Author Archive | Melony Bradley

Give Inspiration Kits for Christmas Gifts

Inspiration Kit Gifts

This Christmas, why not give your artsy crafty friends and family Inspiration kits? These adorable Christmas Inspiration Kit Gifts are embellished with buttons. They are fun to make and will surely delight every creative person on your list.

Materials and Tools for Inspiration Kit Gifts

Sizzix die cut and matboard

To create your Inspiration Kit Gifts, die cut one Bag Caddy from the matboard. Assemble it according to manufacturer’s instructions using the red line tape.

paint box redPaint the box, inside and out Tuscan Red. Measure the front and sides of the box and cut patterned paper using the paper trimmer. Use the foam brush and decoupage medium to apply the paper to the box.

decoupage boxDry brush snow white on front of box. Paint the bird shape Antique White. Paint the teardrop for wing and bird beak Lamp Black.

boxes painted and covered

ink clothespinUsing the brown chalk ink, ink the clothes pin. Print out holiday sentiments using plain computer paper and a printer.

decoupage sentiment

Cut the sentiments out with the scissors. Use the decoupage medium to apply them to the clothes pin. Glue button on one end of clothes pin with the Gem-Tac. If desired, glue a flat backed acrylic stone to the center of the button.

decorated clothespins

Laura Kelly buttonsGlue the bird shape, wing and flower center to the box.

bird on boxStamp sentiment over white swatch of paint on box front.

Here is the super fun part… die cut flowers, tags, etc. to fill your Christmas Inspiration Gift Kits. Die cut the cardstock and the wool felt.

Completed bird boxI also included some hand dyed stamped ribbon in my Inspiration Gift Kits.

stamped ribbonGlue some buttons to the front of the box.

Completed bird box 3

These Inspiration Kit Gifts are great gifts for teachers, hostesses, neighbors, gift exchanges, etc. Make several at once so they will be on hand if an unexpected guest drops by. Instead of art supplies, fill the boxes with homemade edible goodies.

Thanks for letting me share my Inspiration Kits with you.

Live Life Creatively,




Halloween Napkin Rings

Halloween Nakin RingsLooking to create some fun for this Halloween for your spooky table decor? These Halloween Napkin Rings using Novelty and various flat backed buttons from Buttons Galore and More are as much fun to make as they are to enjoy. With details such as paint, burlap and stamped sentiments, you will love the detail of these Halloween Napkin Rings.

Materials and Supplies

Buttons Galore and More Halloween Novelty Buttons

Laura Kelly Hand Dyed Buttons in colors of your choice

Various unfinished wood shapes of your choice

DecoArt Americana Acrylics in Lamp Black, Pumpkin, Olive Green, Grape Juice and Snow White

Scraps of burlap

Tiny alphabet stamps and ink

Beacon Adhesives Premium Tacky Glue

Buttons Galore and More Shank Remover

Paint brushes, sewing machine and thread, scissors


Layout designs on napkin ringsTo create your own Halloween Napkin Rings, use the Button Shank Remover to remove the shank from the novelty buttons so that the novelty button lays flat on the wood. Lay out the design, layering the wood shapes and arranging the buttons on the shapes to decide on your design.

Laura Kelly Hand Dyed ButtonsFor my Halloween Napkin Rings, I used Laura Kelly hand dyed buttons in Smoke and Outrageous Orange.

Label shapesSince you will be working with so many shapes and colors, it is helpful to label your shapes with the first initial so you will know what color to paint it.

melony 041 (1024x701) - CopyPaint your shapes front and back, using two coats.

Stamped shape (768x1024)Layer your shapes and glue them together. Dry brush white paint on the bottom of the top shape. Use the alphabet stamps and ink to stamp the shapes. Glue the novelty button to the center of the shape.

buttons on shapeI also added some 9mm acrylic rhinestones to some of the buttons.

Burlap strips for Halloween Napkin RingsCut some burlap into strips and use the sewing machine, thread and a zig zag stitch to sew the edges of the strips to prevent fraying.

glue strips to back of shapes (1024x611) - Copy

Glue the shapes to the center of each burlap strip and let dry.

sew buttons on burlap (1024x768)Sew buttons onto the burlap strips. I used orange, purple, green and black from the Laura Kelly Hand Dyed Buttons collection.

Laura Kelly hand dyed buttons 2 (1024x733)

Once you sew on the buttons, use the center button to sew closed the burlap strip, creating a napkin ring.

Sew on buttons 2 (769x1024) - CopyCreate a set of these Halloween Napkin Rings to adorn a scary table setting using buttons!

Halloween Napkin RingsLive Life Creatively,




Pumpkin Pillow Wrap

finished pillow wrap 1Its October! Time to think about refreshing your indoor decor with all things fall, spicy and harvest. One of the easiest ways to have found to give my decor a facelift is with pillows. Still easier pillow wraps! This easy to make pumpkin pillow wrap will have whet your appetite for making pillow wraps for every season. With an all seasons color like green, you can make pillow wraps for Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Here is my Autumnal version. Creating the pillow cover from scratch requires basic sewing experience but you can use a purchased pillow already covered and add your Pumpkin Pillow Wrap to it.

Materials and Supplies

Square Pillow form in a size of your choice

Two green fabric squares that match your pillow form size plus 1/2″ seam allowance on all sides

Enough white felt to wrap around the pillow form snugly

Laura Kelly Hand dyed buttons from Buttons Galore and More in Outrageous Orange and Bold Brown

DMC Color Infusions Memory Thread in Light Green

Self adhesive Velcro Strips in White

Hand sewing needle and thread in white and light green

Brown embroidery thread (6-ply), embroidery needle

Scalloped edged scissors, rotary cutter and self-healing mat, scissors, sewing machine and thread, fabric marking pen

Cutting out the felt for the pillow wrapillow wrap (1024x768) - CopyFirst, cut out the felt using the rotary cutter and mat. Trim the edges with the scalloped edged scissors. This will give your felt nice clean ornate edges that don’t have to be sewn.

Draw a circle on the pillow wrap Use the fabric marker to trace a circle in the size of your choice. Remember that you will be sewing the hand dyed buttons to fill the entire circle so plan accordingly. Thread your needle and start the sewing the buttons on to create the pumpkin by pulling the thread from the back to the front. Just like you would sew on a button.

Continue sewing pillow wrapContinue to fill in the traced circle, using the traced lines at a guide to make your pumpkin. Use the smaller buttons in the package to fill in the smaller gaps.

completed circle of buttons (1024x768) - CopyFinally, a complete circle of hand dyed buttons on your pillow wrap that we will now add details to resemble a pumpkin!

Add a button stem (768x1024) - CopyUse some brown buttons (2 or 3) depending on the size of your pumpkin to create a stem.

DMC color infusionsTo create vines, I used Color Infusions Memory Thread by DMC in a light green. This can either can glued down or couched down with coordinating thread and a hand sewing needle. I find the couching down method to yield a neater and less messy result.

Embroidery stitches

Thread your embroidery needle with three strands of the 6-ply brown embroidery thread. Use the fabric marker to write a sentiment onto the Pumpkin Pillow Wrap just under the pumpkin and back-stitch the sentiment.

iron fabric for pillow coverIron your squares of fabric for the pillow cover front and back. Place the right sides together and machine stitch the left, top and right sides together using a 1″ seam allowance. Leave the bottom of the pillow open for turning and stuffing with the pillow form. Steam the seams open with the iron set on a steam setting and turn right sides out. Iron again and insert the pillow form into the bottom.

insert pillow formSew the bottom of the pillow closed using a whip stitch, the hand sewing needle and thread.

whip stitch 1

whip stitch 2Add a strip of Velcro to the back of your Pumpkin Pillow Wrap as a quick and easy enclosure. I opted for the self adhesive version the sew on version will work as well.

Velcro Now you have a Pumpkin Pillow Wrap that will not only be adorable for the Fall season, but it can be switched out seasonally very easily. Thanks for letting me share. Happy sewing!

Live Life Creatively,



Rustic Pallet Wall Art

Completed project (873x1024)The Autumnal Equinox officially starts September 22nd, 2013. It’s time to start thinking of all of the decorative projects you will be making to usher in this transitional season. How about making some Rustic Pallet Wall Art?

Materials for Rustic Pallet Wall Art

Walnut Hollow’s 14″ x 12″ Rustic Pallet

DecoArt Americana Acrylics in Espresso and Buttermilk

Fabric Scraps, wool felt scraps

Buttons Galore and More Laura Kelly Hand Dyed Buttons

Rub on sentiment

Wax candle, sanding block, sewing machine and thread, hand sewing needle and thread, tacky glue

Taking notice of the recycled wood pallet craze, Walnut Hollow recently introduced their new line of rustic pallets. I have to honestly say that I am super excited about all the cool possibilities for this line. Walnut Hollow came up all kinds of fun ideas for this line. These products can be ordered directly from Walnut Hollow’s website. By the end of December, you will be able to purchase them in Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts and in AC Moore in January.

24" x 12" Pallet

24″ x 12″ Pallet


Rustic Arrow Pallet

Rustic Arrow Pallet


Paneled Wood Clock

Paneled Wood Clock


These are just a few examples of the yummy surfaces offered in this product line. For this Rustic Pallet Wall Art project, I used the 14″ x 11″ rustic pallet.

pallet painted brown (768x1024)

First I used DecoArt’s Americana Acrylics in Espresso to paint the front this brown shade. I waxed the surface once the pallet was dry in random areas and painted the surface Buttermilk.

painted and waxed pallet (818x1024)

Once I painted the entire surface of the pallet, I sanded the surface to reveal the distressed finish. Areas where the wax was applied will rub away easily resulting in a chippy looking finish. This technique also works well with Vaseline but the effect is a little more dramatic.

Fabric Scrap circles and buttons

One of my favorite things to do with my leftover fabric and felt scraps is to create different sized circles and fuse the fabric circles to the wool felt circles. I use my sewing machine to play with the various stitches by sewing around the edge of the fabric to hold it in place on the felt. A button, sewn  in the center makes the look complete. These are some of my favorite. I love the Laura Kelly Hand Dyed Buttons from Buttons Galore and More!

Arrange circles (976x1024) (2)

Use tacky glue to adhere the circles to the rustic pallet. Arrange an outer circle first, leaving a gap at the bottom so you can paint on a simple tree truck with the espresso brown paint.

Rub on sentiments (768x1024)

I finished the rustic pallet wall art with a couple of rub on sentiments to celebrate Autumn. This is wall art that you can display from the end of September into Thanksgiving before the holiday decorations go up! If you are not a huge fan of inside seasonal décor, use colors to coordinate with your home décor and a general sentiment instead. Then you can display it all year long!

Completed project (873x1024)Happy Autumn (soon),

Live Life Creatively,





Gift Packaging Idea

Completed Box 1 (1024x768)

 Are you looking for a creative gift packaging idea? A fantastic gift packaging idea can be very important because the recipient often judges the inside of the gift packaging but what he/she sees on the outside!

I love buttons. I love to create with them and I love to give a little of my excess stash away as gifts. I have used mason jars, baby food jars and other containers to give a gift of buttons. Searching for yet other ways for gift packaging ideas, I ran across this cute sliding drawer box from Sizzix. Used with their Little Sizzles Matboard, the die creates a sturdy little box to present a gift of buttons.

Materials for gift packaging idea:

Sizzix Sliding Candy Jar Gift Box

Sizzix BigShot Die Cutting Machine

Sizzix Little Sizzles Matboard

Sizzix Bigz Die Tattered Florals

Susiebee Studios Patterned Papers

DecoArt Americana Acrylics in Tuscan Red and Boysenberry Pink

Beacon Adhesives Fast Finish Decoupage and Premium Tacky Glue

Buttons Galore and More Assorted Buttons

Sizzix products (768x1024)

To create this gift packaging idea, I used my Sizzix BigShot die cut machine to cut the box pieces from the matboard. There are visual instructions included with the die but the box was very easy to construct.

die cut peices and instructions (1024x768)

The matboard is great because it accepts paint very well. I painted this box using DecoArt’s Americana Acrylics in Tuscan Red.

DecoArt Tuscan Red (1024x768)

cut papers susiebee studios (768x1024)

I also cut patterned papers from SusieBee Studios to fit the sides and top of the box.

decoupage box (1024x734)

Patterned papers can be decoupaged using Fast Finish decoupage from Beacon Adhesives. I used a foam brush for this step. I chose to paint a blank craft shape from Buttons Galore and More in DecoArt’s Boysenberry Pink.

stamp blank craft shape (1024x768)After I painted my blank craft shape, I sanded it to lightly distress and stamped buttons with Clearsnap’s Colorbox pigment ink.

felt flower die cut with button (1024x768)I topped off my die cut button box with a die cut felt flower with a button sewn in the center.

button feet (1024x768)Create these little cute button feet for your box by stacking buttons together starting with the largest on the bottom and working towards the top with the smaller buttons. Getting the button feet to be even can be tricky but well worth the effort!

completed box 3 (1024x768)Glue the button feet to the bottom corners of the box. Super cute gift packaging idea! Especially when filled with buttons.

completed box 4 (1024x768)

Hope this inspires you to create your own creative gift packaging version of this die cut button box.

Live Life Creatively,





Canvas Favor Bags

Completed bag 3 (768x1024)

Its time to look forward to cooler days and falling leaves and all the rest of the great things that Autumn ushers in. As a transitional season, Autumn is one of my favorite seasons and it always inspires me to create something new. I love the rustic feel of Fall projects. Its so easy to use canvas, hemp, jute, wood and other natural materials to make something that looks and feels like Fall. That’s why I decided to try my hand at creating these canvas favor bags.

Completed bag detail (768x1024)Inspired, I sat down with my fabric, wool felt scraps and buttons recently and decided to make a bunch of sewn fabric circles recently. Not really knowing what I was going to do with them, I have since used them to make wall art, pillows and now these little Autumn inspired canvas favor bags.

Materials used for Canvas Favor Bags:

1/8 yard of natural cotton canvas

Wool felt and fabric scraps

Inkjet cotton fabric

Burlap Scraps

Buttons Galore and More Laura Kelly Hand Dyed buttons

14″ hemp

Sizzix BigShot die cutting machine and Bigz Leaves Die

Rotary cutter and self healing cutting mat, scissors, sewing machine and thread, hand sewing needle and thread, heavy duty hole punch

Cut canvas (1024x775)

To make a canvas favor bag, cut two canvas rectangles that measure about 6″ x 8.” Pin small scraps of burlap rectangles to the center of one of the canvas rectangles.

pinned burlap

Use your sewing machine and thread to zig-zag stitch the burlap to the one of the canvas rectangles.

machine stitch burlap (768x1024)

stitched burlap (1024x768)

Add elements such as die cut leaves to your canvas favor bags. Fuse webbing to the back of a fabric scrap and die cut a leaf shape.

die cutting leaves (768x1024)

die cut fabric leaves (768x1024)

Peel away the paper backing and fuse the leaf shape to the canvas.

peel away paper backing (768x1024)

Machine stitch the leaf shape and inkjet fabric sentiments printed from your computer with a straight stitch.

inkjet sentiments (768x1024)

stitch appliques (768x1024)

Now the real fun begins! Use hand dyed buttons from Buttons Galore and More to embellish your canvas favor bag. I used Laura Kelly’s hand dyed buttons and one of my previously created fabric circles to embellish these canvas favor bags. Sew them on with a hand sewing needle and thread.

Buttons Galore and More (768x1024)Place the canvas rectangles right sides together and machine stitch using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave the top of the canvas favor bag open and start sewing about 1 1/2″ down so you have material to create a top fold.

sew right sides together (768x1024)

Use an iron on steam to steam the seams open.

steam seams open (768x1024)

Turn the bag right sides out and fold the top down to create a cuff.

turn right sides out (768x1024)

form cuff at top (1024x768)I created a simple handle by punching holes through the fabric layers using a heavy duty hole punch and inserting a piece of hemp through the holes.

make handles (1024x768)Fill your canvas favor bags with candy or other small treats. Surprise a neighbor by hanging on their front door for a nice Autumn surprise!

Live Life Creatively,





Quilting Arts Bookmarks

Bookmarks up close (1024x768)

Quilting Arts Bookmarks – A recent post on Facebook asked “do you give teacher appreciation gifts for teachers at the beginning of the new school year?” While completing a quilted inspired pillow recently, it occurred to me that I could use the scraps to create a fun bookmark that any teacher would love and appreciate.

Quilted Arts Pillow 1 (2)

I am seriously loving the Dresden applique look that I am seeing on so many inspirational blogs and Pinterest.  Some inexpensive fabrics sold by the fat quarter caught my eye at Walmart the other day and I knew they would be perfect for this Dresden pillow project. I cut lots of Dresden shapes using a pattern and had several leftover.

Leftover Dresden shapes

How to make Quilting Arts Bookmarks:

So, what to do with these fused pieces of shaped fabric? Quilting Arts Bookmarks, that is what.  How about creating a row of houses on a burlap bookmark? (I had this out already too since I created the pillow back and front from burlap).

Cut house shapes from fabric

Trace a rectangular shape onto burlap using a cardstock rectangle pattern (mine were approximately 2 1/2″ x 9.” Leave some room on both the short and long edges for fraying. I used a permanent black marker to trace my shapes. You can also use a rotary cutter and self healing mat in lieu of the cardstock pattern if you wish.

Traced burlap (1024x746)

Cut the shapes out and zig zag stitch the edges approximately 1/4″ from edge to leave some room for fraying. once you fray the edges, the stitches will stop further fraying.

Sewn burlap edges

Now you can use your iron and pressing surface to fuse the house shapes to the burlap. Peel off the paper backing and fuse in place.

8.20.13 053 (1024x768)

Now its time to back to the sewing machine and free motion stitch the house details. Often, you will notice that artists who free motion stitch intricate details such as text, intricate shapes (think animals, arm-chairs,etc) will use a free motion foot. But I have discovered that you can stitch simple free motion shapes with your regular sewing foot. After you have stitched your details, its time to sew on your inkjet fabric sentiment.

Inkjet fabric quote

You can purchase specialty inkjet fabric that is paper backed so it’s easy to use with most inkjet printers. I love this sentiment because its so basic, but I also found another great one that would be perfect for educators. “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” How true!!

Buttons Galore and More (1024x768)

Last but certainly not least and once again the perfect finishing touch, add buttons from a variety of the wide selection from Buttons Galore and More with a hand sewing needle and thread.

Sew on Buttons (1024x768)

Make the Quilting Arts Bookmarks in multiples using your fabric scraps, burlap and buttons to thank those  teachers for all the hard work they do!

Live Life Creatively,



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