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 three years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Patriotic urn planter and a mountain morning

We're finally getting warm weather here so I was able to get some flowers planted. This beat up urn planter now holds a ground cover rose, white alyssum, blue lobelia, one of my blue glass decor balls and my painted flag sign. This urn will look GORGEOUS once everything fluffs up and fills in. I'll post pics when it does. Here's a bunch of photos from this morning, including the hummingbirds at their breakfast. Enjoy!













Friday, June 25, 2010

Look who won my necklace giveaway!

Here is the giveaway prize - my sweet red velvet rosette necklace with a black fleur de lis and assorted buttons, charms, beads, lace and ribbon ruffles.

And the winner is Laura at http://iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com






With many thanks to Lauren at The Blog Guidebook for featuring my giveaway this week. It was alot of fun!



If you are not yet listed and hooked up with The Blog Guidebook, you should be. Hop on over and take a look, there's loads of fun info at this fabulous site!

Thrift store booty, yar!

I got to go thrifting and lunching with two of my girls this week, and we all got lots of loot. There is a trio of thrift/book stores in my little town and we found lots of pirate worthy booty. My other daughter had to work so we had to have enough fun to make it worth it. I think we made it! Sorry, Kelly, we didn't even try to be miserable. We'll make it up to you!




Blue glass! Gotta have it! Vintage looking silver tinsel garland, you bet I grabbed it. I am always looking for embellishments for my Santa dolls. A glass hanging candle jar, score! I'm going to dink around with some Walmart solar lights and make this a hanging solar lantern.


I keep a list of authors and books I'm looking for, and I found books by two of my favorites, John Connolly (a fine Irish lad who writes compellingly creepy thrillers) and Ed McBain (he's one of Stephen King's favorite authors. If you've read his 87th Precinct novels, you can see the seed for the Law & Order TV series and countless movies.) PLUS, a wonderfully written Irish memoir by Malachy McCourt, Frank McCourt's baby brother. Frank won the Pulitzer prize for his beautifully wrenching book, Angela's Ashes. Malachy is a gifted, sharp witted Irish charmer. And several in our family have read Joe Hill's first book, Heart Shaped Box. So I'm willing to check it out because they say it's creepy and edgy, NOT because he's Stephen King's son. Really.

And on top, for $3, is a heavy metal plant hanger welded of heavy rings and loops all ready to hang on my deck. My husband, The Welding Man, says he can't make it for that much. Score 2 for me! I picture a nice thick layer of moss and some impatiens and ivy. Yum, I mean, yar!


In back you see a lidded glass jar chock full of glass candle holders, including four glass stars. Really! It cost $2.99 total. Really! The two candlestick lamps were $5 for the pair and I already have lampshades. And in front you see the cutest most wonderful little wire tea pot planter. $1.99 at Goodwill. My girls and I, we LUV the Goodwill store.


I found this sad, forlorn, severely mistreated table for $3. It is very sturdy but very ugly. I have big plans for this sad table. She will be a beauty, just you wait. The three of us had lunch on a deck overlooking the river, and after shopping they each had bags o' booty to take home, including, no surprise, lots of books!

What a great day and a nice break from working on my endless to do list. And it's finally warm enough for a sweet, soft sunset here on the mountain as the sun makes all the new plant growth glow beautifully. Between shopping with my girls and the balmy, pretty weather, life is good here on the mountain. A pirate's life couldn't be better than this!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Silver Button Blingy Decor Ball


I posted this several months ago when I was a blog newby, so I'm posting it again for my new friends. This is the little display/vignette at the end of the counter when you come into the house from our deck. This is our buffet counter when the fam is here and the rest of time it is Stacking Central cuz it's so convenient. A red glass vase with twisty twigs, berries, flowers and dried eucalyptus, two milk glass pieces and yes, that's a chunky tequila bottle that I've embellished and filled with glass marbles.

So I've been trying to keep this counter cleaned off except for this little bit of decor and it's okay and pretty, but.......the silver ball in the milk glass urn just needed a little something, you know? It looked too much like an oversize plastic Christmas ball, which is exactly what it is. I decided to just do something fun and a little over the top. You know when you go to someone's house and you see a decor item that just draws you and you want to pick it up and handle it and you say, "What is it? This is so cool!" That's what I was shooting for.


I hied me away to my craft room and my store of silverish buttons. I opted for silver to match the ball and glued my first button on. Then it occurred to me that the ball was very slick and so were the buttons, so I roughed up the ball with some sandpaper to give the surface some tooth for the hot glue to grip.


I also pulled out some glass half marbles and some scrapbook gems to fill in any gaps.
















And I snipped the hasp thingies off the back of the buttons with my wire cutters. I don't have to show you how to do that, do I? Good.






So then it was me and the buttons and the ball and my glue gun. Put on a little smooth jazz on the CD player, some diet pop close at hand and I went to town. I threw in a few silvery stars and snowflakes and some beads......

Oooh, I like it. I like it alot! I used the little gems to fill in the spaces and some bottle caps for a bit of rustic charm and I had a good time! Ignore the hot glue strings, I dealt with them later. The hubs poked his head in and said it looked steampunky. Is that a word? I agree. It does look kind of steampunkerish.


And a couple hours later and a bit of scrubbing with a stiff toothbrush to take off the glue webs and I have this.....


So now comes the fun part, trying it out in different places in the house and seeing how it looks.



In the living room on the shelf right by my reading chair?



On the shelf in the hall bathroom, right below the mirror?



Or right there where it started, at the end of the counter when you come in the door? Yeah. That's the place. I love the way this came out! Don't you want to pick it up and turn it over and check it out? So do I! ; 0 )

Posting this over at the Fine Craft Guild linky party. She asked for a post with lots of good directions and this definitely qualifies!!

Fine Craft Guild

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The gift of imagination



Just before my teen grandson's birthday I got to dinking around with making him a washer necklace stamped with his name using the handy dandy metal letter set from Harbor Freight. He did not want it to be too slick so I grunged it up a bit with sandpaper and some inks and a bit of matte varnish. It looked like some kind of vintage artifact to me and the more I looked at it the more I thought that if it had actually been an artifact, it would have a story. Knowing that he was very interested in science and fantasy fiction and movies about time travel and high tech themes, I decided to dress this simple grungy washer necklace in a bit of fantasy to spark his imagination.






This chunky 3" square wooden box was perfect for a receptacle. It is roughly carved with an inlay of white ceramic in the top. I found this one at a thrift store. It is lined with blue velvet.



I embellished the inside with vintage clock faces and clock hands and chain and some tarnished brass bits.



I tea aged some paper and printed a "letter" to him then crumpled it up, aged the edges with ink and burned some parts. The letter says....

"I landed the flyer where they said there was an ancient sawmill but the trees were huge and close together. The only spot was on the big boulders that overlooked the road below. With the floaters we didn't need roads anymore and very little asphalt was left down by the creek. A chill wind blew and my shield shimmered in adjustment, retaining my body heat. I knew I couldn't get past the trees so I climbed out on the huge mossy rocks, the view stretching out for miles up two different valleys. A faint pattern of rust stained the emerald moss on the biggest rock where I stood. I squinted and made out a ragged star shape, obviously from a metal construct which had stood here long ago. Shiny metal glinted, a disc half buried in the bright spongy green. I picked it up. It was a washer, surprisingly intact. I used my thumbnail to scrape the surface and I saw the letters. There was a name stamped into the metal.

MATT.

It said MATT.

I thought of you."



I wrapped the washer necklace within the paper and folded it into a rough bundle tied with twine. My grandson was delighted and we still talk about the "myth" I started that day. For here is the rest of the story....

Here is the biggest of the mass of giant boulders that jut out of the mountainside where we live. The star rock is right in front of our house. My husband welded the star and strung it with lights and we light it for special occasions throughout the year. If you stand on the rock you can see for miles up two valleys, while down below is a two lane country road alongside a winding creek.
The trees around these boulders are not very big, yet. We also have a sawmill on our property, with which we cut many of the large timbers for our deck and lumber for a special bookcase. So you see, almost all the elements of the story are very familiar to Matt. And we still discuss the mysterious "origins" of the letter and its author. Here are some of our discussions....

We agree the "Matt" in the letter and necklace is him, not someone from the future.
Is the writer me(Gramma) or someone else who knows him from the future? Or a time traveller who is moving back and forth in time?
If it is me, why can't I remember the star?
If it isn't me, who is the letter writer and how do they know Matt?
If this washer necklace is the one that was found, how does it get from Matt back to the star rock and then get found in the future?
What kind of vehicles are floaters/flyers and how do they work?
Is the personal shield for protection or comfort?
If the asphalt road is crumbling and just patches, that means flyers have been in use for many years at the time of the letter. Decades, at least.
Why is the letter stained and burnt?

We're having great fun exercising our imaginations and coming up with scenarios that would explain this mysterious letter and the washer necklace "artifact." We examine each idea and either reject it or incorporate it into the "myth." And Matthew tells me that sometimes, when he spies the wooden box in his room, he will check to make sure the mysterious necklace is still there. Who knows what can happen with such a curious item?

I am thinking that this year there should be another "artifact" found. Perhaps a key? We shall see. With a bit of imagination you can create an aura of adventure around even the most mundane items. I know we'll be talking about this "artifact" for years!

I'll be posting this at the fun parties listed in my sidebar. Please visit, there are always lots of creative ideas to be found!



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My sweet necklace Giveaway!



Go here to check out my giveaway.....

http://www.blogguidebook.com/2010/06/friday-june-18-make-best-of-things.html

If you haven't discovered the brand new Blog Guidebook, you really should check it out! I am so glad I found this site which offers a great guide to many many creative blogs, plus tips, features, great ideas and giveaways. Woo hoo! Who doesn't love a giveaway? Here is their link. If you aren't listed yet, go there and sign up. It's free and it is good exposure for your blog. It's a win win!

http://www.blogguidebook.com/

And, courtesy of the Blog Guidebook, I am having my very first sweet necklace giveaway from my Etsy shop and scheduled for June 18, Saturday on the Blog Guidebook-

http://www.etsy.com/shop/Jangojb

And here is the story of the evolution of these pretty little rosette necklaces from my May blog post......



I really enjoy the embellishments and trims I put on my upcycled totes; they are a unique touch which make every bag an original design. Putting together the fabric, laces, ribbon, beads, buttons and other trims is fun for me and I love the way the bags look when I finish all the embellishments.


I like them so much that I thought about making the embellishments as a separate applique that could be added not only to my bags but to the bags of Etsy customers. If I sewed the trims and ribbons and beads and buttons to a nice backing, the medallions of rosettes and lace could be applied to just about anything. But when I made the first one I knew they were perfect as necklaces. Statement necklaces. Not large, poufy, in your face statement necklaces, but smaller, more subtle and with alot of fun detail.




So I've made several and posted them in my Etsy shop. Woohoo! They are selling and I'm getting lots of positive feedback for them. PLUS, I have a great time putting the designs together.

I crashed my stash and pulled out all kinds of trims and embellishments and then, a genius thought came to me. They needed something with a bit more impact, something small and clever and lovely and.....the tiny nest was born. I've been making these for a while as a trim on other projects but they are JUST PERFECT for these pretty rosette montages. Here is one necklace in creamy white and ivory and gold and brass and satin. So pretty!

And here is one in turquoise and creamy ivory and gold and teal and chocolate brown and lace and ribbon....and a teeny tiny gold wire nest with three little bitty eggs. Beautiful!




I added the gold chain to the sides and the ribbon ties to the chain so the necklace is adjustable. You can also change the ribbon to another bit of chain or a velvet ribbon, as you wish.


And here they are together, my first two necklaces inspired by my tote pocket embellishments. You never know where inspiration will come from but sometimes, if you just go along with it, you can create something pretty darn wonderful!

I think for a wedding, these would be lovely. For a birthday, they would be perfect. To dress up that casual summer dress, just right.
What do you think? What would you wear them with if these were yours?

And here it is in PINK and bright GREEN, brand new this morning!




As luscious as a French cherry vanilla cupcake with fluffy cream cheese frosting, yum!



As cool and as sweet as mint chocolate chip ice cream. Oh man, I must be hungry! I've added necklaces with a fleur de lis for a French flair plus other colors including summery blue and red velvet so take a hop over to my Etsy shop and look around.

Then head on over to the giveaway post at the Blog Guidebook and enter. Thanks to Lyndsay at The Blog Guidebook for getting this set up.

http://www.blogguidebook.com/2010/06/friday-june-18-make-best-of-things.html




Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blanket Chest project

I'll be posting the finish of the family tree project soon, I promise! But the finished painting(s) aren't done yet, so here's another project I finished last summer.




Here is a fun project I did for my livingroom. It started as a lemon yellow $2 toy chest from the flea market which we've used for blanket storage for almost twenty years. We have a dozen crocheted afghans compliments of my talented mom and when the weather's cool everyone is cuddled up in one, and the rest of the time the blankets are in this chest, which is also handy seating when everyone is at the house.




Originally I painted it black and left it that way for years. Then about ten years ago I gave it a faux marble finish with blue and silver veining. Hey, at the time I thought it looked good! One thing about me, I am not afraid to try painting something and then painting it again if I don't like it or I'm ready for a change. It costs me next to nothing and gives me something new and custom made for my house. I even faux marbled an entire office of steel furniture to look like green and black marble, and they came out GREAT! So yeah, I'm pretty much fearless about trying new things with paint.




So the next transition began with a couple of coats of leather brown spray paint. This is right after the first coat.


I found a design I knew I could adapt to the rectangular shape and painted it on top with acrylic paint. I antiqued it with raw umber glaze then sanded it to distress it nicely. This picture is right after it was sanded. Next I used pecan Polyshades, which is a stain and polyurethane finish all in one, to give it a nice vintage look. I like it. I like it alot.



In fact, I liked it so much that I did the same thing to my coffee table, which was a $7 auction buy from the eighties. It also got the faux blue marble treatment years ago but now it matches this blanket chest. They both look great with the chocolate brown slipcovers on the couch and gave my livingroom the punch of color I was looking for!

I'll be linking to the blog parties in my sidebar, come check them out and see all the fun, creative projects out there this week! See you there! And a late addition to the blog party fun, First Monday at Thrifty Decor Chic.