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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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cheap Elmer's glue crackle chalkboard project

I used this super simple but effective process on some chalkboards awhile back, and here's the tutorial. You'll love it. You'll want to crackle something for sure. I love this cheap crackle technique! It seems like magic every time I use it and did I mention that it was cheap? Holy cow, with Elmer's school glue 4 for $1 right now, I have stocked up big time.


I started out with cupboard doors from a local builder's supply. After spray painting them flat black (which saves you money on the expensive chalkboard paint) I spread the glue on really thick. I did not use a brush for this but laid a nice line of glue around the frame and spread it with my fingers. You are not looking for an elegant finish here, you want a nice layer of glue on your intended crackled target. Now, wait til it gets tacky. DO NOT LET THE GLUE DRY, the glue MUST be moist when you do the next step.

Taking plain old acrylic craft paint, load up your brush and paint, in one direction only, a nice thick coat of color. Do NOT go back and try to touch up and at this point and do NOT go back and forth. One direction, one swipe, with a light touch. You want a nice layer of paint on top of the still moist glue layer. The crackle effect will begin almost immediately and within a few minutes you will see a great aged patina bloom right before your eyes. The picture above was taken within 5 minutes of painting.


It does not matter if your paint goes on thick and thin, as this effect looks much better with a bit of uneven paint. Look at that, it makes me smile everytime I do this. Crackle, baby! If you have some spots you have to touch up, use a smaller paint brush and a light touch and go in the same direction as before but lightly, lightly. At this point it is very easy to drag the paint and the glue and make a big non crackled spot. If this does happen, let it dry, add more glue and repaint with a gentle hand. This technique is very forgiving.

If you have perhaps got distracted by kids, pets, some kitchen disaster, life and your glue has dried, don't worry. Just add more glue and go on from there. I've done this dozens of times and this technique has lots of wiggle room.


Oooh, ahhh. I like the white on black, love the black on white and ADORE the turquoise on white. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Let your paint and glue dry thoroughly before you seal the crackled edges with clear acrylic. I added a thin layer of umber glaze before I sealed mine. Then paint the centers with chalkboard paint. Wait 24 hours or close to it if you are impatient like me ;0) and season the chalkboard with a layer of chalk, wipe it off and voila! Easy peasy crackle framed chalkboard, baby!



My FAVORITE board was the red on black, it was stunning and of course it was the first one we sold at the Artwalk. Now I'll have to make another. Good thing I stocked up on Elmer's glue!

I'll be linking up to the fun parties on my sidebar. Come on over and check out the interesting projects out in blogland. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

So ready for fall, y'all!





I love Fall! I love the cooler temps of crisp mornings in September after the scorching dog days of August. Each year we build the first fire in the wood stove on the morning of the first day of school, so the kids have a bit of warmth and cheer before they head for the bus. I love a nice wood fire in the morning!





But most of all, I love the colors of Fall. I love the bright and myriad hues of the frosted leaves against the beautiful Oregon firs and cedars. Vine maples trace a path of fiery color in the dark forests and brighten the darker days as winter approaches.






In my house I already have a lot of red and the autumn lets me kick everything up a notch with golden hues of orange, yellow and even nice, deep, chocolate browns. The lighter colors of summer are retired, and warm colors come in to brighten things up.


Last summer I scored over two dozen sprays of beautiful silk leaves in autumn colors at the Goodwill. I use them everywhere in the house clear up until I switch over to Christmas decor. I love the way they brighten things up! I have half a dozen flower arrangements between my dining room, kitchen and livingroom. They make me smile everytime I see them. Here are some of them from last year, dressed to brighten the darker fall days. I got them out yesterday and I'm looking forward to redoing all my vases again this year. Plus bringing out the afghans and quilts, and making some new, twiggy wreaths, and decorating for Halloween....yup, I am so ready for fall. How about you?

I'm linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick's Fall Inspiration party with this post. Come see all the beauty on her blog, you'll love it!

http://thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com/2010/08/fall-inspiration-link-it-up.html

Anyone have a craft mall booth?


Have any of you fine people had a booth at a crafter's mall or marketplace? I have a couple of simple questions for you....was it a good move for you? And were you able to make enough money for it to be worth your while? That's my main concern.

I'm trying a booth out for 3 months and I'm having serious heebie jeebies about it after ONE FULL DAY. Yeah, it's like the song, "Hello mudder, hello fadder." I hope it turns out well but I'm wondering what you can tell me.

I know you ladies and even gents out there in blogland are a creative and energetic lot. I love your enthusiasm and ideas and heartfelt connections to home, family and creativity, whether in cooking, crafts, home decor, home skills or upscale recycling. You guys rock!

So, without getting into any personal/business details, how was the craft mall experience for you? Anything I should know? Any success stories would be appreciated, but also any horror stories since they are all part of the same mix.

Hoping to hear from many of you, soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Craft Fail to Craft Save

I love this blue painted display stand NOW but it sure didn't start out looking this way!



I put  the candlestick and plate together with E6000 and spray painted the whole shebang with Krylon spray paint in  Blue Ocean Breeze.  I am in love with the color and it gave this simple piece a gorgeous look. It was beeyootiful, trust me on this.

So, and you know there is more to this story; before I took some final pics I sprayed it with clear acrylic sealer to give it a nice protective finish. A clear sealer containing acetone and tuolene. Do you know what those two caustic chemicals do to wonderful, smooth, Ocean Blue painted glass? Aargh! It bubbled and blistered and looked terrible.

I'll spare you the gruesome details and the pics. My beautiful creation suddenly developed a case of severe blue leprosy. My heart fell. Did I cuss? Yes. My kids and The Welding Man say I'm an amateur when it comes to cursing, but hey, it works for me. Back when they were little I used to say "dirty rat fink." Yeah, they still get the giggles over that.

But I digress...on to the rescue!




So I figured it can't look worse and I resorted to my old standby aging technique, crumpled tissue paper and Mod Podge. Don't look at my painting station, it's a wreck. But you can see here that the "save" potential for this project wasn't looking good. Pieces of torn and crumpled tissue cover the top half in this pic. 

Moving on.



Okay, first coat of turquoise acrylic paint. I'm feeling hopeful here.


And a layer of burnt umber glaze. Okay, I can work with this. Feeling a tiny bit better.



And the base, where the leprosy was the worst. This technique adds so much texture and the glazing emphasizes it, so I'm going to call it good, even tho I remember that first, gorgeous smooth painted finish with a sigh. But hey, I really like how this is turning out!


I figured it would look great with the shelf I made from a drawer, and I have to admit, they seem very harmonious together. So, still calling this a save!



And with the various coastal elements this project looks pretty good! However, with my usual tendency to nit pick the details, the base is a slightly different shade from the plate. I'll be fixing that soon. At least this time I was able to salvage the project. Other times I've not been so lucky/clever! But we won't talk about that right now.

Linking up to the parties on the sidebar, you betcha. Come join the fun and see the wonderful projects out there.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our Artwalk booth



We started out on Day 1 early, with our wrought iron gazebo booth ready to go....but even under the tree we needed more shade! Since necessity is the mother of invention, we swaddled the whole shebang in yards of lace and muslin, which we'd brought along as an afterthought. Good thing we did, it was 100 degrees out there! We know, it looks horribly amateurish and and stands out like a sore thumb from the road, but from the front.....




...it was the coolest, shadiest spot in the whole place! Of course, people who saw it from the back first were pleasantly surprised to see it from the front. We know this because we heard their comments all weekend long. "Cool! Look at that! This is nice!"

Here you can see some of my paintings, Christy's fabulous book wreaths and hand made letters, her garlands, some of my Halloween banners, my daughter in law's dry erase calendars and in the far corner with the black mirror, my rosette necklaces.


We had this booth LOADED with almost all our stuff. Between my daughters insane creative output and all my projects, there was alot to see in our space. Here you see the tote bag display, my paintings, crackle painted chalkboards, my muslin and burlap pillows, my trio of drawers turned bookshelves, folk art Santas and Witches, one of Christy's garlands and my daughter in law's cute dry erase board.....as I said, LOTS to see, and this is only one side.

Here's a shot of the inside, across the top of Christy's paper bows. You can just see some of the cute paper cupcakes my OTHER daughter made for us, and in the upper right, Christy's jenga block keychains.


Here's a shot of my drawers turned bookshelves, all dressed up with loads of fun stuff, including my Christmas and Halloween dolls, coast themed accessories and Halloween paintings hiding back in there. Yeah, we crammed our booth full!


Then we got out of the way and let the shopping begin! Because here is what every creative seller wants to see...interested shoppers!!


And this blue abstract tree painting went fast to another vendor. This isn't the best pic of all the details in the painting, but I'm going to paint another since I liked it so much!

The horribly hot weather notwithstanding, we had a good time, gave out a lot of business cards, made alot of good contacts and actually sold some stuff, which makes it all worth it. Certainly made our expenses back and then some. That would be a win win in my book!

Monday, August 16, 2010

3 drawer upcycle project

Here is a fun project I did last week while preparing for the Artwalk (which, by the way, totally gobbled my time and attention, sorry for the bloggy neglect!) I needed display shelving for our booth and didn't want to spend any money. I remembered we had an old waterbed set with a six drawer pedestal base, so The Welding Man helped me with this recycle/upcycle project on three of them. I've seen clever drawer redos in blogland and knew we could knock this one off "toot sweet."



I asked him to install a shelf in each drawer, putting each one at a different height. And since I was up to my eyeballs in other projects, he primed and painted all three drawers. Whattaguy! This is a redo that can totally be done by anyone out there even if you don't have an accommodating Welding Man in your household. What's that Christopher Lowell used to say before he went Hollywood on us? "You can do it!"

So here is the first, a pretty turquoise blue number to which I added some very cool scripty tissue paper I'd saved for projects such as these. After first crumpling up the paper slightly then smoothing it out to cover any small irregularities in the wood, I Mod Podged it down. You have to have a gentle hand with tissue paper because once it is wet and stuck on, you CANNOT move it. Also, do NOT touch the wet tissue until it is dry. A piece will lift off on your fingertip. Don't ask me how I know this. ;0)


The tissue came in two colors, so I used the darker shade for the horizontal surfaces and let it dry thoroughly. Then I glazed all the edges, inside and out, with burnt umber acrylic glaze and wiped it down. Lovin' it!

Eggshell white paint and torn up music sheets came next. The music came from an old, beat up Mozart play book for school bands, just a quarter at the local thrift store! I used the page edges on the straight edges for a neater look. So cool! And I still have plenty of music sheets left.

And after the burnt umber glaze on all the surfaces. Ooh, I love this one too!!


And finally, flat black paint and some black and white scrapbook paper in a damask print. Unfortunately my seams did not match up the pattern as well as I liked, so I made some casual, fuzzy edged black stripes to "fool the eye." How Goth/Twilight/Vampire/Halloween does this look, I ask ya?

And across the top, where there was a little divot in the wood, I filled it and covered it up with a strip of the same paper, with joints perfectly matched this time. Then a little bit of sanding and a bit of black paint dry brushing, and this one is ready to go, too. I sealed all three with several layers of clear acrylic spray and I love the way all of them came out!!


And here they are all dressed and ready to go on day 1 of our Artwalk booth. I made a few color matched accessories for them and had a great time playing around with the displays. I put price tags on them in case someone really, really wanted them but in the end I kept them. They will be going in my refurbished craft studio soon, and I can't keep from smiling every time I look at them.

The whole thing was done with supplies I already had from previous projects, so I didn't have to spend any money, and that makes me feel happy and smart. Love that! Annnnd, I still have 3 more drawers. Gotta love that, too!

I'll be joining up on the blog parties on my sidebar, playing a bit of catch up this week. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On your way to Crater Lake, Part 2.



When you visit Southern Oregon, Crater Lake is probably on your list. Yes, it really is this color blue in person! When you travel up Highway 62, you will pass through the little town of Shady Cove, right on the Rogue River. I've already mentioned one special little shop in that town, and here is the other.




Shady Kate's Boutique is on the right side of 62 just before the bridge over the Rogue River. It is a hidden jewel and one of Highway 62's best kept secrets. You would expect to find a shop of this caliber in Ashland or Medford, but it's here in this little river town. It is a special little place, with a peaceful, tree shaded yard and just chock full of gorgeous art, jewelry, decor items, unusual finds, antiques and other wonderful creations made by Oregon artists. The owner, Kate, is so friendly and helpful you'll feel right at home.


There is so much to see including wonderful, gorgeous jewelry and this motto, which tells you you've come to a fun place! Each room is full of beautiful items and you will want to spend a bit of leisurely time in each one.


Little vignettes are around every corner, you can look and look but you won't be able to see it all. See the vintage glass next to the wonderful ceramics next to the butterfly tin, next to the wood burl bowl next to the ceramic pears on a metal tree beneath the stained glass lamp?



And every Father's Day weekend, Kate sponsors a "Tie one on for Dad" celebration, and the huge tree outside her shop is festooned with colorful ties. There is a craft festival and an art show and competition for best of show and crowd favorites of paintings of the "Tie Tree." The winners are on display inside the shop, right next to a neat stump table featuring a lamp with a silk tie lampshade, how clever is that?



More great goodies in another fun display. Shed antlers are featured in many art pieces, and Kate's great choices in western art and decor are shown throughout the shop.


Antiques cozy up to new artistic creations of wood, stone, ceramic and metal. There are truly some unique pieces here to surprise and delight you. Before you make the long drive up to Crater Lake, take some personal time and visit Shady Kate's Boutique. Or if you're on your way back from the Lake, stop by and browse to give your day a perfect little respite.


This weekend, August 14th and 15th, is the Shady Cove River Artwalk featuring over 100 artists and craftspeople in exhibits down by the river. Shady Kate's will have exhibits too, with booths by more artisans. I will be in Kate's yard with my daughter in our "Make the Best of Things" booth, which is more like a little shop. If you're in the area, stop on by. The Artwalk promises to be another great summer festival, with plenty to see, do and experience. You will be glad you stopped by!

Monday, August 9, 2010

On your way to Crater Lake, Part 1.


If you are lucky enough in your travels to visit the Pacific Northwest, then a visit to Crater Lake National Park is probably on your agenda. The gorgeous blue of the lake and the wonderful vistas are worth the trip! And if you go to Crater Lake on Highway 62, you will pass thru the little river town of Shady Cove. In this sleepy town there are a couple of amazing little shops which you will drive right by if you aren't looking, and you will certainly miss out if you do.


One of them is Chickadee Gift and Garden, located smack dab on Hwy.62 on the left side as you drive north thru town. This wonderfully whimsical little shop is a delight and full of treasures and garden cleverness. Take a moment to look at the roof top sign and check out that oversize rooster. Trust me, this is a fun place!


Inside is jam packed with wonderful things, you can browse to your heart's content amongst wonderful creations by Oregon artists. Cindy, your host, will be there to answer your questions and show you her unique wares.

And just outside the pretty gardens beckon. Don't you just want to step out there and look around? Hear the peaceful fountain and the windchimes and take a few cool and relaxing minutes before your drive to Crater Lake.



So much to see, so much to inspire! I love succulent wreaths and this one caught my eye. Love the little gnome, too, and I spy one of my garden signs right there in the flower bed. There is so much to see at Chickadee, I can't possibly picture it all.....




Was there ever a cooler way to recycle old metal lockers in the garden? Love this! Wish it was mine!


License plate peace sign, such a neat recycling project. Too cool.



Totally love these goofy planters! They crack me up every time I see them. Made from porous volcanic rock, they are so adorable.




This little shop is Highway 62's best kept secret, along with the other wonderful shop I'll be blogging about next. If and when you drive to visit Crater Lake, be watching for it. You'll be glad you stopped.