It’s All In Black And White

Contributor Post by Mairi from mairidesign

It’s All In Black and White – so perfectly opposite. As a monochrome form of visual arts, B&W images can be starkly contrasted black and white or combine black and white in a continuum producing a range of shades of grey called greyscale. The CIJ Team are delighted to share their B&W and Greyscale works of art, home decor and accessories.

Graphite pencil drawings. I usually present here my portraits of animals, but today I have something very special. Original illustrations that were presented in my exhibition of fairy tale illustrations. Drawings are framed in a beautiful wooden frame and passepartout. I attach a catalog from the exhibition to the purchased drawing.


Spring Weed Fancy Botanical Illustration

Amanda Jayne Andrews from KNITANDPROMISECRAFTS says:

I was originally commissioned to create this tea cosy as a thank you gift as they had a beautiful black and white kitchen, I added the pom poms as an extra special detail.


Stripey Knitted Tea-Cosy

Here is one of my many Classic Black and White gift tag sets. The Butterfly set is one of my favorites.


Black and White Gift Tag Sets

I think these black and white hand painted by ME stemware glasses are so much fun…a great addition to anyone’s bar decor or saved for a special occasion. Here’s to YOU!


Martini Glasses Hand Painted

I love the graphic appeal of black and white! This clutch is fun and easy to carry! In a cotton print that I call foam and bubble with white background and black dots. It’s a nice little clutch for necessities on the go. Padded and with a wrap around strap that can go on a belt or slip over your wrist.


Bridesmaid Gift Clutch Envelope

I love working with black color. The contrast on a white background is fantastic. Simple yet effective. This stippled phalaenopsis is delicate and will fit in perfectly in any home design.


Phalaenopsis Art Print Orchid

This stylish cushion cover set will complete your black and white home interior design. Elephant cushion covers are made from black and white pattern cotton fabrics.One of them has black and white animal print, the other is made from black and white pattern cotton fabric blocks and has a white cotton block in a middle with beautiful oriental elephant embroidery.


Elephant Cushion Cover Set

This black and white chalkboard print fabric with words describing God was the perfect fit for my Bible tote bag. The fabric is so beautiful and a great conversation starter as it will have old and new Christians either asking questions or being reminded of the many names our God can be called by.


Bible tote bag and key chain

I think I created this because I think black is elegant and chic – and I didn’t really have anything in my shop with that precise touch of class.


Black and White Digital Paper

Connie Lee from Bungalow42 says:

What’s black and white and fabulous?

My love of film noir surfaced once again with these black and white curvaceous earrings. These uniquely shaped hoops are vintage black aluminum stamped with a snake skin pattern. The center cut out has an equally unusual shape. Inside each cut out is a gorgeous round white dangling freshwater pearl.


Vintage Black Aluminum Snake Skin Hoop Earrings

Barbara from MermaidsHatbox says:

This black and white infinity scarf is ideal for the summer. The scarf is made of two fabrics. One side is white with little black Polka dots, the other side is black, embroidered with flowers and embellished with flowers in different black and white patterns.


Infinity Scarf

Solveiga from Knitwoolsocks says:

Crochet yoga socks, yin yang gift. According to Taoist principles, the forces of everything in the universe are in constant motion. As the movement continues, each of the forces of energy gradually changes into the other, yin to yang and yang to yin. This is the cycle of all energy. When these opposite energies work in unison the way nature dictates, there is a perfect balance. The yin yang symbol of equal halves, one dark and one light, but also opposing forces come together to create and generate energy – life. Yin creates the form and grows it while the yang generates action energy and expands it. This is the bringing together of two halves to make a complete whole.


Crochet yoga socks yin yang

Elisabeth Perez from LizPOriginals says:

Black and white are great shades and they go with anything. For your special table décor on mantles and candles
this candle bling will make wonderful statement. Gift it with a candle to Friends and family or charming housewarming / hostess gift.

Black Affair Candle Ring

The Year Of The Dog

Contributor Post by Mary from StockLaneStudio

According to the Chinese astrological calendar, each year is related to an animal. February 16th, 2018 marked the beginning of the Earth Dog Year.

Were you born in a Dog Year?  Here are a few more:  1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 and the next will be in 2030.  Sorry, that doesn’t mean you get to count your age in dog years, but it does mean that your lucky numbers are 3, 4 and 9 and your lucky colors are red, green and purple.


You share good fortune with these famous dogs:  Justin Bieber (a wood dog – 1994);  Michael Jackson (an earth dog, 1958), Steven Spielberg (a fire dog, 1946); Elvis Presley (a wood dog, 1935); and Mother Theresa (a gold dog 1910).

From Quilts and Pillow Panels to bookmarks and decorations, the EtsyCIJ team offers loads of lucky items to celebrate the Chinese New Year and our Earth Dog friends.  Feeling retro?  Check out the pottery dog dish or read through a vintage Ken-L-Ration booklet.  Have a look at some of these great finds.

Marta Gotliba from Gottliebtextiles says:  

The lace decor dog’s paw initially was sold as a Christmas tree decor. But after the season was over, my clients still kept buying them. I asked what for and turned out that this paw looked beautiful hung on the rear-view mirror of the clients’ cars.

Lace Paw Print Decoration

Arlene from ThisandThatCrafter says:  

Year of the Dog.  My Dog Bookmark is great for this as it is earthy in color and has the red Fire Hydrant. A fun way to mark your page in the book you are reading.

Dog Bookmark

Patricia from TheOldBarnDoor says:

As someone who is “owned” by two collies, I have always found stories of their loyalty and humor intriguing and heartwarming. You may remember this wonderful book from your own childhood and if not, it’s time to get reacquainted.

Buff A Collie and Other Dog Stories

Diana from joliefemmebydiana says:  

This is a pillow for those who have a border collie. It makes a nice statement on your sofa or bed. The Year of the Dog is a chance to show how important these dedicated creatures are in our lives.

Argyle and Pup Mini Lumbar Pillow

willowvalleyvintage from WillowValleyVintage says:  

Perfect gift for a dog lover or to use as a decorative prop.  Helpful hints, dog care advice, kitschy drawings – 31 pages of fun!

Vintage Ken-L-Ration Dog Care Booklet

Susan-Sharon Passmore from MsPDesignsUSA says:

We just love dogs at Ms P Designs! Our dogs are part of the family, and we love that this is the “Year of the Dog” to honor our very special friends. We have several nursery quilt patterns that feature dogs, but this is our new favorite. These cute Huskies are so happy to have the chance to play outside on a cold winter day.

Husky Dogs PDF Appliqué

Przemila K from CanisArtStudio says:  

I paint portraits of dogs to order and in my shop, you can find a lot of different breeds of dogs. But especially to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Dog, I prepared these small, hand-painted home decorations with dogs. Of course, ten want to present Pekingese. If you don’t find your favorite breed in my shop, you can order the similar decoration with your pet.

Pekingese dog Decoration

Pekingese DOG New Year Ornament

Cindy Humphrey from Cynhumphrey says:  

This sewing panel can be used as pillows, a wall hanging, a tote bag front, and much more. Dog lovers love to show off their pets and show them love so the Year of the Dog is right up their alley!

Dog Pillow Panel

Elizabeth Perez from LizPOriginals says:

Cherish your Fur baby –
Dog memory gifts will put peace in our hearts.

Pet Loss Gift

The History of Crafting

Contributor post by Catherine from DesignsbyCnC

Crafting has always been a human activity.  We are driven to create for many different reasons sometimes by need, challenge, spiritual or the drive for artistic expression.

Early in the 19th century, decorative home crafts, as we recognize them today, came into being as a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution.  Craft ideas and instructions first appeared in women’s magazines during this time. Fabric crafts and needlework were principal, with home crafting being the main occupation of women.

By 1830, scrapbooking became a popular family pastime to record family histories.  Once photography became available in the last half of the century, its popularity reached new heights.

Thanks to an increased interest in natural materials and handcrafted quality, the arts and crafts movement experienced a 20th century revival.  Many craft guilds were reestablished, crafter organizations formed and craft industry associations  founded during the 1920’s – 50’s.  Today we live in a worldwide community of crafters and scrapbookers, aided in part by craft magazines and publications, instructional television programs and the internet.

According to the 1998 study by the Craft and Hobby Association:

  • More than 8 out of 10 American households have one family member engaged in crafting.
  • A staggering 97% of adult women (ages 55-64) surveyed had participated in a crafting activity in their lifetime.
  • The most popular crafts were cross-stitch/embroidery (45%), crocheting (29%), apparel/fashion sewing (26%), home decor painting/accessories (25%), craft sewing (24%), cake decorating/cake making (22%), needlepoint/plastic canvas (22%), art/drawing (21%), floral arranging (21%), home decor sewing (21%) and scrapbooking/memory crafts (20%).
  • The breakdown of how people used their craft projects was: gifts (71%), home decorating (69%), personal use (62%), holiday decorating (59%) and items to sell (16%).
  • The major sources from which craft/hobby participants get their ideas are magazines, books and catalogs. Family and friends are also an important source of ideas.

I have been an avid crafter all of my life.  The very first crafting technique that I learned was knitting. This skill was acquired participating in 4H.  I still have the first knitting projects that I created and the ribbons earned, lovingly packed away in my cedar chest.

I asked the members of the Christmas In July team the following questions:  What was the first craft technique that you ever learned? Do you still do this craft today and sell items made with this technique in your shop?


Alexandra Richards from EyeLoveKnots shared her story:

I can remember always being a crafty person – inspired by my mom and grandma – but the first craft I can remember wanting to pick up and learn was plastic canvas. My Aunt Arlys used to work plastic canvas projects all of the time, and I just had to work them too. She took me down to AC Moore and bought me some yarn, canvas and a book and gave me some pointers like carrying my yarn under stitches. That was almost 10 years ago – I have been hooked since, and have recently been inspired to think outside the box with it to work up quicker projects, and my own designs using the plastic canvas.

I wear my earrings all over the place, and get a lot of compliments on them. I have them listed in my shop, and have downloadable versions of my designs and tutorials available for purchase.

I have many favorite designs, but I suppose the one I love above all (for now) are my Two Tiny Hearts Dangle Earrings – inspired by Valentine’s Day. I love how lightweight they are, and that both hearts are visible when worn. I have created five pairs since working my first up – have to match each outfit I wear. Hehe.

I am really glad my aunt shared her passion with me, and that I can share it with others now.

Red dangle plastic canvas heart earrings


Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns had this to say:

The first craft I learned was embroidery from my grandmother. I don’t do much of that anymore, however I still have her old embroidery box and some old threads and buttons. I also have some old metal winders she used to organize her cottons.

These days I use embroidery cotton and blanket stitch to make the jewelry gift pouches which all of my jewelry comes packaged in… not exactly embroidery, but inspired by this early experience, as opposed to machine sewing the pouches, for example.


Upcycled Marble Choker


Jessica and Bryan King from FeathandKee replied:

So the earliest thing that I remember is my grandmother doing the hook and loop kits – I guess that is what they are called. She taught me how to do those. Very close to that time, my great-grandmother taught me how to sew by hand – vital skill! Yes, this is something that I am still doing.

Fluttery Black Flower Headband

Treasury Challenge Winner November – BeadsandThreadsbyAmy

Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings

On Etsy many shop owners curate treasuries. A treasury is a curated shop gallery comprised of 16 items from any shop. Most of the time they are done by theme, color or anything you can imagine.

The ChristmasInJuly team has challenges to create treasuries centered on themes of our choosing. We then pick a winner based on views, creativity and the like.

The winner of the November challenge was CIJ Leader Amy Spock of BeadsandThreadsbyAmy.

She is an outgoing, fun type who loves embroidery and beading.

I sat down and asked her how she got started on Etsy and she said:

I started on Etsy in March 2013. I originally started on Ebay, but stumbled upon Etsy as a way to sell in a venue specializing in handmade and vintage. When I started, I listed the oodles of beaded Christmas ornament skirts I have made over the years. Gradually, I added embroidery items to my shop.


I wondered how did she learn her craft and she told me:

My friend Nancy taught me how to bead. Quickly, I found my favorite thing to bead is the ornament skirts. No two ever turn out the same. I enjoy mixing different colors and trying conventional and non-conventional color combinations.

My friend Velda dragged me, kicking and screaming, to a quilting class. I say kicking and screaming because I have never, much to my mother’s dismay, been able to sew a straight line with a sewing machine. I was hooked! I quickly had several quilts pieced together, and purchased a new machine with an embroidery unit. Hence, the embroidery side of my shop was born. I can’t figure out how to part with any of my quilts, as it takes me weeks and weeks to complete them (and I still dread binding them!). I can, however, sew in a straight line (well, with the quilting foot on, anyway!)


Seeing as how she has a good many sales, I was curious how social media helped her sell:

I get about the same number of views from Pinterest and from Facebook. I work on Pinterest, posting things from my shop and other’s shops, about once a month. I post to Facebook bi-weekly, and try to include postings other than just new items to my shop. I have found success posting treasuries, cleaning tips, and pet care tips on Facebook.

In order to sell you must have an inspiring work space right?

My craft space, at the moment, is still an absolute disaster from the holiday rush. However, it is in the sunniest room in the house. I have decorated it with pictures that inspire me. When it is all organized and put away, all the colors of thread on my thread rack are also inspiring to me.


I asked what new ideas or projects she had in the works:

I just returned from Joann’s and purchased some adorable material to make Personalized Travel Pet Beds. I am hoping to work on one next week, and get it listed in the next couple of weeks. I am also working on a small monogrammed purse to list, though that project is taking some time to get just right. I also have some new patterns for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Mother’s Day, as well.

I cannot wait to see what Amy comes up with next!