Hey, it's what I do! Welcome to my creative arts blog!

Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my creativity and DIY projects. I'm four years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

DIY Pretty Lace Pumpkins


These are not your ordinary plain orange pumpkins. Nope. They are covered with black lace! Here's the simple DIY for these pretty gourds and they are also cheap to make. 

Win win!


Whenever I find black lace remnants or lace on sale, I grab it. I also get black lace clothing at yard sales and thrift stores and recycle it. This lace was $2 a yard at Walmart a while back and this project took less than half a yard left from a different project. 


This project couldn't be easier. Lay your contrast fabric over the black lace and cut out a long rectangle  about 8" wide by 20" long.  I cut out both layers at the same time.


Using the longest stitch and loose tension on your sewing machine, stitch the two pieces together at the top and bottom of the long sides. Turning the lace to the inside, sew the two short sides together. You now have a tube of material with long stitches at the top and bottom. You can also sew this by hand if a machine isn't handy.


Thread a long sewing needle with strong black thread, like quilting or crochet thread.  Gather one stitched side of your pumpkin and pull the stitches tight. Use the needle and thread to sew the gathered end tight and secure the gathering with a couple of good knots. 

Here's a neat tip....stuff these little pumpkins with a handful of crumpled up plastic shopping bags. Most of us have dozens of the things and they are perfect for a poufy filler for these pretty pumpkins.



Make sure your needle has a long piece of string and tie a big knot at the end. Stick it right through the middle of the gathers of your stuffed pumpkin and out the other side. Make a big loop around the pumpkin and draw it up til your pumpkin squishes down and poofs out. Draw it tight and tie it in a knot. Do this five or six times and adjust your big loop around each section of your pumpkin for a pleasingly plump effect.

Voila! Fat, lacy pumpkin!


Hot glue a stubby twig or even a cinnamon stick in the middle of the gathers and add silk leaves (these are from the Dollar Store). If you wish you can also give it a light touch of glittery spray for a bit more gleam.


I LOVE how these come out! And you can also make pumpkins with no lace just by using your choice of fabrics. I made the white pumpkin at the top left using muslin and twine. And of course, I stuffed it full with plastic shopping bags!

For a neat look, why not layer white lace over burlap for some rustic chic pumpkins? Or black lace over purple fabric, or mustard gold. How pretty that would be? Now I have to make some!





Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pier 1 Napkin to Fab Pillow DIY



I LOVE the look of script on fabric but I haven't found any that is just right, so this fabric napkin at Pier 1 was perfect! Alas, it was the last one. But at $4.95 for a generous 20" square napkin with pretty black crocheted edging, it was a real find!




As you can see, the writing is wonderfully done with the theme of being thankful. 


I hemmed a muslin square all the way around then
carefully sewed it to the napkin so the pretty edging would show.


And here SHE is!

I crashed my stash for a down pillow in just the right size then put the cover on it.

LOVE IT!


She is relaxing now with her pillow family on my bed. This is where I put all my pillow cover designs to see if they fit with my whole eclectic collection decor theme and are worthy of my Etsy shop. I really am pleased with this project! She was quick and easy and low cost and fits in perfectly with her siblings.




Friday, September 19, 2014

Super Simple Shivery Paper Halloween Bats


Each year when I decorate by black tree branches for Halloween, I always make sure to add these tiny paper bats to the display.


They are perfect for an indoor display at Halloween time. They are so light that they swing and sway with the slightest passage of air as you walk by. Such fun!

And they couldn't be simpler to make.

What you will need is black crepe paper and very thin florist wire.



Cut your paper bats from folded over crepe paper so both sides are identical. Curl a 6"-8" length of florist wire around a pencil and with a small dab of hot glue attach one end to the back side of your paper bat.  Stretch the wire out slightly to wrap it around the tree branch, wreath or arrangement then stretch it out a bit more to position your bat. The more you stretch out the wire the more shivery the bat will be! Blow on your tiny bat and see it dance and wiggle!

I grouped mine 3 at a time for this display. I LOVE the way they came out. This would be a fun kids' craft and your could go all out, making LOTS of these bats for your house. Crepe paper is recommended since it is so light. Copy paper or cardstock is too heavy.

Try it out and see how easy but neat these bats look in your holiday house!

Quick Change Wreath Decor

I had this idea to make wreath decor that was easy to change out on different kinds of wreaths and didn't require loads and loads of hot glue to hold them on.

Here's what I came up with.


I crashed my stash and found all kinds of colorful, glittery Autumn leaves, berries and twigs. Most of them are from the Dollar Store. That's a good start!



I wanted the backing to be sturdy enough to hold all the elements but also lightweight and thin enough so the design would blend with the types of wreaths I want to decorate. The Mountain Dew box was just the right weight. I hot glued all the leaves and rosettes and berries in place on the front then attached florist wire through several holes in the cardboard on the back. 



Voila! A pretty arch of autumn colors and elements ready to go on a wreath form. I added the glittered coppery butterfly for a perfect pop of shine.


Here it is on my coffee filter wreath. It looks great! I made the wreath with white coffee filters hot glued to a basic twig wreath. Even unadorned it is pretty but this added flair is just gorgeous!




And here is the same spray on a burlap wreath I made. Presto, change-o in just a few seconds! Wow, this is working out better than I'd hoped! I made the burlap wreath using hot glue on a straw wreath form. The mix of the plain burlap and the colorful arrangement really pops!


And here is a spray on a plain old twig wreath. The fancy and the plain really look good together. Again, it took mere seconds to switch from one wreath to another!


And here it is on a tan coffee filter wreath that I made using a Dollar Store hula hoop as a base. I really LOVE how this looks all together! Not only does it look good it is super simple to change over from one wreath to another. I think it would even look good over a round mirror for a neat accent!

I'm thinking of doing another arrangement with black and purple spray painted leaves for Halloween and then, of course, another one for Christmas. Those will both be fun projects, I'm looking forward to them!

Come link up at these parties and join the fun.






Painted Decor Balls For My Coffee Table

I wrote previously about repainting my vintage/ancient 80s coffee table to coordinate with the new color scheme in my living room. Namely, the addition of turquoise blue. Here's the link....



I knew I wanted something something to put on the newly painted table to draw the eye. After checking out my stash and using a bit of paint I made some new decor for my living room, for FREE! 


I have lots of stuff stored away for projects and I had these resin decor balls in a box. I got them at a thrift store but I still see new ones for sale at Michael's, Ross, Pier 1 and other stores. They were originally a combo of bronze, brown and gold, not what I wanted at all.



Oops! Got a little ahead of the camera action there! I brushed on a scant layer of Apple Barrel acrylic paint in turquoise for this pair.


I totally adore the way the color picks out the detail in these decor balls! I painted the last ball (which was mostly antiqued gold) with Apple Barrel bright red. Then I wiped off some of the color on all three balls while the paint was still wet. This gave me the vintage vibe I was going for.



And last, to make them look even more aged, I finished them with a top coat of Poly Shades in classic oak. This is a stain and sealer in one and it adds just the right amber glow to these decor balls. Use this in a well ventilated space per the label instructions!


 I always buy footed wooden bowls whenever I find them at thrift stores or yard sales, so I knew I had this perfect container for my new old decor balls. I dry brushed the wood with more turquoise paint and wiped it off for a vintage look. Then I sealed it with the Polyshades. I LOVE how it makes the painted piece look instantly old!
Although it would be nice to go out and spend lots of dollars to get a new look in my home, I usually end up doing just this...changing up my decor with paint and stain and things I already have. And the best part? I can do it again and again and it is FREE!


 Ooooh aaaaah!

If I ever decide to go all white with my decor I know I can redo this table and these balls for a bit of decor punch. I love that! Join me at these fun linky parties. You'll find some very cool things!

                            http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/2014/09/salvaged-old-signs.html

Colorful Painted Coffee Table Project

Several years ago when I slipcovered our long couch in chocolate brown, I painted the top of our coffee table to tie together all the colors in the room...namely reds, golds, browns and greens. First I used Kilz primer on the top then painted an abstract design with craft paint. I love that pop of color in our livingroom!

This table was a $7 auction find decades ago and it has served us very very well.



Here is the original cubist abstract design. After painting the colorful top and dry brushing with burnt umber I aged it with walnut Polyshades, which is a stain and sealer in one. It gave the colors just the right vintage patina that I was aiming for.


 In our new home the brown couch and some of the artwork has remained and I've added turquoise blue to my living room mix. I knew it was time to update that coffee table!

I carefully sanded then painted every shape that was formerly green with Apple Barrel turquoise. Then I aged each piece with burnt umber paint and finished it off with walnut Polyshades.


I aged it a bit more to tone down the turquoise and here's how it looks now.


The blues still need further aging but I love how it looks with the red and blue pillows on the couch!


Of course I wanted some turquoise and red decor for the "new" coffee table. I'll post about that right here....

http://makethebestofthings.blogspot.com/2014/09/painted-decor-balls-for-my-coffee-table.html

And I'll be joining these linky parties and sharing. Come and visit!

http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/2014/09/salvaged-old-signs.html

Make a Grungy Primitive Pumpkin for Halloween

 I make almost all the accessories for my Halloween witch dolls and their pumpkins are no exception. I cannot find exactly the right primitive looking Jack o' Lanterns for my projects so I make them. 

Say what?



Yup, this grungy little guy is handmade. All it takes is a styrofoam ball, tissue paper, mod podge or white glue, craft paint and a stick for the stem. Here is how!



Start with a round styro ball. Smoosh it down with slow, even pressure to make slight flat spots on top and bottom. Then use the tip of a skewer or skinny paint brush to score in some seams.


Use the tip of a craft knife, x acto blade or even a steak knife to cut the eyes, nose and mouth holes.


Coat the whole ball with mod podge or white glue. Stick it on a skewer or the handle of a paint brush for the next part.


Tear your tissue paper in small pieces, less than 1" square. While the pumpkin is still wet lay the paper pieces carefully over the whole ball, using a soft skinny paint brush to gently coax it into all the crevices. This smooths out the surface so your pumpkins looks pumpkiny and not styrofoamy. 

;o)



After the tissue layer is dry paint your pumpkin with bright orange craft paint.


 Once the first layer of paint is dry, go over all your crevices and holes with a q tip dipped in brown paint. Get it in there and don't worry about being neat about it because the next thing you are going to do is use a clean q tip to remove the excess brown paint. The brown paint in all the crevices will make your carving details POP.




Poke a hole in the top and hot glue a short stick in for a stem.



Next, use another q tip with black paint and get it deep into your carved face crevices. See how delightfully prim and creepy this makes your pumpkin look? 


I hot glued a tiny silk leaf to the stem and put him in a miniature basket. I LOVE it!

You can make this prim pumpkin out of bigger styrofoam balls, too. Next I will try to make some primitive grungy skulls out of egg shaped styrofoam. That should be fun!

 This would be a fun craft for kids with proper supervision. The  neat thing about primitive pumpkins is that they never have to look perfect. Have fun with it!