaments

The 1979 treats were small wicker baskets with some candy. They were a variety of shapes and all different shades of brown.  We placed them on the hearth in front of the fireplace.   I don't have a photo of those either. 

In 1980, Jane got married and moved to Michigan, 13 hours away, so I took over the tradition.
1980 Felt Mittens
 I decided to make felt mittens and our mom helped me by doing the stitching on Aunt Ruth, Uncle Les (they always spent Christmas at our house) all 7 siblings, in-laws, and 6 grandchildren.  A candy cane placed in each made them more festive. 

In 1981, I made everyone a needlepoint box using plastic canvas and yarn.  I chose a design for each person.  Some were Christmas emblems like an angel or a star.  Others were something that was specific for that person.  I collected rainbow items so I stitched a rainbow on mine.  My sister, Carol, liked butterflies.  She recently gave her box to my daughter who also likes butterflies.
1981 Needlepoint Boxes
So, it did not begin as ornaments but just a little treat for everyone from Santa. In 1982, I stitched a miniature stocking for each person.  The back of the stocking is red gingham. They were really cute!  I lived in a mobile home and did not have a lot of space for a tree so I made a macrame tree that hung flat on the wall.  I put lights through the opening and hung all of the miniature stockings on it.  I will have to see if I can find a photo of that.  There were 6 different designs in the kit I bought to make these - Angel, Train, Tree, Poinsettia, Raggedy Ann doll and Raggedy Andy doll.  I had to plan ahead to get them all done by Christmas.   I have often thought I should make some for those family members that have come along since 1982 - maybe some day :-)
1982 Cross Stitched Stockings

One of my favorites were these cute little snowmen.  There were six different colors for the hats and I made sure each family had a different hat for each person.   The snowmen are made with 2 styrofoam balls and a knitted tube. I did a lot of the knitting on my lunch hour at work.  I even made some to sell to co-workers.
1983 Knitted Snowmen
Another favorite was the crocheted rings with the cross stitch insert that I made in 1984.   As I recall I made each insert different using a book that had all sorts of miniature Christmas designs.   I did the crochet trim in several different colors.  The crochet stitches are done around a gold curtain ring.  I have since misplaced the book with the pattern (I think I loaned it to someone but never got it back).  I have looked for patterns like this but no luck.  I think I could make up something similar if I just take the time.  I would like to do something like this again. Maybe do them in green like a wreath and add some red beads, leaving the center open.

1984 Crocheted Rings
The 1985 ornaments took a lot of time.  First, plastic canvas was cut into the pieces for the sleigh using a pattern from the kit I bought.  Each piece was stitched and then all joined together using yarn.  The pattern also had a large sleigh to use as a centerpiece.  I planned to do that too but pretty much did not want to see another piece of plastic canvas or red yarn by the time I finished the sleighs.   We added a couple in-laws and 4 grandkids to the family since 1981. 
1985 Needlepoint Sleighs
Another favorite was the Mary Jane (for the females) and tennis shoes (for the males) with long socks.  These were filled with some sort of candy.   These were the ornaments for 1986.  By now, it was pretty much an ornament tradition. I only have the Mary Jane one so will have to see if  I can get a photo of the tennis shoes from one of the men in the family.
1986 Mary Janes and Tennis Shoes

  I figure this post would be too long if I cover the almost 40 years of ornaments so I am breaking it up into 10 year sections.  Be sure to check the following posts for more.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pretty Pink Princess

I went to a baby shower over the weekend for a sweet little girl due to arrive in September.  Her mama is using the theme "Daughter of the King" for the nursery so I got inspired to use the retired Princess stamp set.

I went all out for this one.  It was fun playing with the Encore Gold ink and the crown stamp.  And the extra effort makes a plain gift bag and white tissue much more festive and fun.  

 I had a plain, solid pink gift bag so I added some Encore Gold crown stamping around the top.

Then I randomly stamped gold crowns on some white tissue paper to use in the bag.  Custom designed gift bag!  And I suspect the mommy-to-be will hold onto this bag and tissue to use some day for a princess birthday gift.

 This is the card I made.  I believe it is called a gate fold.  The crown medallion is only adhered to the left flap.  The ribbon had to be untied to open the card.  In order for it to open correctly I had to attach each ribbon on the inside of the flap instead of just running the ribbon across the gap.   I don't have a picture of the inside but I put a strip of card stock down each inside flap to cover the ribbon ends and tape.
The whole ensemble was quite a hit at the shower.   As soon as the guest of honor picked up the bag, everyone said it must be mine.  And then people started noticing the crowns on the tissue paper!
Wouldn't it be fun to do a gift for a little birthday girl with the same bag and tissue.

And - while I had the stamp set out and inked up with the gold ink, I stamped a few more crowns and some card bases with the wand, flowers and "Happy Birthday Princess" images too.   Today over my lunch, I finished up a few more princess cards.  Most are birthday cards but a couple are without sentiment in case I need them for some other reason.

I used the retired Regal Rose and Pretty in Pink card stock.  The ribbon is non SU - probably purchased from Michaels for ornaments or something over the years.

For these, I added some retired Concord Crush.  Little girls love pink and purple. The cut-out crown has rhinestones on the points.  That was easier than trying to cut those little circles.

And here is our little princess.  The tables at the shower were decorated with PRINCESS tiaras.  I brought one home for little miss.  She did not want to wear it but her aunt placed it on her head while she was watching Mickey.  I almost got a picture before she reached up and pulled it off.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New tutorial and an awesome dinner

I have added a new tutorial - Exploding Card

 This is the exploding card I made - closed. 

And here it is opened. 

This is a card I made yesterday using the Mojo Monday sketch from a couple days ago.  Of course, mine is not exactly like the sketch :-)
The colors are Cajun Craze, Perfect Plum and Always Artichoke.  I would have never used those colors together but the Color Coach came in handy.  I do like them. 

And I added a little something inside too.

And the awesome dinner - pork chops and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy and steamed Brussels sprouts.  I modified a recipe I found on Pinterest.  I only had 2 pork chops and had actually cooked them on Sunday evening.  I purchased a grilling pack from Schwan's - 2 burgers, 2 chicken breasts and 2 boneless pork chops.  I cooked all up on Sunday evening for meals this week since it is just the two of us.  DD2 is in Belgium for a month! 
Since I just had 2 pork chops, there was plenty of gravy left over.   We will have grilled chicken breasts later this week and I will simmer them in the mushroom gravy.  Maybe serve over noodles or make drop dumplings and cook in the gravy.