November 19

Purple Lilac Crochet Doily – with Free Pattern

My First Doily

Purple Lilac Doily
Purple Lilac Doily

When I was a teenager, a friend of my mom showed me how to crochet a granny square.  Of course I didn’t know at the time that it was a granny square.  I made a few hot pads for the kitchen and then I forgot all about crocheting.

This past May when I went to visit my parents at their new home in Puerto Rico, my mom asked me if I still crochet.  I said not really, why?  She showed me that she had a square tablecloth on her round dining room table and she wanted a round tablecloth instead.

With Christmas coming, I remembered that she told me that and so I decided to pull the yarn out and start looking at maybe doing a tablecloth for her.  I haven’t crocheted anything that intricate or large before.  So I started with a doily and this is my first doily.  I think it’s pretty, though I’m not sure I’d like it as a large tablecloth.



Purple & Lilac Crochet Cotton
Purple & Lilac Crochet Cotton

One thing I love about crochet work is that you don’t need a ton of supplies for your project.  You need four things really: a pattern, yarn/cotton, a crochet hook, and starch.

  • Crochet Cotton – I used this multi-colored purple and white crochet cotton, I believe it was size 10.
  • Size 7 Crochet Hook
  • Starch – This is used after the project is complete to help protect it and maintain shape.

In an effort to be transparent to my visitors, please understand that I get small commissions from purchases made through the links in this article.  Please review my full disclosure at the very top right side of this site, in the list of pages.

If you’re new to crocheting, as I am, I’ve recorded a real short video to help you get started with the basic crochet stitched.  I start with a slip knot and walk you through the chain stitch, single crochet, double crochet, and triple crochet.

The video below shows a quick demonstration of those basic stitches to help you get started.

All stitches that were used in this project are demonstrated in the video.


Free Crochet Pattern For You!

Are you interested in trying this doily for yourself?  I’m here for you!

I wouldn’t be writing a blog if I didn’t want to help other creative folks like you create your own masterpieces.

If you’d like a free copy of this Purple Lilac Doily crochet pattern, just drop your name and email in the box below and I’ll send it right to your inbox!


We respect your email privacy

Thank you for letting me share my journey with you. I appreciate your time and feedback.  Please leave a comment below and let me know how your doily turns out!

Your friend,



November 12

Altered Book & Mixed Media Canvas Photo Album

How Do You Craft a Project to Hold 49 Pictures?

Mixed Media Canvas
Mixed Media Canvas

Earlier this year I found a great deal where I could go to Glamour Shots and get our pictures taken for free.  The deal allowed me to get a DVD with all of the pictures plus 1 print out.

My mom had previously asked me to get nice pictures done of my son and I because I hadn’t done so in years.  So I saw this deal as the perfect opportunity to do so.

The problem was that I had nearly 50 pictures when I was done and I wanted to give them to my parents in the form of a Christmas gift.  So I wanted to make something special for them instead of just handing them a stack of 49 pictures.

And this is where the Mixed Media Canvas came in.


How I Made It

This was another fairly simple but time consuming project.  It was messy too.  I was talking to a friend and co-worker about what to craft to hold the pictures.  He suggested some form of tree, I liked where he was going with the idea.  When I think of tree, I picture lots of branches and family pictures as I work on family ancestry a lot.

The Altered Book

This led me to thinking of a book.  So I decided to alter a book and use the book pages to form pockets.  I would turn the pictures into bookmarks and then attach the altered book to a mixed media canvas so that my parents can display it on their wall if they so choose.

Altered Book
Altered Book

So I took a rather thick book and distressed the pages.  Do to this, I alternated between a pocket knife and a tool from my Making Memories Distress Kit.  this roughed up the pages for me.  The next step was to paint the page edges.  For this, I used a travel toothbrush, Americana’s Oak Gel Stain, and Lumiere’s Metallic Gold paint.  I first applied the stain with the toothbrush and then went over it with the gold paint.  This made the book look old.  Next I used Tim Holt’s Tea Dye distress ink to distress the pages that the book is open to.  I crumpled the pages a little first to give it some age and character and then I just distressed it lightly.

Once the book was done, I started creating the bookmarks.  I printed all of the pictures from screenshots of the DVD.  I had some tag die cuts that were given to me in a swap that somebody created with a tag die.  I distressed the tags with the Tea Dye distress ink and then glued the pictures to the front and back of each tag until I had 24 tags.  Then I took some miscellaneous embellishments and glued them to the top of each tag to keep them from sliding down into the book.  They make it easier to pull each tag out and look at the picture as well without tearing up the tags.  Once they were dry, I slid them into the book pages and used Mod Podge to glue the pages together creating pockets for the tags.

Craft Supplies

The Mixed Media Canvas

Once the book was done, it was time to start the mixed media canvas.  I took a blank canvas and used my X-Acto knife to cut slits in the canvas to hold the corners of the book.  This will help with the stress on the glue since the book is so heavy.  With the hidden pockets holding the book corners, there is less chance of the book eventually breaking off of the canvas.  I slid the corners into the cuts and used duct tape to secure each corner in the cut canvas and help prevent the canvas from tearing any.

Mini Canvas
Mini Canvas In Progress

Next I mod podged a sewing pattern down in the corners to give the canvas more texture.  I cut two pieces of lace and mod podged them down to the top and bottom edges of the canvas for texture as well.  Next I glued down a bunch of embellishments like gears, beads, flowers, ect.  Once everything was glued on and the glue was dry, I covered everything but the book in a layer of gesso to prime it for painting.

I covered the book with seran wrap so that I wouldn’t mess it up while I was painting and spraying the canvas.  In hindsight, I should have measured the book and marked the canvas without gluing it down until the painting was done.  But the seran wrap worked perfectly at protecting the book and I think it turned out better than it would’ve had I attached the book last.

Once the gesso was dry, I sprayed the canvas with the following Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist colors:  Chocolate Covered Cherries, Dragonfly, and Autumn Nights.  I also used Adirondack’s Purple Twilight Colorwash.  After the first layer of sprays, I painted a coat of Lumiere’s Pearlescent White over everything.  Once that was dry, I put a second coat of the glimmer mists and color wash on.  Finally, after the second coat of mists was dry, I used Lumiere’s Metallic Bronze paint to touch up the embellishments and edges of the canvas to give it an aged appearance.

After all of that was done, I cut a piece of cardboard slightly bigger than the main display picture and I decorated it similarly to the actual canvas.  Once it dried, I glued the main picture to it and glued it to the open pages of the book as the main display.

The Final Result

This project is designed to hold a lot of pictures in a unique way so that it doesn’t wind up on some dusty shelf with a bunch of old photo albums.  I firmly believe that handmade gifts that have a lot of thought involved mean so much more than store bought gifts.  I think this project might end up being one of my mom’s all time favorites.

The following video shows the making of this altered book and mixed media canvas.  It’s a pretty long video so I have increased the speed so that you see me working quickly but get an idea of how I did it.  Feel free to fast forward to the very end so you can see how it all came together.


I hope this post has inspired you to find your own unique ways to display your family portraits and maybe get creative for your mom and give her something truly from your heart.

Happy Crafting!


January 27

Mixed Media Christmas Canvas

Christmas Gifts 2015


I am a firm believer that the best gifts for any holiday are gifts from the heart.  Whether they are purchased or handmade, I try to always get gifts that mean more than, “Oh, she’ll like that.”  I like to give gifts that will be cherished.

This year, my parents moved from Florida to Puerto Rico.  For the past 10 years, they’ve lived within 5 miles of my house and my son and I visited them nearly once a week.  Now that they’ve both retired, they decided to retire to paradise and bought a house on top of a mountain with a view of the nearby beach.  While we’re all happy about their retirement in their paradise, the day they left was very hard.  The first Christmas without them was hard on all of us.  So instead of buying a gift for them this year, I made a mixed media art canvas with family pictures for them to hang on their walls at Christmas time.

Christmas 2012 with Grandma
Christmas 2012 with Grandma

The first one I made turned out to be my favorite.  One of the things I’ve learned since I started crafting is that my mistakes often turn into masterpieces so long as I don’t give up on them.  This piece stayed true to form.  I painted the background of the canvas with a couple of different colors and then printed out copies of those pictures and glued them down with some decorative paper borders.  I hated the way it turned out.  It looked cheap to me.  So I ripped the paper and photos off which ripped some of the paint off and made me want to throw the whole thing away.  So I sat on it for a day or two.

When I sat back down to try again, I decided to take some texture paste and give the piece texture throughout.  This disguised the rips from the previous attempt.  Next, I grabbed a paper doily and some snowflake stencils that I had in my stash and created the snowflakes with my texture paste.  Then I painted it with Folk Art Metallic Emerald Green Acrylic paint.  I went over the snowflakes and edges of the canvas with Viva’s Precious Metal Colour – Mother of Pearl.  After pasting on some flowers and decorative frames from Michael’s, I made a stick pin with beads from my stash.  I put a little more of the Mother of Pearl paint around the edges of the canvas and picture frames to give the look of snow.

Christmas 2015
Christmas 2015

On the next canvas, I started by painting the background with Folk Art Sahara Gold Acrylic paint.  Next I covered the entire background with Delta Ceramcoat Crackle and let it sit for a few minutes.  I then painted the entire background again with Folk Art Lipstick Red Acrylic paint which gave it the red and gold crackled effect.  Once dry, I used decorative Christmas paper from my stash to border the picture.   I took the lamppost fence from my Christmas village collection and used various holiday items from my stash to decorate this one up a bit.

I decided to keep both canvas’ somewhat simple as I have a tendency to make things a bit too busy.  I didn’t want to distract from the actual photos so I used just enough decoration to frame the photos.  I really liked how they turned out and my parents absolutely loved them.  I enjoyed making these and will probably create another set for my own home.

If you are interested in the painting materials I’ve used, I put links below to the exact products.  I apologize for not having links to the decorations as they were just miscellaneous items I had leftover and did not have the original packaging to provide the brands.  I will be sure to keep track of these items for future posts.

Happy Crafting!



Supplies Used:

In no particular order –

January 23

Planner for the Messy Desk Crafter

Starting the Year Off on the Right Foot

My Crafting Planner
My Crafting Planner

Happy 2016!  It’s that time again when many of us are feeling the pressure of fulfilling our New Year’s resolutions.  Do you have your planer ready?  It is commonly known that messy desks make for creative minds.  But how in the world do we keep up with all of the creativity that flows through our brain on the daily?

I typically have so many ideas running through my head that nearly 50% of them go unrealized because I’ve forgotten about half of it before my round-to-it ever gets off the flat side!  I hate it when that happens, don’t you?  Each year, I make a bunch of plans that result in very little follow through.  I blame it on disorganization…a cluttered mind.

To try and tackle this problem, I am starting this year off on the right foot by keeping a crafting planner.  I worked on creating my planner, off and on, for the last half of 2015.  Well now it is ready to go for 2016 and I am bound and determined to keep myself organized and on track this year.


Nothing Too Fancy – Just a Planner

When I sat down to create my planner, I took a few things into consideration:

  • What supplies do I have on hand?
  • What size would be most effective for me?
  • What will I use it for?

With these things in mind, I began creating.


The cover

I am still perfecting my skills on covers and bindings.  I knew I wanted something hard so it could withstand all of the abuse it would endure from things being thrown on top of it, being cast aside to be out of the way, and frequent use.  I happened to have an old brief case that my mom used before she retired.  She gave it to me as she was de-stashing her house in preparation for a move.  For the longest time, it sat under my desk because I didn’t know what to use it for.  I don’t need it for my career.

When I'm on the Go...
When I’m on the Go…

It ended up being perfect for my crafting planner though.  It’s big and bulky which isn’t necessarily great at home, but I intend to travel a lot and would like to take my crafting planner with me.  On my road trips, I like to pick up various pamphlets and things to remember where I went and what I did on my trip.  This brief case has pockets for file folders on the inside cover which are great for that.  It also has spots for business cards, pens, etc.

The handles make it great for carrying around.  It’s not the prettiest of covers, but I find that the black leather is much more durable than a decorated card stock cover would be.  I’m not exactly delicate when I’m out and about so this will protect my planner quite nicely.  And for a taste of my creative side, I simply created a real pretty front cover for the inside of it where the embedded binder clips hold my planner pages.


The Size

Many people use mini-planners.  I considered making one that size, however, I find it very hard and painful for me to write in those small spaces.  They aren’t the most efficient for those that suffer from things like RA and arthritis.  So my planner is the standard 8×11 size and affords me plenty of room to write and keep notes.  This also allows me to print off my own pages for the planner without having to worry about fancy settings and alignments for smaller, half pages.  This works for me.

Monthly Calendar Template
Monthly Calendar Template

While considering the supplies I had on hand and what I would be using the planner for, I decided I would create my own dividers to show my creative side.  Since these will be permanent, I will likely decorate those as time goes on.  However, since I will change out calendar pages and such regularly, I decided not to go real decorative on those.  It isn’t cost efficient as I would be throwing supplies away each year.  So I just created templates for each planner page I needed and I print them off on plain old printer paper as needed.


The Purpose

I needed to create a planner because I had tons of ideas that just went by the wayside because I never wrote them down, or they got lost in the shuffle of post-its.  Now I have a place to keep track of everything I have going on, all in one spot, and it’s portable.  As I mentioned above, I don’t decorate the actual pages.  The purpose is to keep track of the things I want to do, my goals, my tasks, etc.  I think decorated pages would distract me from getting things done.  I don’t want that.

Page Templates

I have several different pages that I use to keep track of things:

  • Monthly Calendar – I use the monthly calendars to keep track of what events are coming up so I know if I’m running behind on preparing for them.  For example, I have a swap that I need to send out to my swap partner the first week of February.  So on my January Calendar, I’ve notated that I should work on that swap the last week of January at the very latest.

    My Weekly Calendar
    My Weekly Calendar

  • Weekly Calendar – The weekly calendar, shown here, helps me keep track of my task list and what my goals are for each day.  As shown, it also matching my Desk Calendar so that I still see my tasks when I’ve managed to bury my planner (it happens!).  The bottom portion of the weekly calendar shows each day of the week with spaces to write in my tasks.  The top left column is my To Do List.  The top right column is where I list things I need to buy.  This may include supplies I ran out of or grocery items I tend to forget, a book I’d like to read, etc.
  • Birthday List – This is simply a list of birthdays for my friends so that I can quickly determine upcoming birthdays and plan accordingly.
  • Event Tracker – The Event Tracker helps me keep track of what events I’ve joined in my crafting group.  I can write in when it starts, what the details are, who participates, when it ends, what the deadlines are, etc.
  • Swap Tracker – This helps me keep track of swaps I’m either hosting or participating in.  Much like the Event Tracker, it helps me keep track of the details of the swap so I don’t have to constantly look up the Event in the group.
  • Productivity Tracker – My crafting group has an ongoing Productivity Challenge where members earn points for being productive.  It’s somewhat of a contest.  The most productive may or may not get a small prize for being the most productive during a certain period of time.  This tracker helps me track how productive I was and what I worked on.  It also helps the group admins determine who the winner is.
  • Challenge Tracker – The Challenge Tracker is almost exactly the same as the Swap Tracker, except there are no partners or swaps.  It is simply a challenge to create something specific or do something specific and the tracker allows me to keep track of the details.
  • Giveaway Tracker – The Giveaway Tracker is much like the Event Tracker.  It allows me to write down the details of the Giveaway and keep track of who participated and how so that when I pick a winner, it’s fairly simple to figure out.  It also allows me to see who has won before so that the same people aren’t always getting free stuff.  I like to share the love.
  • Ideas – This is mostly just a blank page with lines for me to write down my ideas so that I can come back to them whenever I’m ready.  All crafters get ideas, but few crafters actually follow through on all of them.  Creative minds just don’t work that way.  So I write them down and come back to them later.  I also have blank paper and graph paper in this section in case I need to sketch things out or make a collage or something to help remember the vision.

I have each of these pages in different sections of my planner so I can easily find what I’m looking for.  Staying organized helps me stay on track.  So this is how I will keep up with things this year and stay on top of what I need to get done.

Last year I asked a question in The Messy Desk Crafter Facebook Group about what the biggest crafting obstacle is for each member.  The top answers were mostly around staying organized.  I am working on writing a book to be published in a few months on how to get and stay organized for crafters and will provide suggestions for each of the obstacles that were listed off in response to the question.  So if you’re looking for some tips and tricks on that, check back often as I will post the status here on my blog as I get the book out there.


Happy Crafting!