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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, October 30, 2010

The favorite hangout room.

I just had to post this for the Bright, Bold and Beautiful linky party. There are some gorgeous rooms on there! Here's a shot of the favorite hangout room in our house....

Since we live in an old mobile home, I've used the colors that I love to draw the eye. The 9' long chocolate brown couch has been slipcovered about half a dozen times in the last 20 years and it is easily everyone's favorite most comfortable piece of furniture. I painted the all the red art myself when I couldn't find affordable paintings that spoke to me. The old coffee table is another of my painted projects with a colorful abstract design on top that goes with the paintings' themes. A coat of walnut Polyshades aged it perfectly for the vintage look I love. The basket in the corner next to the leopard print rocking chair is chock full of yarn, since this corner of the living room is Crochet Central for my daughter, Insanely Creative Christy, and I. This is also the favorite spot for my daughters, Doggie Loving Katy and No Nonsense Mom Kelly. As for my son, Smart Funny Guy Gabe, the whole couch is his favorite place. This Flexsteel couch is so comfortable for napping it ought to be outlawed!

Here is the view from Crochet Central looking at the massive TV/stereo cabinet that's also been around for decades. The pic is a bit dark but to describe for you...I painted the scene of autumn trees to cover all the wiring and gadgets on the bottom shelves. Blue curtains cool down all the red in the room and also link to the blue field in the flag on top of the cabinet. I put black skeleton key cutouts on two of the red storage baskets for a bit of interest, and then there's my ladder shelf rack with all it's baskets. Love it!

We are a book crazy family with piles, scads, loads of books on every flat surface. I do believe we are one of the only households we know that owns more books than movies! As you can see, The Welding Man wears many hats. The kids make sure he always has new ones for any occasion. I've added autumn garlands accented with cut out book page leaves and right next to the juke box radio is a tobacco tin in it's place of honor. Yes, folks, we have Prince Albert in a can!

And here is the other most favoritest place to sit and read in the livingroom. It is the granny rocker I slip covered with vintage fabric from my aunt, placed right up close to the wood stove with a sloppy stack of piled books on the shelves close at hand. I crocheted the afghan using a large shell pattern and there is no better place to be when the rain is falling and its cool and grey outside.

So what's the favorite hangout room in your house? Link it up when you go check out this fun party and see some really pretty and inviting rooms!

http://brightboldbeautiful.blogspot.com/2010/10/beautiful-living-favorite-cozy-spot_3793.html

UGLY platter turned rustic bakery sign


Here is the sign I painted for our kitchen; it hangs above the counter where The Welding Man bakes all our bread. Heaven is his home made bread sliced thin and toasted crisp with sweet butter! Yum! Add my sister's home made scrumptious concord grape jelly and you are in taste bud nirvana.

Ahem. Okay, this sign did not always look like this. It started out as a plastic turkey platter, a huge orange and yellow monster measuring 21" wide x 15" high. The kids called it the Chernobyl Turkey Platter. Ugly. The only time it looked good was when it was piled high with turkey, trust me on this. But we only used it once or twice a year and our kitchen NEEDED a dash of style, or wit, or something for right there on that wall...


I could say I spared you the sight of the crazy orange and yellow and brown platter in its former glory but actually, I wasn't blogging back in February and didn't even think to take a pic. But right here is the start, a fresh coat of gloss black spray paint. Hmmmm, not working with the vibe I had for a rustic bakery sign.....



Oooh, better. I went to my tried-and-true-I-like-it-so-there rustification process of crumpled torn tissue paper mod podged to the rim. Which I didn't take a picture of. Man. But here it is with a coat of flat black acrylic paint. Okay, I'm heading in the right direction....


More torn tissue paper decoupage goodness and a wash of white paint to bring out the texture. This is looking rustic and old and downright decrepit! Alrighty then, now we're getting there.....


I used craft paint for the lettering and dry brushed for a worn, aged feel around the letters. Then I used red for little wingdings and doohickeys on the letters, just as you'd find on old hand painted signs. I wanted this to look like a sign you'd find in a small village or town and not a slick commercial sign. I also added a rough edged border in red to make the white pop.


And here it is with pride of place in the kitchen. I love the oval shape and the rim that looks like a frame and the rough texture and the black and red and white! So now, you guessed it, I am on the lookout for more big plastic turkey platters, ugly or not, for rustic, shabby chic signs in the bathrooms and even my craft room.

This week I'm posting this on Funky Junk Interiors sign themed party. I love old signs and she has so many great ideas in her own home, I have sign envy. Come visit and share the love!

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Gorgeous $1 dollar cabinet redo with book pages and twine.

Don't you love it when you drive up to the local Salvation Army and they're just putting out a bunch of stuff on their sidewalk marked one dollar??? I tell you, for a cheapaholic like me, it was a thrill! I picked up lots of stuff. A TON. Filled my car up for less than ten dollars. It was a great day in a week of not so great days and I needed it.


So here she is, a sturdy all wood, not particleboard cabinet with two tight doors and a neat little nook at the bottom. Yeah, she was dirty and had a bad paint job but her potential was so great that when my daughter, Insanely Creative Christy, came to visit and asked if I had any fun projects on tap, well, you know what happened next!

We're on a book page project kick right now and this old, decrepit dictionary with brittle brittle pages was just the ticket. LOVE the old pen and ink illustrations in these old books. They are little works of art.

Christy painted the whole cabinet with the Country White latex I used in my guest bath. It goes perfectly with the vintage look of the book pages.

Here is the little nook with the start of the process. Mod Podge rocks! Tho we've learned to save money by using plain Elmer's school glue for the first phase then finish with 2 coats of Mod Podge for a nice sheen. Creative and CHEAP, that's us!

Here are the doors after their first coat of Mod Podge, drying by the wood stove. Already they look so much better!

Ah, the details!! Christy finished the edges of the book page insets with jute twine, spray painted the fixtures with oil rubbed bronze and THEN added jute to the knobs for an extra kick of texture and interest. She sanded the the edges with The Welding Man's palm sander and VOILA! Beautiful! We don't call her Insanely Creative Christy for nothing!

Just look at how gorgeous Miss One Dollar Cabinet looks now. She's in the hallway bath for that extra bit of style and storage that every bathroom needs. We're still deciding whether to book page her side. What do you think?

I think Christy has given Pottery Barn a run for their money on this one, don't you? So creative and clever and CHEAP! This project is a win, win, win.

I'm hooking up to the fun parties on my sidebar. Please join me for some wonderful projects and a great group of bloggers. See you there!

Life is beautiful....even with breast cancer.




Just over a month ago I received the news that I have breast cancer. The journey has just begun.

I have never intended this blog to be a journal of my personal life but an outlet for all the crazy creative ideas and processes I've got jammed into my head. However I'm letting all of you, my dear readers, know that I'm heading into some tough times health wise and posting may be erratic for several months.

Like the devastating news of a death in the family, this has had an extremely clarifying effect. Though it is much less than the horrible razor sharp sword wound I've felt with family deaths, it is still daunting and scary. It has brought my focus very clear and I've found that my basic optimistic outlook is still intact.

So, the good news is that it is totally curable. I've already undergone all the surgery that's necessary and am moving on to chemo next week. Our wonderful, delightful family has pulled together and will be with me every step of the way. Besides their love, their wildly quirky, intelligent, creative, sarcastic, hilarious humor lights my days. My medical team is top notch and the cancer center is one of the nation's best.

I will get through this. I feel the positive energy and prayers coming my way everyday.

And so you can see that I'm not sitting in the corner bemoaning my fate, know that....

I'll get to wear some kicking hats and scarves, including a very smart little black fedora with a silk band. And a wig? Who knows!

The Welding Man now has total bathroom cleaning duties. Excellent. He is also now the Master of the Dishwasher. ; 0 )

I cut off my long hair and found myself laughing at the total freedom I felt. Long hair, gone! The decision to dye or not to dye, gone! Oops, got it a little short on top. That's okay! No more hair stress (which you ladies all know is REAL) for months and months. I can totally deal with this.

I am cutting WAY back on my dozens of overflowing deck planters and concentrating on just a few beautiful plants. I am keeping my gorgeous ivy topiaries that grow on frames The Welding Man made to my fussy fussy standards.

I'm going overboard on holiday decorating but within a drastic budget and that's always when I do my best work. So in addition to dozens of family photos I will have some kick ass holiday displays to plan, make and share. I want to smile when I walk in to every room of my house, even if it's just a laugh over my latest cheap extravagance. Is that a contradiction in terms? lol!

I will be painting more, listening to music more, using my camera more and exercising more. I will fill my bedroom walls with all the teal, cobalt, tiffany, robin's egg blue themed paintings I can produce, then I'll paint more red and gold art for my livingroom. Everyone in the family will get paintings for Christmas!

And I will fill up my Etsy shop with whatever I create and share it with those shoppers who appreciate the things I make. I totally love it when I come up with an idea and create it and somebody enthusiastically pays me money for it!! And when I come back from the doctor to find that I've sold something it just perks me right up. You Etsy sellers out there know of which I speak. I'm moving into a much smaller, cheaper craft mall space which means I have to be creative and clever with my displays, a challenge I like.

My insanely creative daughter, Christy, will be staying with us and I assure you she will be busy with my projects as well as her own. I have a whole list of stuff we want to try out.

This will not become a cancer blog or a journal of medical minutaie. This will still be my crazy creative craft blog with as many tutes, photos and ideas as I can cram in here. I love to hear from you and your comments are priceless. Your blogs tell me what I've known all along, that women are creative powerhouses who fill their homes, families and lives with beauty everyday. You inspire me and fill me with awe.

When I'm done with all my treatments I am thinking of getting a tattoo. (Collective crowd gasp goes here) I haven't decided on the graphic but I know what it will say. It will be in a cool font and read, "Life is beautiful."

I'll be back.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn garland with book leaves.

As I promised in my previous post, here is the how to for that gorgeous autumn leaves garland on my TV cabinet, using inexpensive Dollar Store garlands and leaves cut from book pages. This is just the latest and greatest of many book page projects I've blogged about. The Pottery Barn catalog shows leaves cut from book pages in some of their layouts and this is an adaptation of that clever idea.

ACTUALLY, my daughter, Christy, made this for me last week while visiting. She had some time on her hands and asked me if I had any neat ideas for her. I had already bought several 6 foot garlands at the Dollar Store and away she went with the whole process, LOL! She made some cardboard templates of oak and maple leaves and cut them out of an old paperback book. We found she could cut 8 leaves at a time with her little scissors, stacking up the pages before cutting. The scissors worked much better than an X acto knife.

She took 10" lengths of florist wire and made a loop at one end. She used a glue stick generously on one leaf cutout, laid the looped end of the wire in between then topped it with a matching leaf cutout. Smoothing the glued leaves with a blunt object seals the edges and gives you lots of sturdy leaves to add to your garland.


Here is the first garland, using TWO Dollar Store garlands wired together with the book page leaves between each set of silk leaves. The florist wire in the paper leaves lets you curl them a bit for a nice look and the stem wire is long enough to wrap several times. You can add more book page leaves or less based on your own style.

I've hung two sets of these over my dining room windows and one set on my TV cabinet. I'm loving the way this looks against the blue curtains, the colorful boxes and the autumn arrangement sitting on top. I was going to list these in my Etsy shop, but you know what? I love them too much to sell them! Perhaps if I get enough garlands to replace them I will change my mind but for now....


I love the way they look in my October house. They are perfect for the season and I will leave them until my Christmas decor goes up after Thanksgiving. The white and black book page paper is a wonderful contrast to the bright leaves of the very inexpensive garlands. So there you have it....simple, creative and CHEAP. Win, win and win! Thanks, Christy, what do you want to make next? I have a couple more book page ideas kicking around in my brain and I'm sure you do, too.

I'll be linking up to the parties in my sidebar. Come check them out, they are always alot of fun!

Lovin' my ladder shelf.

Here is my garden ladder repurposed to display my art at the Artwalk this summer. After this event I brought it home to my deck and displayed flowers all summer long. But then the weather changed and I just knew my beat up ladder had more life in it......

and here is my ladder now. I sanded her and painted her gloss black and brought "her" in (funny how inanimate objects have a gender, at least in my eyes) to become a handy basket rack next to our ginormous living room cabinet.

I shopped my baskets for the right fit to her shelves, then upstyled them with some judicious spray painting in gloss black and leather brown. The baskets still look different but they fit with her overall dark, sleek, vintage, farmhouse "aren't I clever" kind of a style. I still have one basket in need of spray painting (see it peeking from the bottom shelf), but I love the way they all came out!

This was one idea that came out even better than I'd imagined. The baskets hold gloves, scarves, DVDs and emergency flashlights, so far. I will really try to be disciplined about piling them with stuff, but she's so convenient and she's right there....ahem. As I said, I'll try. ;0)

Sweet Denise over at First a Dream blogged about her ladder shelves here.....

http://firstadream.blogspot.com/2010/10/ladder-shelves.html

She has some delightful inspirations in her post, so clever and cute! So here is my ladder shelf just to jump on the bandwagon. Lovin' the possibilities here and I know one thing, I need to find more ladders!

BTW, I'll be posting about that gorgeous garland from the second photo soon. You'll love how clever and CHEAP it is! And, it's up. Go here.

Join me at the parties listed on my sidebar. Lots of creative and gorgeous ideas out there in blogland, see you there.