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

Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my own unique creative projects. I'm six years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sidelined by Sorrow

2016 was a roller coaster year for our family. We had a huge blast of sadness when my dear sister died after a brief but fierce battle with cancer.

Eff cancer.

When she knew her time was short she gathered all of us together in small groups 
and told us she loved us.

She also asked that we love each other.

Well, of course we love each other, you might say, but she said,
"Love harder."

Because at the end she reminded us that love is the end all and be all of our years here on God's earth.
And if there is anything we could do to improve our lives, then loving more and loving well and loving better is the answer.

So here you go, Leetle Seestar. 

Losing you has done a number on my heart.
 Like an illegal tackle after the ref's whistle in football, grief is a shock 
and a blast and a black hole and it is just not fair.

But there it is.

I'm slowly reclaiming life after being lost for months in a cave of shadows.
Getting back to blogging.
Getting back to painting.
Getting back to writing.
Getting back to creating the projects which spark in my head.

But also, loving harder.
It's what my sister would want.

Life turns on a dime, folks. 
While losing her greyed my days I found that slowly
sunshine was coming back to my soul.

Because the family welcomed a new baby girl in November.

And now we'll have a new grand baby this summer.

Count your blessings.
And Love Harder.

Big Nancy Love, my people.


Keepin' It Straight Gallery Wall Project

I have always had a family photo gallery wall and I figured after four years in this house it 
was time to JUST DO IT. 

If you go to Pinterest or Google images or anywhere online looking for inspiration you could get bogged down with the overwhelming creativity and ideas. Trust me on this.

I know from experience that it is almost impossible to keep all the framed photos on a gallery wall straight. So frustrating! But we came up with this design a few years ago and we've been doing it this way ever since.

So we keep it simple and with a bare bones budget, really CHEAP. 

Like, less than $18 cheap.

Here's one end of our project. It's a GOOD start!

For this really simple gallery wall I chose three - 1" x 3" x 8' molding boards for $2 each. They are made of a lightweight wood, usually pine or poplar. It is important that you peer down the long side and make sure the boards you pick are STRAIGHT. Turn them over and look at them from all angles. This will make your project much much simpler, trust me on this. 

Then I had the lumber guy cut them off at 5', so I now had six pieces. Three five footers and three that were three foot long. The store will cut your lumber for free!

Just as important as the straight boards are the bulls eye  rosette blocks I got for each seam. They look just like what they are called and they are IMPORTANT to give your project visual interest and style.

I paid less than $2 apiece for the 6 blocks we needed. What a deal!

I painted all the boards and bulls eye blocks white before we put them up. I know in the photos they look unpainted but they are not.

We laid out our shelves based on the basic framed photo sizes we were using plus we had to work around a smoke detector and the furnace thermostat/controls. Measure twice and make sure your marks are accurate because now the fun stuff starts!

Use a level. Use a level. USE A LEVEL. I cannot emphasize this enough. Do it.

We used wood glue and our handy dandy favorite brad nailer to attach the boards to the wall. Easy. Simple. Accurate. And the nail gun makes a really satisfying 'kachunk' sound.

Kachunk! Yes, you can have a turn. 

You can also use regular nails or screws and just fill in any holes with wood filler when you're done.

And here you see how the bulls eye blocks give our gallery wall just a bit of punch and visual style. We staggered the joints on each run for some interest. And even though they look like plain wood here, the blocks and boards are all painted. Though if you choose to leave them plain or even paint them a fun color, that is up to you on your own wall!

Look how STRAIGHT everything is. Gotta love it!

This was much easier than it sounds and it looks GREAT.

Let's here it for late but finished projects!!

Shabby Chic Basket Ornaments

I made these miniature shabby chic Christmas ornaments this year and they came out so pretty!

Guess what I used to make the little baskets?

Toilet paper rolls!!

Yup. These mini basket ornies came from these plain old tubes!

Yes, I sprayed these tubes with a soap and bleach solution and let them dry before I used them.

I crashed my stash for all kinds of smalls and neat laces and trims for this project. If you are anything like me you have LOADS of little items that would be the right size for these little ornaments.

Cut each tube in half and hot glue the bottom edge shut. I use a bulldog clamp to hold the edges together while it cools.

Use your adhesive of choice to cover the tube with wrapping paper, fabric or what have you. I am using Dollar Store wrapping paper with scrap lace around the top. Use a tiny hole punch on each side of the top. Cut a bit of florist or craft wire about 8 to 10 inches long and wrap it around a pencil, paintbrush handle or small dowel to make curls. Attach to your basket at each side.

I hot glued fiberfill inside so all the decor items would perch right at the top of the basket. You could also use crumpled tissue. Now for some fun!!

Using hot glue, start embellishing your little basket. I am no minimalist, so you can see I like to stuff them FULL.

Such a fun project! 

These are pretty on the tree, or as gift toppers or even small gifts for a group.

PLUS, you can make them in any theme!

I've made these for Christmas gifts and for my Etsy shop. Think of the possibilities for St. Valentine's Day, or a baby shower, or a themed birthday.

So many neat ideas, I want to try them ALL.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Make Big Acorns For Fall

You will never guess what these BIG acorns were before.

Ready? Oversize plastic Easter eggs from the Dollar Store!

When I saw this Pin way back in 2012, I knew I had to make them.

Following the Pin to its source I saw that the blogger used plastic Easter eggs! This is my kind of creative recycling: making something clever out of something else.

I decided to use these oversize Dollar Store eggs from my stash.
 First, I painted them brown with craft paint.

 I hot glued the eggs closed then wrapped them in burlap scraps. I pleated the burlap around the egg and used hot glue all the way around to secure it. Then I deconstructed a pine cone and used it for the top and added a twig stem. Cute!

But that first one  didn't look quite right to me, so I tried this....

I used the two rounded ends and glued them together. 
Already this looks more like a natural acorn shape.
Instead of the pine cone petals, I used hemp garden twine and hot glue.

Hemp twine hot glued round and round the top until I had the plump acorn look I wanted. 
A little twig adds to the finished acorn.

By George, I think I've got it!

You could also use the regular size plastic eggs but I wanted BIIIIG acorns, so I used the big ones.

Now I'm remembering those HUGE eggs for panty hose and wondering where I can get some. Now THAT would be a statement acorn. LOL!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Make Spooky Floaty Bats for Halloween Decor

I wanted to make black bats that would float and drift around in the October breezes but I couldn't figure out how to hang them. Then I got the idea to put them on curly wires instead!

I LOVE how they came out!

I found that I had these black foam meat trays in my stash. 
After running them through the dishwasher, I knew I 
could use them for something and they were perfect
 for these flighty bats.

I drew a simple pattern and cut them out with a razor knife.

We cut long lengths of sturdy wire and curled them around a broom handle
 then wrapped one end around a foam bat shape.

We stuck them into our deck planters to see how they looked in the wind. 
We were so pleased when even the slightest breeze made them turn and twist and shiver!

So we made more and attached them to our Halloween archway.

They look great!

Not only were they fun and easy to make, but they are 100% weatherproof 
and easy to store for next year. 

That's a win win in my book!

Halloween Decor From Video Tape and Trash Bags

Here is my Halloween porch, chock full of fun and CHEAP decor ideas.
 I have a few pieces I keep from year to year, like the pumpkin lights 
and the painted signs, but most of my 
Halloween look is made out of old VCR tapes and trash bags.

Dollar Store, here I come!

The big fat orange pumpkins are Halloween trash bags filled with crumpled newspaper. So easy to do  and so easy to store. But they aren't the real surprise here.

These spooky flyaway torn "curtains" are the most fun part of this decor,
 and I made them from black trash bags cut to open all the seams
 then cut in strips for creepy flyaway curtains.

The Welding Man set up a simple archway with scrap lumber 
and I stapled lots of black plastic strips all over. 
My grandkids made the sign out of twigs and an old board.

I LOVE how they look when the wind blows!

Then we took a couple of old VCR tapes and stripped them loose from their cases so we could do THIS!

You'll need at least one more person to make this giant web 
and the results are so worth it!

We did the horizontal stringers first then wrapped 
the vertical stringers last. 
We wrapped each joint with black electrical tape and
 stood back for the finishing touch.

Every giant spider web needs a giant spider.

We filled two black trash bags with more crumpled newspaper then wired them
 in place on our garden arch. We attached long pieces of strong wire
 and bent them into leg shapes then wrapped them with strips
 of black plastic and electrical tape.

The eyes and fangs are red felt.

So cool!

On the left side of the photo you can see the start of another huge spider web.
We had fun doing this and it was so easy and 

On another post I'll show how I made the easy and cheap but 
still creepy and floaty black bats. 
I'll link it up right here.....

Monday, September 26, 2016

Is That Chair Leather? No, It's Painted Fabric!!

This chair really looks like fine red leather. But it's not.

I painted the upholstery on this chair then sanded it to make it into this beautiful red piece that feels soft as suede and totally perks up my living room.

Here she is at the start. The local St. Vincent store had two of these chairs but I only needed one. I am now KICKING MYSELF for not buying both!

The frame and fabric were in excellent condition. Very tight joints, comfortable seat. I figured I could re upholster it or...as my Pinterest board says, 

Paint That Chair!

I won't do a tutorial since the DIY info is all over the web. Literally....videos, Martha Stewart, Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV, Hometalk!

I decided to use acrylic paint in bright red and liquid textile medium. I mixed two parts paint to one part textile medium. I used a full 8 ounce bottle of craft paint and 4 ounces of the textile medium and mixed them well.

Then I sprayed the fabric with water in a spray bottle (mixed with a bit of fabric softener). I dampened each area just before I painted it using chip brushes. I also masked the wooden areas.
I painted on my back deck on a 90 degree day. Excellent light and weather for painting! But I have to tell you ladies, even after multiple coats I was feeling very very iffy on this project.

Very iffy. 

I was already calculating if I had enough red fabric in my stash to go ahead and re upholster this chair, I was very undecided about the appearance.

And then after three coats the fabric started looking pretty good. 
Lovely color retention, really good texture of the original woven pattern and 
I was using less and less paint for each layer. 

Of course, I let each coat dry for an hour in the hot sun before adding the next coat.

Urg. Here's what I used. 

I know most blogs have neat photos and a concise list of brand name products plus links for purchasing, but I was ready to PAINT so I just dove right in. 

I didn't buy anything since I already had it all in my stash.


Here's the painted and sanded fabric up close. 
It looks just like leather and after sanding it feels like a very soft and sumptuous suede. 

I am totally pleased with the way this project turned out!

I cleaned the wood with Murphy's Oil Soap then polished
 it up with Olde English lemon oil polish.

And the paint does NOT rub off.
Even if you are wearing white jeans as a test.

This was totally worth the time and money to get myself
 a bright and comfy chair for our living room.

Would I do it again? YES!