Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This Isn't Pretty But It Works

Since I was first introduced to altered books many years ago, I've wanted to make one to use not as a prayer journal per se, but as a beautiful place to keep prayers, clippings, prayer cards, and the like.
Well.  It hasn't happened.
Thankfully, I know me.  And, when I wanted this type of book, I thought I better make do and I did.
I hadn't used it in awhile and when I got it out, I realized that it would be a good thing to share here with you.  Lent is just around the corner and this may be a good time to start such a book.  I'm guessing I've had this book for at least 14 years.
It's just a plain non descript photo album with slide-in plastic photo holders.  And, it works perfectly for what I wanted.
It works so well to slide in prayer cards that you'd like to keep and use. (Us Catholics sure love our prayer cards!!)
See an article that you'd like to keep?  or read a meditation that touches you?  Slip it in a sleeve.
I used to write down scriptures and either carry around with me or put up on the bulletin board or refrigerator for awhile.  Then slip them in here.  See?  Nothing nice about my scribbling, but one of my kid's scribbling is cute to see here!
On the left is a picture of Pope John Paul II that was given to me from a woman who gave me a rosary blessed by him during the visit when she took the picture.  On the right, more scribbling by one of my kids.  How ironic that they drew on my prayer, Mother's Petitions to Mary!
It's stuffed and some papers I folded to fit, others hang out, I can toss some when I want to make more room.  But, it holds quite a bit. 
You can jot down a prayer or a thought anywhere, carry it around in your pocket and it has a resting place here.   The beauty is, no order necessary.  Easy. Flip through to find what you want or just to find a place to sit in prayer.
Maybe not pretty or creative, but it works.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Texture Tuesday: Out on the Pond

A couple of Sundays ago, my second daughter, my husband, and I went out for a walk and down to our ponds. It had been awhile with the cold weather, short days, and activities going on in our lives.

My daughter proceeded to "perform an ice ballet".  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen my fast speed video. 
A video posted by Jill Ruskamp (@jillruth) on

The day was gorgeous with the colors of fall still there and the hint of the winter that we've had still lingering.

So pretty even when the only bold color comes from my husband's work gloves. :)

All three of the images were textures using an overlay blending mode and Kim Klassen's textures from her November Trio collection.  The textures add just the subtle warmth needed for the photos.

So, after the fast motion video, I tried a slow motion one.  I'm telling you I can have fun with my phone.
A video posted by Jill Ruskamp (@jillruth) on

Kim Klassen dot com

(I hope the embedded videos work!)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Finds

I thought I'd post about some of the treasures I've found during the last month.  I haven't been out much but did find a few things at an antique store, thrift store, and an estate sale.
I maybe should have passed on this stool since I have quite a few but gosh, a person needs a place to rest with character, right?
These old aluminum spice containers made me smile all big inside when I saw the price.  Yep, they're coming home with me.  We've used two sets of salt and pepper shakers that match in our kitchen for years.
And these were found in the same antique store.  It was my first visit there where I actually got to go in and not just peak in the window....will be going back. 
Art Deco graphics....
Pretty wonderful!  I have not decided if they will actually store items in my pantry or in the sewing room.  Because we all know that truth be told....Tupperware is better for storage.  Ouch.  That does hurt.
I used to walk on by the old metal frames, not old enough to be really neat, but I'm seeing them in a new light now.  Especially the hinged ones.  Not sure why I like them now, but thought I'd bring home a couple and see if I find a use for them.
This one had a cool label in it as a bonus
Also at the thrift store:
These hand made round knitting looms looked like they were full of potential.  Maybe loom knitting for my little girls or perhaps to use for a round weaving project?
I thought I better take them too. 

Maybe these paper dolls and clothes will find their way to the new frames?
The dresses are magazine page thin and they don't all "fit" a doll.
These are sure cute even though the poor gal on the left has been decapitated.
My offer for this set of quite chipped and aged dishes at the estate sale was met with an overly exuberant "Gosh, yes!"
And I thought...hmmm...should have offered less
Not needing any more dishes at all, I was so excited to leave with only three of the 7 cups for sale at the thrift store.  (What? that didn't make sense to you?)
Old books always have a new home here.

I liked the title and content of this one.
Lots of fun information in it and possible collage material.
I'm happy you stopped by!  Have you found any treasures lately?
Kim Klassen dot com

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Black and White Wednesday

"Hmmm...what should I do today?"

I saw this over here on a blog called Simple Joys and thought it was so cute.  In a moment of avoiding work, I cut my own.  
I have to admit, mine looks a little more like she's doing deep knee bends instead of pondering the day, haha!

My Memory Art

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Memory Game From Fabric Scraps

 A while back I found these tutorials, here and here, to make a memory game for a toddler from fabric. I thought it was the neatest idea.  The one used wool felt and Liberty of London fabric.  

I went looking through my scraps and found what I'll call Liberty of London wanna-bes.  They do a pretty good job of it and all were picked up at a garage sale...someone else's scraps.  Kept in a shoe box by them, then to my stash, and now they live on in a cute game for my granddaughter!

I don't have a tutorial for you, but if you are a sewer/maker kind of person you can do this easily.  The above links to the tutorials are really nice games but FAR more time consuming that I wanted.  

I used one color (orange) for the back, muslin for the other side of the backing and then 12 different patterns for the front game part.  I fused the muslin to iron on interfacing and the small pieces to iron on interfacing too.  Then with  brand new pinking shears (I was so excited to finally break down and buy a new one!  I had four pairs of pinking shears all of which couldn't cut butter)

I don't remember what measurements I used for sure, you'd need to make a practice one to see what you like...I think it was 3 1/4" for the smaller square and 4" for the larger one. I was in a big hurry as it was before Christmas and just started cutting and sewing and now it's not here to go measure.

The Process: I drew with a pencil a 3 1/4 " square on the patterned fabrics and then pinked right on top of my pencil line.  I cut out larger 4" squares of the orange and muslin. I laid down the patterned smaller squares on the muslin and stitched around, just inside my pinked edges.  Then with wrong sides together, I put the orange fabric to the muslin and sewed all around the edges about at a 1/2" seam allowance and then pinked the edges. 
I made 24 blocks, 2 each of 12 patterns.

Then from the left over interfaced fused scaps I made the bag for her to tote them around in.  VERY simply constructed, but it works!

I made the one handle big enough that the game pieces could easily be slid in there, or if my granddaughter puts them in, stuffed in there!

These pictures were hastily taken in my sewing room with my phone so I'm sorry about that, but so it goes.

I ♥ hand-made.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hello Again! and a Valentine's Day Mantel

Our days have been pretty full around here this past month.  All good, I'm so happy to report!  If you follow along on Instagram, you've had a small sampling of what's been going on.  Our daughter who is a freshman is out for basketball and she is our first child who has been out in high school for a sport besides golf.  There have been a lot of games and we don't even go to all the away ones!

Christmas has all been put away now.  Well, not the lights on the house...we'll get to them....someday soon I hope.  All of our garland we hang outside was so tattered and falling apart that this year it went in the trash.  That was hard to do as you know I don't like to throw too much.  But, we'd used it for at least 16 years all of them out in the elements.  They were "tired" as my husband would say.  That's how he describes our suburban, "tired".  Makes me laugh.  I may not be as gentle in my description of it, ha!

At the suggestion of my oldest daughter, I got out some of my vintage wedding photographs to decorate the mantel for Valentine's Day.

Actually all of these photographs came from my grandmother's album which my Mom gave me quite a few years ago.  It must have been a common practice to give to family members a nice photo of the couple.

I thought a couple of my antique cameras would be fitting to display with the photos.  Oh, I think these old cameras are wonderful!

The photos are just beautiful.

I had bought all the flowers at a clearance sale somewhere and forgot I had them until now when I went looking for "something" to add to the mantel.  I used the vintage crinkle ribbon I made from the old seam binding I had.  You can see a photo of the before here on Instagram.  It turned out just like I'd hoped.

My grandmother had the urge I guess to label right ON the photo....I was so discouraged about that when Mom gave me the album.  But, now, I've completely changed my mind. 

For one, I was free to pull the photos from the album and not worry about marking them someway who they were.

And secondly, I think it actually adds to the charm.  Grandma.  She died when I was in 7th grade and I have wonderful memories of her.

I helped care for the woman in this picture when I worked in the nursing home as an aide when I was in high school.  I think she was my great, great, aunt.

So, so much can be said about love and marriage and this blog isn't big enough! 

So, I'll just say that I pray often for the sanctity of marriage.


 Valentine's Day has become to me so much more than just about romantic love. 

It's about God's love for us.

It's about the choice that we make to love others: whether in marriage or in all our relationships.

The more we experience His love, the easier it is to love others. 

"Lord, please grant us the grace to feel your love."


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