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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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Monday, September 30, 2013

Add Book Page Leaves To Your Fall Garlands



Here is an easy project that turns out great, and you can probably do it with stuff you have on hand. I use old book pages for loads of things but this is one of my favorites. I add leaf cutouts from old books to Dollar Store garlands and really kick up their style factor.

Using a leaf pattern traced from a real life, a fake leaf or online, simply trace the shape onto a printed page of an old book. With good, sharp scissors you can cut through about six pages at a time. Here you see one size leaf we cut to add to the garland.

And here's a smaller size. Please excuse the painty, gluey crafting hands! Use a glue stick on one leaf, add a length of florist or craft wire, then put another leaf on top. You can make as many as you like, it's easy peasy and they look so cool. I believe Pottery Barn had some similar leaves a few years back for a very pretty price.

Just use the wire to twist the leaves into the garland. Here is one garland we made last year. I love the way the book page leaves "cool down" the vibrant colors of the garland. You can add as many as you wish and the wires let you "fluff" them any way you want for a fuller look.


Here they are with another more muted garland. This was for the long stair banister in my daughter's country style house. I love the way they look!

Here is a garland of oak leaves hung on a muslin curtain. Such a complement to the colorful leaves and the creamy colored muslin.

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And here is one, paired with my primitive star garland, that I've looped around my entry way mirror. I really like the way the book page leaves look with all the vibrant hues!

And here's a shot of a garland used in a Thanksgiving tablescape. Add a few book paged balls and some glass ware and you have a stylish and colorful centerpiece.

I've used book pages for years for so many projects that now it is my go to look when I style my house and studio. With the holidays coming on like a freight train it's time to style up some neat decor again.

I'll be linking to the parties in my sidebar. Come visit and join the fun!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Making a Grungy Prim Pumpkin from a Styrofoam Ball


I sold one of my primitive witch dolls on Etsy and found, when I went to pack her up, that she was missing a prim pumpkin in her basket. Vanished! I make almost all the accessories for my witch and Santa dolls so I just decided to  make another one... and for once took enough photos to capture the process. 


Yup, he's not a cute and pretty Jack like you see everywhere at Halloween. My pumpkins have character!
So here we go.....



I have a stash of styrofoam balls and grabbed one in the right size. This process will work for any size foam ball. I flattened the top and bottom with a saucer to make it less round and more pumpkiny. Then I scored it with a small paint brush handle.


Using my clay tools I carved out a face. You can also use the tip of a steak knife, an X-acto blade or anything that will give you the holes you want. Crumpled up tissue torn into small pieces will cover the curves of the ball and Mod Podge sticks it on. Use a soft paintbrush and just smooth the tissue on gently. This takes the styrofoam look away from the ball and makes it look more pumpkiny and gourdy. You know what I mean!


 Here I've used pumpkin orange and red to paint the whole pumpkin. You can let this dry naturally or, if you want a bit of warty skin texture, use your heat gun to dry the paint. Hold the heat close to the pumpkin surface and you will get a bubbly, bumpy effect in no time! Go slowly and steadily so the warts form but your styrofoam ball does not melt. Soon your paint will be dry and textured.



Next, add a bit of burnt umber paint to your pumpkin then blot it off with a rag while it is still wet. Use a damp q-tip to clean up the details. If you take off too much just put more paint on and blot, q-tip it again until you get the contrast you want.

                             
I wanted my Jack to have some grungy teeth and I used the tip of a butter knife to press them into the mouth seam. Then I added black paint deep inside the eyes and nose holes and along the mouth. Use a damp q-tip again to clean up your details but not too much. Don't worry, you can keep adding and taking away paint until you get just the right grungy prim look you are happy with!


I have a jar o' twigs in my stash and found one just for this guy. What, you don't have twigs in your stash? A stick from the yard will do or even a small  cinnamon stick. I added two silk leaves (which I grunged with a little burnt umber paint since they were too bright) and a bit of curly rusty wire to my Jack and voila!


My prim Jack looks happy in his new home and tomorrow he'll be travelling with his witchy mistress to a far city.


This process works for any size styrofoam ball and you don't have to carve them like jack o' lanterns at all. You can make some grungy primitive pumpkins for your Halloween and Thanksgiving decor. I guarantee no one will have pumpkins just like yours!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Etching Glass is Easier Than You Think

For years I was daunted by glass etching since it seemed borderline dangerous, what with the acid needed to "burn away" the image onto the glass.

But then I discovered Armour Etch creme and etching glass is one of my favorite ways to make personalized gifts for family and friends. I name Armour Etch only because it is the most widely available creme for this purpose and it is very simple to use.


Once you've picked out your glassware, you will need rubbing alcohol, contact paper and the etching creme.
Use the rubbing alcohol, not glass cleaner, to thoroughly clean the glass area you want to etch. Cover your work area with newspaper and wear latex gloves if you wish. Done correctly, you need never touch the etching creme with your fingers at all.


I chose a nice elegant font for these two steins and printed them out. I taped them on top of the checked contact paper ready to cut out with a razor cutter. I've already cut the "t" in Whit. I had this checked contact paper in my stash and I like how the squares help me keep my design straight.



You can see how I've simplified to font for a cleaner look and also made it  much easier to cut. Remove the paper pattern and you're ready to etch.


Do NOT touch the creme to your bare skin! It contains hydrochloric acid in a creme suspension and it will burn you! Be sure to work in a well ventilated space as this stuff is stinky. Only cover the cut out areas of your stencil and don't be stingy. You want a good layer of creme to get a good pattern.

I use cheap Dollar Store q-tips to apply the creme. Usually the creme is a greyish white when new and also has a bit of grit, but this is an older jar. Don't be put off by the color of the creme I am using. I bought this jar several years ago and it is a long way from being used up. Exposure to air over time turns it brown but it works perfectly fine. 

Without removing the contact paper, set your glassware aside for 5 to 10 minutes so the acid can do its work. Better to leave it on longer for a good etch. It will not hurt the glass or burn through it in that time span.


Before peeling off the contact paper rinse your creme covered glassware in cold running water. Rub the creme off with a paper towel or an old toothbrush til it is completely gone. Pat your glassware dry. 

Here comes the fun part! Peel the contact paper from your glassware and grin like an idiot when you see how the etched glass looks. Yeah, I do, every time.

I made these for a young couple whose birthdays are very close together. They loved them! And now they report that they use these steins for root beer floats or just pack 'em full of ice cream.

The etching creme is available at crafts stores and with a coupon is very affordable. 
The Dollar Store stocks cheap contact paper. Once you have these two items you can etch glassware for years and make beautiful personalized glassware for very little money but quite a bit of impact. The Dollar Store and thrift stores are chock full of unique glassware. Just think of the possibilities.

You can do this!

Look for me at the blog linky parties in my sidebar. You will meet some interesting people and their creative projects.







Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Gallery of Custom Freezer Paper Stenciled Tee Shirts


The crafty ladies in our family have been using this technique for years. It's not difficult, really cheap and fun to do. You can make one of a kind tee shirts this way for every occasion!


This ginger molecule was for my red headed daughter in law's birthday. She loved it!


HERE is a link to my DIY post with loads of photos....



I mix my craft paint together and go for a mottled effect. Many tutorials call for fabric paint but by mixing the regular craft paint with textile(fabric) medium, you don't have to buy special paint. Plus you can use any of your paint colors in your stash! Makeup sponges are PERFECT for pouncing paint over a stencil. A little bit of dry brush shading really gives the spheres some depth and makes the design pop.


Here are the stenciled onesies for my daughter's baby shower. It was a fun game figuring out who was gifting which onesie. Harry Potter, John Travolta, Dr. Who, the Czech Republic, One Direction, London, the Air Force and others were well represented!


Christmas tee shirts are always fun...my tee shirt said, "spoiler alert," since I have an unfortunate tendency to give the plot away when we have movie night!


Here are two dachshund pillow cases for my daughter, who has a pair of the lovely little hounds. Her baby's nursery is very doxie-centric, lol!


My granddaughter is a Potter Maniac. I put this Gryffindor emblem on a dark red sweatshirt with gold acrylic paint mixed with metallic gold for a bit of shine. Mixing in textile medium keeps the paint pliable and it stands up to repeated washings.


Insanely Creative Christy always makes awesome tees! Here is another Potter themed tee shirt.


The ladies in our family are serious Supernatural fans, so this custom tee has become a huge favorite. Soon we'll all have one just like it!


For my son's birthday I was going to do a simple tee that said, "nerd." But when I found this Yoda design I had to do it. It had lots of fiddley bits and I simplified the design ALOT, but I LOVE how it came out and so does he. A bit of grey dry brushing brought out the shapes and texture in this design.

I hope this gallery gives you some inspiration and spark to try this technique for your own projects. I'll be posting a DIY soon, so stay tuned. You can do this!

Come visit me in the blog linky parties from my sidebar. You'll be glad you did.




Succulent Love

The weather here in Oregon is starting to get cooler and rainy, and my summer flowers are fading. I've recently fallen in love with these no fail succulents, which go on looking good through all seasons and have wonderful textures and colors. Plus, they spread so I can divide them for even more projects!


I love the tight rosettes and the bright colors against the gravel.


Sedums in an old drawer along with one of my pebble garden balls stay bright all year long.


I really gravitate towards cool limey yellow in my garden, along with cobalt blue glass accents.


Cement planter ball with one pretty rosette.


The re purposed bird feeder looks great all year long with this neat mix of sedums and succulents. They are as close to care free as anything I have grown!


The blue enamel chamber pot is perfect for this succulent collection.


Cute idea! I got this cupcake tin loaded chock full of succulents for $5!! I'm going to divide them and spread them out into a larger cupcake pan. Love this look!


I have a fake succulent wreath in the bathroom that I would love to copy in the real thing. I've got some ideas about that and I'll be blogging when it all comes together. If you do a Pinterest search for succulents you will be blown away at the beautiful plants and projects including weddings using succulents instead of flowers. I may be late to the bandwagon but I've totally climbed on board! 

And now, I've discovered this!!!


Love that painting. LOVE it! When I take a stab at a painting of my own I'll post it here. Ah, succulents, where have you been all my gardening life?

I'll be joining the parties on my sidebar. Come visit and see all the creativity in blog land!

So Cheap Halloween Fun Decor with Poster Board

This Halloween project is so easy and so CHEAP that you can do it every year with your kids. Read on and have some fun decorating for Trick or Treat.

On a trip to the Dollar Store, Insanely Creative Christy and I got to brainstorming about cheap Halloween decor for my front windows. We thought of the silhouettes Martha Stewart shows on her website so we grabbed 6 sheets of black poster board at 2/$1 and came up with these decorations.

We did this in one afternoon and we got the giggles doing it. It was alot of fun.



Christy came up with the idea of the monster eyes and claws coming out of the louvers. They look awesome.


She added crow cut outs and then  cut out the window shapes from my drawings on the poster boards. We used double stick tape and waited impatiently for twilight to see how it all looked.


Hey, that looks pretty good with just the flash on my camera. But wait, there's more...

Here's how they look after dark. Pretty cool, huh? And we still had poster board left. So Christy cut these out and stuck them up in my kitchen windows. Forgive the fuzzy pics, I was laughing at the time....


So cool and so cheap. They will look great on Halloween night if we don't scare the neighborhood kids away!

Now we are thinking how we can use poster board for Christmas decor and other holidays. Hmmmm, when we come up with something I'll be sure to post it here.

I'll be posting this to the fun linky parties listed on my sidebar, come check them out for some great, creative projects.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

You CAN Repair Your Blue Jeans!

Yup, everyone's got 'em. Those once expensive blue jeans with mysterious rips and blow outs at the seams and pockets! 
 The Welding Man will wear his jeans as long as there are seams and not much else but for the rest of the fam, sometimes we want to salvage our jeans and our dignity.

You know what I'm talking about...those gaping holes in the involving the the whole crotch area. View the disasters below.....

Unfixable, right? Just throw them in the rag pile and start pinning "Denim Projects" on Pinterest, because these blue jeans are done for. But wait, you CAN fix these. I'll tell you how!

 There are companies who repair denim for a pretty price, but why do that when you can do it yourself with similar results? I'm learning how to repair denim and I'm finding out that it is not a hugely expensive or complicated process. Here's how....



First, I straighten out the pants so the torn area lays flat. Do NOT trim the edges of the hole. I cut a piece of lightweight cotton or even tee shirt knit that covers the hole on the inside of the pants. If you use denim your repair will be thick and bulky and feel stiff. Choose something lighter but strong. Cut your patch bigger than your hole, you can trim it later. Try to keep your patch color in the blue color range, tho hardly any of it will show when you are done.



Here is one of the crucial steps for a successful repair. COLOR MATCH YOUR THREAD for the best blend. You can actually find thread called "Denim" that is a nice mix of blues. I chose from the thread I had on hand for the closest colors. I will be buying more shades of blue thread because, as you can see, nothing is exactly right. In the repair process you will address this color matching by using different shades of thread as you stitch. In the photo above the thread is too light in color, even though the repair is a good one. I'm learning as I go!




Baste or pin your patch in place on the inside of the pants. Be sure to overlap all seams generously. You can trim the excess later. Better to have too much patch material than less. Here is my first attempt at denim repair of the holey pants shown in a previous photo. As you can see the thread color is crucial to a disappearing repair, but this is a good patch. It is strong and will last longer than the original denim.





Look closely to find the "grain" of the denim and using STRAIGHT stitches only, follow that grain as closely as you can. Most of the time the grain will be diagonal. I've tried different stitch patterns above and you can tell which stitch disappeared the best. Go slowly and make adjustments as you go. Sew back and forth in closely spaced lines to cover the entire hole. DO NOT trim the excess torn denim threads around the edges of the hole. Use a needle or seam ripper to lay them down beneath the stitching as you
sew. This makes your repair stronger and helps your stitching to blend into the surrounding fabric.
 I have learned you can layer another color of thread on top until you get a match you are satisfied with.




And here is a before and after of a pair of blown out Logger jeans. I asked him how he managed to destroy such a significant and necessary area of his pants. The answers were instructive and amusing, lol! 


I'm starting to get the hang of this. Now I have a whole stack of torn up jeans to repair and I tell myself I am saving a whole stack of money, too.  If I start charging for this as a service should I go by the size of the original tear or by the time it takes to fix it? Like most things, I'll figure it out eventually!

I'll be linking up to the parties in my sidebar. Come visit and share your own projects. You'll be glad you did.