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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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mossy Decor Balls

I wanted something fresh and natural looking for my living room and I knew I wanted to incorporate the bright green color of moss with weathered wood and stones. Unfortunately, the natural moss on our hillside is already turning brown and rusty, so I got to thinking how much I loved the color and texture of the Dollar Store moss rocks I had used before. I had looked at their sheet moss and it was too gray and drab for me. I want emerald mossy green!


I gathered the moss rocks I had on hand and 3 different sizes of plastic Christmas balls. After spray painting two a nice brown and leaving the other it's original silver, I planned to slice the curvy parts of the moss rocks off so I would have a bunch of moss covered shapes to hot glue to the balls. Eww, I did not like it! It looked dumb! So I was talking to my visiting teen age grandson about this and he suggested peeling the moss off the styrofoam "rocks." Who knew the moss peeled off???? He proceeded to show me.



I told him he was a genius and he had saved my project! As you can see the moss peels off in irregular pieces, but you want these shapes for the best results. I used a razor knife to start the process but the moss peels off surprising easily. And if a bit of the white styrofoam sticks to it, it is okay, because you do not want the balls to be totally smooth anyway.

I just used hot glue and started covering the balls. I put the glue on the ball a small area at a time and laid the moss on top, and also the other way, with the glue on the moss instead. It works equally well as long as you have your moss pieces handy because hot glue dries pretty quickly. If it does dry before you get the moss totally stuck it is okay, just add more glue. The extra layer of glue and some of the stuck on styrofoam makes the ball less "bally" and more like a natural shape you might actually find in nature. That is, not a perfect round and a bit lumpy.


Save even your smallest scraps of moss to fill in and cover the edges where they are too straight. You do not want this to look like a bad toupee, but a natural, moss covered surface. Be sure to glue any edges that are sticking up and smooth your joints down. Any hot glue strings that are left on the ball can be readily melted away with your hair dryer once you are done.


I arranged them in my wooden bowl which usually holds all our electronics remotes. (We have SIX!!!! What the heck??!? Ahem. The remotes are now in a basket to the side.) I added more Dollar Store finds, like the polished rocks and pretty gravel, plus a chunk of really interesting driftwood and my favorite feather and paper dragonfly. With just a few little mini spruce cones, this little display is perfect.


It now resides on my painted coffee table (which was a $7 auction find from 28 years ago!!! It is also another blog post!) and it just makes me happy to look at it. I love the brilliant green "moss" and the wood grain of the bowl and grey texture of the driftwood and the polished stones....it makes me smile. And the best thing? When I got done with it and was taking my pictures, our grandson took a look at it and said, "That looks cool, Gramma!" High praise indeed coming from a teenager!!

It took 3 bags of Dollar Store moss rocks to do this project so that is certainly affordable. I already had the 3 different Christmas balls on hand, plus the rocks and gravel. If you actually bought what you needed just to make the 3 balls you could certainly do them for under $6 and end up with a very fresh accent for your summertime home. How about some Dollar Store wiffle balls mossified and stacked in a cloche or glass hurricane? I am wondering how this would work on a couple of birdhouses for a bit of cool, mossy goodness? Hmmmm.

I'm linking up to the parties on my sidebar, please visit and see all the fantastic projects listed there! Thanks for coming by and leave a comment, if you will. I love and read them all. And check out my other posts, you never know what you will find!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hungry hummingbirds don't care


Lovin' the white in my red kitchen

After repainting the kitchen cabinets red and antiquing them to cover a multitude of sins, I've been very pleased with the bright color but I'm toning it down with the addition of lots of white ironstone in this end cabinet. I love the way the white just stands out against all the red. I've put just the few things that I have on there so far.....


I thinned my collection of tea pots WAY DOWN and only kept the pots that pleased me or were special gifts. I still have alot of teapots! But the big fat white one is my favorite, when the family is here we will use this big 6 cup pot for a nice brew. And then there's the dark brown crockery "Brown Betty" from England on the right on the top shelf, sent to me one Christmas by my sister. Love the Betty pots, they are classics!


Still have a ways to go arranging things and getting them just right. The blue double decker pot is from my youngest daughter, she of my framed looped potholder post fame!

I like the white ironstone alot. I like the red distressed shelving alot. But I can see a problem right now. I DON"T HAVE ENOUGH WHITE IRONSTONE! I shall have to remedy that forthwith by taking many trips to thrift stores and yard sales. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it and that lucky person is ME!

I'll be linking to White Wednesday and Rednesday. Their buttons are on my sidebar. Come visit and enjoy all the great projects!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jazzing up glass vases



Here's a group of the house-shopped things I'm putting together in my redone teal and chocolate brown bedroom. Can you guess which these vases started out looking completely different? That would be the pair of textured vases flanking the dark brown candle holder thingy with a nest on top. Yeah, those two. Because when I got them from the thrift store they were just plan old everyday glass vases which you can also get at the Dollar Store. I got mine for .50 apiece. Yeah, I am so cheap. Budget minded. Thrifty. Stingy with a buck. ; 0 )


So I started with a pair of perfectly serviceable standard glass cylinder vases. A classic style. Very clean and utilitarian. And.... kind of boring and I wanted something with a bit more pizazz in my remade bedroom and as usual, I couldn't leave well enough alone.


Close up of the roll of textured, paintable wall paper which was a great deal at $3 from the Goodwill. All together now, we love that thrift store shopping!




I Mod Podged the paper to the vase and clipped the top and bottom edges to fold over neatly.



Then I matched my paint to my comforter color and went to town. Pretty but a bit too teal, I think. I wanted the texture to show a bit more, also.



Umm, burnt umber brushed over the top. I like it better already, but now it's a bit too brown and strong....


Ah, better yet. Rubbed off the excess paint with a gentle touch and it really does look more like what I wanted. Sort of a textured, vintage worked leather look with lots of great contrast. I let them dry, and sealed with some clear acrylic and Voila!



A pair of vases with the rugged look of vintage worked leather that goes really really well with the stuff I've pulled together. Hmmm, they look streaky in the pic but they aren't in real life. I love the way they came out and now I spy a Pirouette cookie tin in the kitchen that is just the right shape and size to make this vase pair into triplets! It's a little taller and will be a good addition..but maybe I'll paint it in reverse, chocolate brown with teal accents? I just can't leave well enough alone, can I?

Thanks for visiting me. I'll be linking to the fun parties in my sidebar this week, join me there for some great creative projects!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Childhood loop potholders


This is a classic childhood toy, I know I had one way back when (way, WAY back when) and my kids did too. My youngest daughter really went to town with hers and made everyone in the family some fancy, shmancy pot holders.




I never used my set but kept them put away for years. My youngest is now 24 years old (how in the world did that HAPPEN?) and I found these when I de cluttered the kitchen drawers. So of course I had to do something with them and display them in my newly RED kitchen because they matched so perfectly.




Luckily, I had this black and red matte and black frame from a thrift store trip and even tho the matte is wider on one side than the other, I knew it was perfect for this little project. I like it. I like it alot!



And just to give the weaver her due, I posted a little label for all to see. It is such a cheery piece that has really given that narrow bit of wall space a good brightening up. And as you can see....





The colors are perfect for my red kitchen! The red with dark distressing kindly covers up a multitude of cabinet sins and the color really pops. It's just as bright and cheery as Katy's potholders, and we'll keep it this way for awhile.

I'm linking up to the fun blog parties listed on my sidebar, including a couple of new ones. Please come visit and see all the cool projects. I'm sure you'll be inspired!



Sunday, May 16, 2010

3 D effect with hot glue


I've been kicking this idea around in my head for awhile and I just decided to do it. How can I get a dimensional, 3 D image on a vase, jar, box or even a canvas? I considered cutting shapes out of foam and gluing them on, or gluing on store bought appliques or even jewelry charms. But all of those require a bit more effort or money and I knew there was a simpler way. So here's what I came up with.....

The standard thrift store cheap glass vase. The sticker on the bottom says fifty cents, so it was a bargain. Now for my design....




Aha! It's my "leaving the house and my hair is a mess" hat. I got the pretty applique for $1 and it makes it look less like my "bad hair day" hat and more like a stylish statement. That's what I tell myself, anyway. Lol! So, I love the look of the fleur de lis and went for it....


I drew a symmetrical design on paper, folded it up til it was positioned correctly and taped it in place on the inside....


...and filled in the shape with hot glue. I stayed inside the lines but was a bit messy filling it in. I knew I could trim the edges with a razor cutter if I wanted to, and the next part of my project would minimize the messy appearance of the glue. Trust me on this, the finished deal is awesome!




Crumple up about 1/2 sheet of tissue paper. You could use other types of paper but the tissue is the best for this technique. Tear it into pieces less than 3" x 3".




Now Mod Podge those babies on the outside of your vase, putting the MP on the vase only, since the tissue paper is fragile and tears very easily. Just lay the tissue gently on the shape and pat it with a fingertip. If your finger gets sticky, switch to another finger and continue patting gently. Once the paper is sticking pretty good take a small, soft brush and more MP and gently ease the paper into all the crevices of your design. Gently, ladies, gently. BUT, if you do end up tearing the tissue here and there, it's OKAY!! This technique is very forgiving of mess ups. Trust me on this.
Smooth the torn edges with your soft brush and cover any tears with small pieces of torn tissue. Once they are Mod Podged they will disappear. Then MP the edges of the paper down over the bottom and up over the lip for a smooth appearance. Let it dry thoroughly.



Now paint your project the background color. I chose Antique White by Plaid which is a bit of a buttermilk white. By the way, can you see the little smiley face guy with a mustache on the vase? Curvy eyebrows, curly mustache? Little goatee on his chin? Come on, tell me you see him! He looks a little French to me. I'm not kidding, there really is a smiling guy there. Lol! It's okay if you can't see him, I KNOW he's there. ; 0 )


Once the paint is dry on the smiling guy fleur de lis vase, take a soft brush and stroke just a bit of your accent color on there. I used black. You may want to use burnt umber or even a color to match your decor, like blue or even pink. Make sure your brush is almost dry, blot the paint out til it is barely there before brushing it on your project. It is better to have too little than too much, BUT, if you do get too much on there it is fixable. Trust me on this. Let the paint dry then fix your dark spots with the lighter color, let it dry and dry brush again with the darker color. Seal it with clear acrylic spray. See how the roughness of the hot glue and the texture of the tissue really give this a rustic, vintage feel? As my dad the engineer always said, "If you can't make it look perfect, then emphasize the imperfection."

This is the first time I tried this technique and I am jazzed at the way it came out! The hot glue tissue paper decoupage idea worked and it came out just as I hoped! Don't you love when that happens? I'm going to try it on different surfaces and see how it looks and I'm already thinking some kind of swirly damask design on another vase and maybe some dots and circles....!

WARNING-your vase or glassware will NOT be dishwasher safe. Also, do not submerge it in soapy water. Just dust it with a cloth. The inside is still safe to hold water since the technique is all on the outside, so your vase is fine to hold real flowers. Submerging the finished project will "lift" all your hard work right off.

I'm so glad you're visiting me here, please leave a comment if you would. I'll be linking up to the fun blog parties in my sidebar, come see all the great projects posted there!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I love a man who welds

Or maybe I should put that a different way.....I love a man, and he welds!! My husband has mad blue collar skills and has always been a hands on kind of guy so I've been the very very lucky person he makes things for. Hey, he makes things for other people, too, but I get the best of things on this deal.

He built this wedding arch which we used for the centerpiece of my sister's wedding. It has lovely scrolled heart designs up both sides. Now it stands at the bottom of our stairs to support this climbing rose.


He also built custom iron railings for our decks and stairs. He used to do this for a living, so this was easy peasy for him. I looked around our yard and started making a list.....he just "loves" it when I get out my handy dandy spiral notebooks full of notes and drawings. Usually I have an idea, he tweaks it to make it work, I show him what is important to me, he shows me what he can do to incorporate that.....yeah, he loves to see me carrying that spiral notebook around the house!! Lol!


BTW. my grandson trimmed this ivy for us before it took over the entire walkway. Did you know that needlepoint ivy doesn't stay small and delicate? That it gets voracious like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors? Well, it's trimmed for now but it will be back. Feed me, Seymour!


I needed/wanted (you know how that goes) a large heart topiary frame for the ivy in this planter.....okay, done. Then I told him the middle looked empty and since he had that nifty plasma cutter in his shop could he cut out this fairy silhouette? Which I just happen to have right here in my hand blown up to full size and drawn on this handy dandy piece of poster board?

The catmint in this planter is nice and lush but I needed/wanted some way to layer another pot on top for a bit of height and prettiness. Now this plant stacker ring holds a gorgeous pot of pampered flowers every year. I like it. I like it alot!

This is a short obelisk he built for the honeysuckle which threatened to climb over the fence. It's gorgeous, one of my favorite pieces, but that honeysuckle is going to take over we think!




Here are some of the other trellises which will go in the tomato planters on the deck, when we plant them. We had frost last week so we're really holding back.


Now here's a design which I hoped would be the most gorgeous candle stand in the world. We figured out a design on paper for a design that spirals up almost four feet within a one foot square base. It came out exactly like we planned. I put 8 chunky candles on there and lit it up after dark. IT LOOKED WONDERFUL! And then, the wind blew the candles out. We live on the side of a mountain, so evening breezes are a fact of life. Okay, so here come the short glass hurricanes. Nope. Tall glass hurricanes.......nah, the wind must not like our candle holder! No matter what we did we couldn't keep the candles lit on this thing unless we moved it inside....but 8 chunky candles within a foot square base put off ALOT OF HEAT, which is not safe for 8 foot ceilings. So, smaller candles it is, when we use it inside. Sigh.

But here is what I've done with it when I'm not pouting about the candle fiasco....I made 8 glass marble balls out of Christmas balls and use them on that sucker. They look great all year long and are pretty and colorful display on the deck all spring and summer. And in the wintertime......



This is the picture we take and email out to the family when it snows here. A pretty and graphic depiction of cold winter weather.

And this? This is all his idea, my spiral notebook didn't come into play at all. It is a 5 foot square star which we light up for the holiday season plus special family occasions. It sits out on the huge boulder which juts out from our yard and can be seen for miles up the highway, which is about 200 feet below. The open design means the pesky wind can't push it around or over, and when it's lit up on a foggy, misty night it looks positively ethereal floating up there.

And in the wintertime, it is just flat out gorgeous lit up at night with the snow reflecting the twinkly lights. Makes me smile.

And so, my tale of my welding husband is almost through except for the next chapter. He's teaching/insisting on me learning to weld! I've only done it a little so far and I jump every time I strike a spark with the gun for his wire welder, but I've managed to weld two things together and also learned how to operate the plasma cutter. He says I have a knack for it.....but I also think he's got an idea of ending the "tyranny of the spiral notebook." What do you think? Would a husband be that devious? Nah.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Crackle finish with Elmer's Glue

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Thanks to Dollar Store Crafts for featuring this post!

For years whenever I wanted a cool crackled effect on my painted projects I used the very expensive (to me) crackle medium and even bought some paints that were supposed to crack on their own. Because of the cost I did not do anything large and I was sparing in what I did do. Well, thanks to this cheap alternative, I can go a bit crazy and experiment because I found out how to get the crackle effect with Elmer's Glue! It's alot less expensive than any size bottle of crackle medium and just before school it's downright CHEAP.
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I've been doing this for awhile but if you go to the Elmer's faq site, you can see the instructions towards the bottom of the page. Four sentences of instructions. Four sentences! I had more than four sentences worth of questions when I first did this!

http://www.elmers.com/diy/project/crackle-finish

On their page Elmer's used wood glue. I used Elmer's school glue or multi purpose glue for ALL of my projects and have always had great results. Even the Dollar Store no name glue works in a pinch. I have never had a "failure to crackle" with these glues.

UPDATE MARCH 30, 2012 - One reader has reported using the NEW Stronger Hold formula glue from Elmer's and that the crackle effect was not very good. She then found some Elmer's Glue All that did NOT say new formula on it and had great results. Loads of thanks to MichaLisa for her informative update!


So this tutorial, as requested, will have lots of pictures and step by steps so you can see what to expect. If you have used crackle medium you know the basics, they are the same, but you will use Elmer's glue. I used multi purpose but I see online that others have used the school glue and even generic school glues. For this project I used Elmer's Glue All.



I painted this piece of foam board with flat black acrylic. This is my base coat.




Here is the piece of painted foam board and a piece of painted muslin I have smeared with a generous amount of glue. I used alot so it would show up in the pictures. Let the glue dry til it is tacky, just a few minutes, then paint your contrasting base coat on top. Do NOT wait for the glue to dry all the way or the top coat will not crack. This is one point that you desire tackiness, lol! Let's call it sticky. Alrighty then. For these pics I did NOT thin the top coat of paint.


Try to use long strokes in one direction when painting your top coat. Do not go back and forth. Use long, steady strokes to cover your entire base coat with your top coat. Here is the foam board within a few minutes of painting the top coat of white paint. You can see the cracks forming pretty quickly, it is cool to watch!


Here is the top coat on the painted muslin.



And here is the painted muslin with the crackle effect. Since the muslin has a bit of give the cracks are smaller than the cracks on the wood board.



Here are two more pieces of painted muslin. The piece on the left is painted using turquoise and black. The black on the top left piece has been thinned slightly. The turquoise on the bottom left has not been thinned so it's cracks are not as delicate as the black. The big piece of fabric on the right has been undercoated with burnt umber and chocolate brown, then top coated with THINNED glue and THINNED white paint. The cracks are very small and delicate and hard to see in the pic. They are what I prefer for a doll face or something with alot of fine detail.

And here are some close ups of my sample boards. I tried to give you lots of pics so you can see what to expect when trying this technique.


Foam board with black base coat and white top coat. Glue is not thinned and either is the white paint. Board is about 2" x 4".






The wood boards in the following pics are about 1.5" tall x 5" wide.

Base coated brown on the left and black on the right. Glue is not thinned. Top coat of black on the left is thinned alot, brown top coat on right is thinned just a little.

Black base on the left, turquoise/teal base coat on the right. Glue is not thinned. Turquoise/teal top coat is not thinned. Black top coat on right is thinned alot, very watery.

I used gold Patio Paint for this board and it reacts differently to the glue. Perhaps because Patio Paint stretches a bit? The base coat on the left is P P gold with a watery black top coat. The base coat on the right is black with a Patio Paint top coat. It cracked, but not much. The glue was not thinned for this board.

I hope I've given you enough options that you can see what to expect with this technique. I would suggest experimenting a little til you find the combination that you like the best before using it on a final project. But have fun, it's easy to do and it's really really CHEAP!

Check my sidebar for parties I'll be joining this week. See you there!