Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

Lots and lots happening in our household lately. I took some time and took pictures of baby things that either I or someone else has made for the little one

This lovely blanket was knitted by my cousin who has her own little one on the way just a few weeks after ours is due to arrive.

The jacket and hat were made by her mother

This blanket was made by my aunt- it is beautiful and so intricate

These next two were made by Jarell’s great-aunt. This little one will be her great great niece- how awesome is that?

I love the granny squares

Here’s the changing table all set up for the homebirth with blankets, towels, clothes, diapers, and a whole bunch more.

Close-up of a few of the newborn diapers I’ve made

One of the fleece skirty soakers complete with owl applique

Hand cut applique of the ninja turtle, Donatello because he was always my favorite

More diapers in one-size

And a few more soakers.

I’m excited to see all of this coming together at long last!


To Post or Not to Post

I really spend way too much time on the computer so for today, I’m just going to pop in real quick and say “hi” before running off to do some sewing, then maybe some knitting, followed sadly by a bunch of cleaning. My house post-party always looks a bit tornado-esque and the kitchen is in serious need of dish cleansing and spatter removal. The microwave was used by teenagers and has unidentified spots in it as well that make me a bit nervous.

I’m working on floor cushions to  alleviate some of the discomfort brought on by sitting on the floor for our Apples to Apples games around the holidays.

The first one (and please pardon the bad cell pics- too lazy to break out the big beast which I know is unforgivable but there you have it) is finished and I have pieces for 3 more cut out.


It’s huge and used 2 pillow cases plus a whole bag of stuffing, but its surprisingly comfy. The next two will be reversed- the long points in the middle and the short points out to allow for a bigger sitting surface, but I really like the way this one supports your legs.

Knitting projects will be updated here as I have the time. My Survey of Modern and Contemporary Arts class keeps me fairly busy, but writing lengthy papers that say little is an art I’ve perfected as a blogger 😉

Tutorial…. sorta… Thanksgiving banner

So remember how I was going to post every day with something I was thankful about? Yeah that failed miserably,  but I will have some thankfuls on another post soon, so don’t think I’ve completely forgotten.

Today I have a tutorial of sorts for you. Its silly simple so I don’t know how much it should count. I even have a free printable for you to go with it- simple decorated letters that took me way too long to make due to computer crashes.


  • Book paper (I used an old dictionary)
  • printed letters from this post
  • scissors
  • glue (I used the hot glue gun on this one)
  • ribbon
  • extra paper for backing
  • ink pads if desired

I started out by printing and cutting out the letters. As a side note to anyone  familiar with Illustrator, they retain their edit-ability (is that even a word? well it is now so pbbbthththt) if you’d like to change up the colors. Anywho, the next step is to cut your pages from your book in half.

Then glue the ends of the halves together to make a longer strip. This is going to vary a bit from book to book, but I needed 3 half sheets to get the right length for the rosettes. Start folding accordion style.

You can line up the definitions to look really cool if you use a dictionary. Just remember about the road to hell and good intentions and such because sometimes you end up with this instead.

Yeah that was a bit unplanned… oh well.

Once you’ve got your sheets of paper accordion folded, overlap the two free ends and glue them together.

This makes a nice tube which you’ll be folding down flat to make the rosettes by bringing the edges of one side together.

please ignore the chipping nail polish

camera happy? who me?? couldn’t be!

Glue a piece of random paper or cardboard in the middle to hold the edges of the page together.

Flip it over, ink the edges of the paper and attach your letter of choice.

Repeat with the rest of the letters.

To attach them to the ribbon, line them up carefully with the letters straight up and down or else you’ll end up with a bit of frustration when you have to repeatedly reposition them after gluing them down only to find out they were crooked. Of course I would never make that mistake, but some people might……

Glue a nice piece of paper over the ribbon (I actually covered these with neat circles after the pic) that overlaps onto the pleats to hold the ribbon in place.

How you attach the letters is up to you. This was a spur of the moment project for me so I used two pieces of ribbon and made a tiered banner, but you could attach them all to a single length to make a longer piece, that part is entirely up to you. Now all you have to do is hang it and I’m sure you can do that on your own so no pictures for that step.

Have fun with this and if you make one, I’d love to see it!




Halloween Projects

I’ve been working on various projects for Halloween, but I haven’t been documenting step by steps for them. Nevertheless, I know that the blogging world is full of creative and talented people so I’m going to share a few of my projects so that anyone feeling ambitious can try and duplicate or improve on them.

This is a Dollar store champagne glass that I drew on with a permanent marker. The swirls and dots are random, but you could draw bats, witches, spiders, or whatever floats your boat.

Add a skull platter from the Dollar store with some hot glue and you have yourself a fancy raised platter.

This chipper fellow is also a Dollar store find. I used permanent marker to darken up the shadows because they were pretty week before-hand. The vase and skulls are from, you guessed it, the Dollar store as well and the potpourri was left over from a Christmas project a couple of years ago. Its apple and cinnamon scented so it works nicely. The spider was a ring with the ring part cut off.

Here in the close up you can sort of see the “spiderwebs” made from strings of hot glue across the top of the vase

This is one of three tiered serving trays made from some flea market and thrift store finds. The trays from the flea market are made by a company called Basket Ease and the pillars are various fancy glasses again hot glued between layers.

Last but not least we have the garden turned cemetery. I have 5 very active dogs who carry  everything off so in order to have any outdoor decorations, they either needed to be up high or out of reach of the dogs. Enter my fenced garden that is fenced to save the plants from my pooches.

We live in a field so there are no trees within a hundred yards of our house. This makes me sad this time of year when I want creep dead trees, but this year I found a solution. We have a large brush pile and in this pile are very long branches from a tree trimming my brother in law did at his house this spring. I pulled out 10-12 of these branches and with the aid of the fence, created a spooky haunted forest around my growing cemetery.

In the picture above you can see the ones I “planted” in the center of the garden by digging a hole about 8-10 inches deep, sticking the branches in the ground, and backfilling around them to hold them in place. It gets windy here, but they’ve stayed put so far.

Here’s our larges tombstone (I have more to put out but they’re locked up in the garage and my husband has the key with him at work) with a bone made from rolled up newspaper and paper mache. It was kind of time consuming, but pretty easy. I hope to get a tutorial up for that soon because I need to make a few more anyway.

Here you can see the tomato cage ghost. I improvised today to see how well it would work. I had a white tablecloth and creepy cloth plus a punching balloon and of course tomato cages because this is after all a garden. I turned the tomato cage upside down, pegged it into the ground with sticks, added the punching balloon to the “top” and draped the table cloth and creepy cloth over top. As you can sort of see in the picture, the balloon is yellow which I wouldn’t recommend for daylight hours, but I imagine once it gets dark, it won’t matter too much.

Last but not least, I added a couple more Dollar store decorations to the main tree to add to the creep factor. More will be going out as I have access to that building in the background where all my decorations are stored. The ones I’ve put out are just the ones I’ve bought this year. Did I mention Halloween is my favoritest holiday of all? Even more than my birthday which tends to suck being New Years with the hungover-ness and all.

So now I’ve added a few more items to your list of things to think about for decorations. I’ve got more on the brain, and a month minus a day to get ready because we do our party the week after Halloween to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Picture Ornaments Tutorial

100_2658I am sure these are a dime a dozen out there and I am certain someone has made tutorials for these as well, but I haven’t found (or looked for for that matter) any so I’m going to share my particular version of these. Actually this is more suggestions and a trial and error list of lessons than tutorial with step by step instructions.


White cotton or linen fabric amount varies but you’ll need a square slightly larger than each one of your photos

iron on transfer paper- I used Avery and was very pleased with the results


printer and computer

digital pictures or old photos and a scanner or both


embroidery floss

scissors and a needle

a little stuffing for each photo to make a little ornament pillow


I started by cropping a selection of each photo that I wanted in my free photo editing software, Gimp. I don’t save the changes to the original photo but instead transfer the changes to a new empty document. However you choose to go about this part is up to you. I saved all my pictures into documents with a page size of 8 1/2 by 11 so that when it came time to print they would all fit on and use up one sheet of the iron on transfer paper.

I changed all my photos to black and white and lightened some of them that were darker. I then tinted them to give them a sepia tone but you could print in full color, black and white or even crazy Warhol inspired tones- its entirely up to you.

Once you have all your pictures edited to your liking print the pages out onto the special paper. I went into my printers preferences (on the print screen) and set the paper type to Photo Transfer paper but I don’t know if this makes a difference. We’ll assume it does and say thats an important step. Also since you’re using photos for this project set the quality to best or photo or whatever is the optimal print setting so that these babies come out looking fabulous.

Once they’re printed separate your photos, cutting off any parts of the picture that you don’t want included in the finished project.

Prepare your surface and read the instructions on the back of the transfer paper packaging. I did make sure that there was no water in my iron and shut off the steam but I didn’t check to make sure there were no bits of string stuck to my fabric and a couple of my photos have blue spots on them from random stuff in my craft room. Make sure that there is an even surface under your photo- if you have a pillow case under it, make sure that it is all the way under the picture- the reason being that uneven surfaces equal …. unique textures that aren’t quite right in the finished project.

It took about 45 seconds per photo for the ironing and in case you’re wondering, no you can’t reuse the photos- the whole sticky side comes off on your fabric and thats that. Allow the photos to cool fully (about 2 minutes off the hot surface) before trying to peel the backing from the fabric. Don’t iron on a surface that might be ruined by high heat i.e. that antique sewing cabinet that belongs to your step mother. (learned this at 6 am one Saturday when I was in High School- serves her right for waking me up to do something she should have done the day before)

Now to the ornaments. I made a couple of these that were larger, but as they say, hindsight is 20/20 and I would make the pictures wallet sized or just slightly larger. 100_2660Trim around the outside edge of your photo leaving an edge of about an 8th of an inch-ish. Cut a piece of felt to the same size while you’re at it. Place your felt and picture together with the right sides out. Arm yourself with needle and embroidery floss and blanket stitch around the outside edge till you have only a small opening left. Stuff the little pillow shape lightly- just enough to give it some dimension or more if you wish- and finish sewing the opening shut. For a hanger you can do several things. you could attach some ribbon and go that route, you could use some extra embroidery floss to make a loop as I chose to do, or you could even take a metal hanger and hook the little end through your blanket stitches and hang it that way.

I am making these with pictures of my nieces and nephews for my MIL and SIL, my brothers and I for my parents my step mom, and even a couple of family pets for our own tree. The subject matter options are endless. I may have one of each of my nieces and nephews on the tree for them to take home from Christmas this year so that they have them as keepsakes. In addition to family photos you can add sayings to these in a photo editing software- just go wild and have a blast.

100_2668My beautiful camera assistant

Off we go into the wilde blue yonder

Hey all its me again. We’re headed off to Florida and I’m sitting in the terminal waiting for our plane. The free wi-fi advertised all over is not functioning on my computer so I’m using my trusty fall back plan of my cell phone. I love being able to take my internet with me and can only hope I get good signal at the hotel down there. We’re staying at some Buenavista Resort and Spa– sounds fancy huh? But the 8 of us will be in a 3 bedroom condo thingy so its gonna be a little cramped. I can’t promise anything too crafty while I’m down there but I did pack a very small sewing kit and several different scraps of fabric and if you’ve seen my babies, you know thats all I really need. They’ll be hairless and unstuffed but I can embroider them. Thats my “just in case Melissa goes crazy in Florida” emergency stash and I really plan to just kinda take a break. I will however be keeping an eye out for lots of crafty stuff to bring back with me. I made sure to leave extra room in my bag ;). I don’t have much to leave you with but I’ll take a quick pic of my current project and post it here later.

New to this site

I’m new to this blog but thought I’d give it a shot since none of my myspace friends seem particularly interested in hearing about me melting plastic bags a la etsylabs or about my little dolls scrapbooking etc. So I will try for a new audience and see what happens. My name is Melissa altho thanks to a clever random comment from my mom I have taken upon myself the moniker of HellesBelles. In other places I am known as littlesongbird17/86 or songbird86 or more recently whitecoralbelles but since there are so many names that amuse me I find it hard to choose just one. Its similar in my real life where as a newly wed of almost a year I’m still receiving items in my maiden name along with things to my married self. Its really quite confusing but c’est la vie, n’est ce pas? I have an etsy account that I’m still a bit uncertain about but its a work in progress. Its located at http://www.whitecoralbelles.etsy.com/ if you should happen to be interested but bear in mind the earlier stated work in progress comment. That said allow me to introduce myselves. I am a young female living in what is possibly one of the most meteorologically diverse states in this nation, Missouri. It was 75 on Sunday followed by a brisk 22 on Tuesday and today I haven’t seen the temp but its neither one of those. I have two and a half dogs since a) one is technically not ours she just resides here with a temporary permanancy and/or b) one is a 9 0r 10 week old puppy of unknown origins. They choose to be named Missy, Tinkerbell, and Pepper and are the queens of this 70 acres on which we live. I am as I mentioned earlier a newly wed and in fact our anniversary is on the 14th so we’ve almost made it through a whole year. Hooray! I have two younger brothers, two step-brothers, one step-sister, and 16 brothers and sisters in law. Yipes! My husband is the middle of 14 children and since his parents are currently in Mexico for their business we are taking care of the younger 4 kids ages 12, 14, 14, and 16. It is I must say a strange feeling being a semi surrogate parent to teenagers having been one myself not so long ago.
When it comes to crafting, anything goes. I sew, scrapbook, draw, paint with acrylics on several surfaces, knit, crochet, and do strange things with random bits and ends when I find them. I can never say for sure what will catch my eye next but I often liken myself to a magpie who has tumbled into Aladins cave of wonders— so many of shiny objects, so little time. I won’t post any projects today because the kids are starting to microwave frozen burritos and that does not count as a healthy meal in this house. I must go make my copycat panera bread cheesy brocolli soup. Yum!!