Adventures in Card-Making

The Joy of Painting

Dear Fellow Crafters,

I recently discovered Bob Ross and his show on tv. What struck me right away was his gentle, soothing voice and his obvious love of painting. Now, I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler but after watching a few of the episodes on public tv I am tempted to try.

This article was found on Bing


Discovering the joy of Bob Ross
Anabelle Kollman Eisenhower High School
Jul 26, 2020
1 of 2
Unleashed writer Anabelle Kollman pays tribute to an American artistic legend

Most people know enough about Bob Ross to conjure up thoughts of a bright landscape on canvas, his gentle manner and, most important, his iconic, perfectly permed hair.

His show, “The Joy of Painting,” aired original episodes on PBS from 1983 to 1994. The Air Force master sergeant who became a painting icon spent each show creating a piece of artwork and instructing his viewers on how to create something similar.

Although Ross died 25 years ago this month at age 52, he has in more recent years become somewhat of an internet personality. You can find him and his big, curly hair referenced in TV shows, films, video games, T-shirts, socks, lunchboxes, mugs and really anything else you can think of.

So, while I have always had an image of Bob Ross in my head, it wasn’t until recently that I had ever watched the show that launched his original fame.

I am not a painter. I really have no experience or great passion for painting. But, let me tell you, you do not need to be an avid painter to find joy in “The Joy of Painting.”

Lately, life has been more stressful than usual for most, and I found something oddly calming about this show in which, with a few brush strokes and some happy little trees, a pristine new word unfolds on your screen. Bob’s voice and cadence is gentle, and some would say soothing.

I get the feeling that if I had met Bob in real life, he would act the same way as he does on camera, which I find absolutely charming. His casual instruction makes crafting his intricate landscapes look so easy, persuading even an inexperienced and rather unskilled could-be painter like me to think that I could simply pick up some paints and produce a masterpiece.

Not only does “The Joy of Painting” provide some calming content, it is also just a generally happy and entertaining show. Bob has many sayings about painting that for some reason always make me chuckle. He has a tendency to instruct the viewer to “give your tree a little friend” or “paint some happy little clouds and happy little trees” or, my personal favorite, the advice he gives about cleaning your brush when he says to “just beat the devil out of it.”

Sometimes a special guest will make an appearance — one of Bob’s pet squirrels, or maybe his owl or a baby deer. With his paints, pallet, brushes and (let’s not forget) hair, Bob Ross creates a happy little show to be enjoyed by all.

One of the quotes from Ross that can be found all over the internet provides the perfect embodiment about the spirit of the artist and his still-popular show: “People look at me like I’m a little strange, when I go around talking to squirrels and rabbits and stuff. That’s OK. That’s just OK.”

Now if that quote makes you smile, then yes, you should just go to the internet and watch Bob Ross and his show right now.


National Day of Encouragement

Dear Fellow Crafters,

SEPTEMBER 12  is National Day of Encouragement in the USA. It seems appropriate to me that we celebrate the day in lieu of  we’ve all been going through this year. There are so many tyres of messages we could send:

Simple thinking of you, recovery, divorce or breakup, day brighteners, job loss, mental health, upcoming presentation, retirement, chemo therapy treatment, postponed wedding etc.

So here are a few to get you started.

  • I know this won’t be easy, but I also know you’ve got what it takes to get through it.
  • Sending you good thoughts.
  • You’re on my mind and in my thoughts.
  • I’m just a phone call away.
  • Wishing you healing right around the next corner.
  • If you want to talk, rant, vent, whatever call me.
  • I know what you’re going through is hard, but I’m rooting for you every minute of every day.
  • Hang in there. Your next job is around the corner.
  • The next chapter of your life is going to be amazing.
  • Sending you a smile today.
  • At a time like this, forget the spoon. Just grab the bucket of ice cream and a spoon.
  • I can deliver  mean takeout.

Sweater Pillows

Dear Fellow Crafters,

Fall is coming! I had no idea you could do this!




This is an acorn pillow. See below for instructions

Old wool sweaters are my second favourite fabric to upcycle after denim. And my favourite thing to upcycle sweaters into is pillows. This time I’ve made shaped DIY sweater pillows for fall/autumn. They are in fall colours, and shaped like acorns and an oak leaf.

Making pillows for fall/autumn is quite apt, as my nickname for that time of year is sweater season. I associate acorns with fall. Last autumn I made an acorn map wreath for the front door.

Shaped pillows are fun to make, especially out of old soft wool sweaters. I’ve made mountain sweater pillows and a Christmas tree pillow before. But this is the first time I’ve made acorn pillows.

I got the idea to make these DIY sweater pillows when sorting through a stash of old sweaters. They had been given to me by my Mum, a lot of them were in autumnal colours. Such as oranges, yellows, and browns. Perfect for making seasonal acorn pillows.

By the way, most people in the UK call sweaters jumpers and pillows cushions. However, even though I’m British I wasn’t bought up in the UK but in Hong Kong. It was a British colony at the time, but there were a lot of American cultural influences. So I’m used to both American English and British English and often get confused between the two.

Fall coloured sweaters for a acorn and oak leaf pillow upcycle
What Sweaters To Use For The DIY Fall Pillows

I used to only upcycle with sweaters that were at least 70% wool. If you put these sweaters in the washing machine on a hot wash the sweaters would shrink, thicken, and felt. Felted sweater wool is great for crafting with. Sweater felt, does not unravel or fray, so there is no need for hems.

However, I have other sweaters that perhaps don’t have such high natural wool content, that can be used to. Even if they don’t felt, if you can cut the sweaters and they don’t unravel you can still use them for some crafts.

Especially, if the sweater was made on a knitting machine instead of being hand-knitted, it can often be cut without unraveling. Some wools like cashmere don’t felt but still make lovely soft cushions.

For the acorn DIY sweater pillows, you will need two sweaters in contrasting fall colours. For the leaf pillow, you only need one large sweater in an appropriate colour.

Crewel wool in autumnal colour.
Needle and thread or sewing machine
Fiberfill – I use the filling from old bed pillows.

How To Make Acorn Pillows
1.. Decide on the sweaters that you are going to use. For the acorn pillow, I choose two sweaters. One in a dark brown for the nut and another patterned sweater a mustard yellow for the nut.

2. Put the sweaters in a hot wash in the washing machine. Then in the tumble dry to shrink and felt them. Only the yellow sweater felted. Even though the brown sweater did felt, it not unravel when cut so was still suitable for this project.

3. Next, print out the two patterns for the acorn pillows. One for the nut and one for the cup. Remember the patterns are in half so need to be drawn out in full. (The full pattern was too big for standard computer paper).

both acorn patterns
4. Next, pin the acorn cup pattern on to the sweater and draw around it. Place the pattern so that the straight edge of the cup is lined up with the bottom of the sweater. The bottom of the sweater is normally ribbed which will give a nice bit of texture to the pillow.

Cut out 2 acorn cups from the same sweater for each pillow.

5. Next, on the brown sweater use the nut pattern to cut out 2 acorn nuts from the sweater.

cut out DIY sweater pillow pieces
5. Next, take one of the sweater cup pieces and fold over the straight edge by about 1cm. Then, pin it to the straight edge of the acorn nut. Overlap the two pieces by about 1 cm. The folded edges should be visible on the front side of the acorn sweater pillow.

Either by hand or machine sew both pieces together and then repeat with the other acorn pieces.

6. Next, place the 2 full acorn pieces right sides together. Then stitch around the edge, leaving a margin of about 5mm. Leave a gap of about 5cm for stuffing.

Acorn pillow pinned right sides togther.
7. Then, using the small hole that you have left open, turn the stitched acorn pillow right sides out. Then use the hole to fill the pillow with fiber. Finish off the DIY sweater pillow by hand-stitching the stuffing hole shut.

stuffing an acorn fall pillow
DIY sweater pillows for fall acorn pillow
How To Make The Oak Leaf Pillow
1.. For this DIY sweater pillow, use the oak leaf pattern. Place the pattern on to the sweater and cut out two leaf shapes. One for the back and one for the front of the pillow.

Oak leaf pattern
2. Next, using some sewers chalk, draw some simple leaf vien pattern on the front pillow piece.

Drawing veins on oak leaf sweater
3. Then using crewel wool (or thin wool) in a contrasting colour stitch over the chalk lines. A simple running stitch will do for these sweater pillows.

Sitching viens
4. Next, pin both oak leaf sweater pieces right sides together. Then stitch them together. As the sweater felt doesn’t fray, you can sew the pieces together with a very small seam (less than 5mm). Leave a small hole for filling the leaf pillow.

5. Finally, turn the leaf pillow right sides out and fill with fiber. Then hand stitch the hole closed.

Oak leaf sweater pillows
Acorn and oak leaf sweater pillows
The acorn pillow was fun to make so I made another one, with a stripey jumper.

Upcycled fall sweaters
For these upcycled sweater pillows you only need the body part of your old jumpers. But don’t throw away the sleeves as you can also use them to make a fun DIY knot pillow.

Keep the leftover scraps too as they can go towards making an upcycled felt rug to match your fall pillows. Or if you don’t think you’ll have enough to stretch for a whole rug, how about combining them with denim to make some upcycled fabric placemats.

The smaller leftover scrap sweater felt pieces can even be upcycled into a faux felt succulent garden. There are more upcycled sweater craft ideas here.

By the way, if you love acorns and oak trees Pictureboxblue has some wonderful free botanical leaf prints which include many oak trees and acorns.

Yield: fall shaped sweater pillows
Acorn And Oak Leaf DIY Sweater Pillows
Use your old sweaters to make some super cute full sweater pillows. These cute pillows are not only in the colours of fall but they are in the shape of an acorn and an oak leaf. This upcycled craft can be made either with sewing by hand or on a machine.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1
Old wool sweaters in fall colours
Acorn and oak leaf pattern (free to download on blog)
Crewel wool

Print out the patterns for the acorn and oak leaf
The patterns are in half so draw them out to full size.
Pin the acorn cup pattern to the sweater matching the straight edge of the sweater to the straight edge of the pattern.
Cut out two acorn cup pieces
In a sweater of a different colour cut out to nut pieces
Fold over the straight edge of the acorn cup about 1cm and pin it to a nut piece. The straight edges should overlap by 1cm.
Stitch these two pieces together and repeat with the other side.
Pin the full acorn sides right sides together.
Stitch around the acorn leaving a 5cm gap
Turn the acorn sweater pillow right side out and then stuff with fiberfill before stitching the hole shut.
To make the leaf pillows, cut out two leaf patterns.
One on leaf side draw veins with chalk and then stitch along the lines with crewel wool.
Next, pin and stitch the oak leaf pieces right sides together leaving a 5 cm gap.
Turn the leaf right sides out and fill with fiberfill. Then hand stitch the hole shut.
© Pillarboxblue
Project Type: Sewing / Category: DIY Upcycling
fall sweater pillows DIY
For more sweater pillow ideas visit

PaperCrafting 101 · To die for

A versatile folder and stamp set

Dear Fellow Crafters,

As promised previously, I wanted to share my newest die set and folder that I purchased at Hobby Lobby last week. I am always looking for craft items that can be used in various ways. So when I saw this folder, (Momenta) it just “spoke” to me. The space taken up with “Happy Birthday” can be measured and cut out. You could then stamp or die cut lots of different sentiments-just vary the paper.

Oh, and before I forget, fall crafts will grace this blog for the next few weeks.



cards · PaperCrafting 101 · To die for

Creating a tree line with a novel idea

Dear Fellow Crafters,

If you’re like me, you look at a new craft idea and wonder why you didn’t think of “that xxyy”  yourself! This idea, to create a tree line with one die cut is not new, what is new is how the designer managed it.

Enjoy! Oh, and btw, check out your favorite craft store. It may be open. Hobby Lobby was open last week in an area near me. Not many shoppers, all wearing masks, Holiday crafts on display already! And sales. Next time we meet up, I’ll share a new, versatile folder and die cut set.


Dies R Us

Create a tree line…

Posted: 17 Aug 2020 10:26 AM PDT Welcome crafty peeps…Vicki, from He”artful” Validation of Vicki sharing an easy way to create a tree line on your card or project using the Lavinia Christmas Tree Group Stamp. Although this stamp is labeled as Christmas, the pine tree design can be used any time of year.

Lavinia Christmas Tree Group Stamp

I created a tree line as the focal point for this CAS Sympathy card…

With Sympathy and Prayers

Slim line cards are all the rage right now. I haven’t made many, but this style worked well for the design that I wanted to create.

The finished card size is 3 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. I cut the cardstock 7″ wide by 8 1/2″ long. Next, I scored at 3 1/2″ on the 7″ side, folded and burnished for a sharp crease.

****I used a stamp platform to create a uniform tree line, moving the stamp while keeping the cardstock stationary with magnets. ***

To finish the card, I inked the background sky, gave the trees more color and added some terrain under them. I double matted with earth tones and used blue stonewash cardstock as the card base.

Featured Dies R Us product… Lavinia Christmas Tree Group Stamp Tim Holtz/Ranger Blueprint Sketch Distress Oxide Ink Tim Holtz/Ranger Frayed Burlap Distress Oxide Ink Tim Holtz/Ranger Peeled Paint Distress Ink Tsukineko/Memento Black Tuxedo Ink

Thanks for stopping by… I hope I’ve inspired you to use die cuts on your creative projects.