Hey, it's what I do! Welcome to my creative arts blog!

Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my own unique creative projects. I'm eight years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Paint Pen and River Rocks, Gotta Love Them!

One of the best things about our family vacation spot is the private swimming hole
 with its wonderful  sandy beach in the curve of the nicely landscaped yard. 
 The weather was perfect, the house was excellent
 and the swimming hole was fantastic.

I spent lots of time on the water and sitting in the sun with a book, 
and then I remembered I brought a paint pen to try out.

I usually use acrylic paints and paint brushes for these projects
 but this paint pen won me over!

The biggest rock is 5" across and the smallest (the skull rock) is about 2" tall.
 Once they are sealed with clear acrylic, the subtle colors of the stones brighten up
 and make the black paint really stand out.

 We left one rock with our hosts as a thank you gift. They loved it!

Now I'm thinking of taking a bigger rock and painting our address on it 
then using a paint pen to dress it up with some swirls and curlicues. 
 How easy would it be to really do a fancy paint job on a pumpkin for Halloween? 

 And what about a tree design on a table runner or a pillow?

I'll be bringing paint pens with me on vacation from now on!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Rustic Pebble Table From a Five Gallon Bucket

I wanted a couple of small side tables for our deck and decided to make them out of what we had on hand, which includes five gallon buckets, recycled pallet boards and Dollar Store pebbles.

Here's a link to the first bucket table I made with a blingy top of beautiful glass gems from the Dollar Store. I like it but it seems too...fancy for our front deck.

So I knew I wanted to make something a bit more rustic and farm style. 
Back to the stash of five gallon buckets I go and add more salvaged pallet boards.
 Our nail gun makes this part quick and easy.
I put five nails in each board then bent them down for safety.

Our local Dollar Store has these bags of pretty polished pebbles in stock all year long. This project took two bags since I picked thru them for flatter stones. I added larger flat stones from our gravel garden paths and used silicone to attached them to a thrift store microwave plate. I think the plate cost $1.35 and I also got a discount!

I put a blob of silicone about the size of small cookie on the plate, then smooshed the pebbles one by one into the blob, giving each of them a twist to seat them in the silicone. The silicone dries clear and looks like the pebbles are sitting in water when you are done.

I really really really like the rustic look and country charm of this version of my bucket table!

The warm wood and colorful stones are just a natural pairing and with the silicone 
they look like they are floating in water. LOVE IT!

Perfect for a nice morning cuppa before the day heats up. I am liking this little 
table more and more as I keep looking at it.

 So here's the first version of my five gallon bucket table with blingy 
Dollar Store glass gems. I like this one too!

Plus, just like the other table, this pebble table is totally weatherproof 
so it can stay out side all year if I want. And the cost? Minimal.
Here is the breakdown....

five gallon bucket on hand 
reclaimed pallet boards on hand
one tube of  silicone caulking $2.97
2 bags of Dollar Store polished pebbles $2 total

2 hours of time with our nail gun and then with a caulking gun.

The silicone sets up quickly and after an overnight wait this little table is
 ready for use anywhere outside. 

I call this a win win!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Repainted Dollar Store Butterflies

I just couldn't leave well enough alone...so I repainted these metal butterflies for my garden!

Before.......................................and after.

I found these metal butterfly stakes at the local Dollar Store and immediately made plans to repaint them for my garden.

I used two colors of spray paint to give me more of a turquoise color to complement our front deck.

Using a fine paint brush I followed the contours of the stamped metal. I added the tiny vein details to each wing then added some white dots. You can see the veins in this close up but not so much when it's outside in the yard. I also added a bit of glitter paint.

Wow! I love the pop of color against the bright green. Notice you can't really see the glitter when it's outside. But in my colorful colorful garden this blue butterfly really holds it own!

And here is the Monarch version of my Dollar Store butterflies. What a fun project this has turned out to be!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

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 (any print will do) 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 are advisable.
Done correctly, you need never touch the etching creme
 with your bare skinat 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 that is stuck to the glass and 
ready to cut out with a razor knife. 

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! 

It smells like rotten eggs, too.

Be sure to work in a well ventilated space. 

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 cream can do its work. 

Better to leave it on longer for a good etch. 

It will not hurt the glass or burn through the contact paper 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 this 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 Tree 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 Tree and thrift stores are chock full of unique glassware. 

Just think of the possibilities.

You can do this!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Wintry Snowflake Chandelier-Dollar Store Decor

Okay, here is the early 90's brass and glass chandelier in my dining room. 
I'll give you a moment to bask in fond nostalgia.

Yeah, well, we're still living with this chandelier until I find exactly the right fixture and can wave a big ol' bag o' money at it, so right there it is going to stay. It's just so....brassy and perfectly functional and by the way, The Welding Man loves it just the way it is! 

So here are a couple of my ideas for coping with it's golden funkiness each season. Dollar Store to the rescue! 

Years ago I saw Martha Stewart's pretty hanging autumn wreath light and it stuck with me.
 So in October I decided to make my own version with several autumn leaf garlands around 
and around and around my light's brassy framework but
 without the candlelit mini pumpkins.
 We tried it with and without the glass panes and the glass just 
gave it some extra shine at night, so they stayed. 

Ooh! I like it alot and it is a sure sign of Autumn in my house.

Come Christmas time and wintry weather, I hit my stash of Dollar Store decorations again and found many different styles and sizes of snowflakes. 
We took off the glass panes and hung the snowflakes willy nilly,
 just like they would be in a blustery winter storm.

With just a few icicle strands here and there and oooh! I like this alot, too! Even in the daytime in natural light the layered textures of silver, white, and glittery gold and silver pack a beautiful festive punch.
Even The Welding Man, who does not like it when I mess with "his" light, thinks that this is very pretty!

Note-If you hang enough Dollar Store snowflakes on a brass light fixture you can mostly hide it's golden shininess!

And kapow! Here she is all lit up! She is dazzling!


Ooh aah! So pretty! And with the cold, wet, rainy, snowy winter weather hanging on, I'm leaving these snowflakes on my chandelier at least until Easter!

Which version is better? Daytime or night time? I like them both but the daytime 
chandy looks more wintry to me. 

Go figure.

The Welding Man will be glad to know  I won't be replacing his chandelier anytime soon. 
But I can sure mess with it and make it pretty, can't I? 
 And maybe I'll learn to appreciate it's brassy vintagey vibe? 
We'll just have to wait and see, lol!

Thursday, December 3, 2020

No Vinyl Cutter? No Problem! Make Freezer Paper Stencils for Tee Shirts this Christmas


I made this cute Yoda tee for my son's birthday. I decided to go for something a bit more complex than just a simple "nerd" tee shirt, and boy, do I LOVE how this came out!

First I  found two designs online that I knew he would like. The design on the left is from the movie Pacific Rim and it is the insignia for the Jaeger warrior robots. I decided to go for Yoda with the headphones.

I printed the design in black and white then taped a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down
) over the top. Make sure your freezer paper is a generous size so you 
won't have any designs cut too close to the edge. 
I used a razor craft knife which gives me a new, sharp cutting edge just by breaking off
 the blade at pre marked sizes. I also tape my design and freezer paper 
to a mirror for good light and a nice sharp edge on my cuts.

I simplified the design a bit and premarked with an x for those parts which would be "free floating" and not attached to the rest of the design when I ironed it down. I prefer to do the floaters this way, other makers make narrow bridges to the rest of the design and then hand paint the bridges out on the tee shirt once the stencil painting is done. It is up to you!

Here is Yoda ironed to the tee shirt, using a hot iron on a padded surface and NO STEAM. The wax paper layer on the freezer paper adheres nicely to the tee shirt when it is ironed, giving you a clean and immovable stencil.

I prefer a mottled look to my tee shirt projects so here I have mixed black and 
white acrylic craft paint with  some textile medium (which is clear). I use a third of each
 and use a make up wedge to mix them up.

Place a piece of cardboard inside the tee shirt then straighten it out on your work surface. Here you go!
Pounce, or bounce, your painting sponge, or brush, straight up and down in each area of your stencil. Do NOT rub back and forth or you will lift the edges of the paper. Put on a light layer at first then go back and add more paint until you like the coverage you have. Remember, the paint will dry a lighter shade.

Do not wait until the paint is completely dry. Your stencil will stick to the paint! While your paint is still damp, carefully peel the freezer paper away from the tee shirt.  
Oooh aaah!

I always add dry brushed high lights to give the designs a bit of dimension. This gives the already custom tee shirt design an even more unique look. As for laundry instructions? I wash these tees just like I do regular tee shirts but I turn them inside out. Cold wash, tumble dry. They hold up quite well and over the years the slight fading doesn't detract from the design. All in all this is one of my TOP favorite craft projects.

Our family gives out a TON of custom tee shirts at Christmas and this year will be no exception. In fact, I am starting to get special requests for sayings on tee shirts that will only have significance to the close family. Gotta love that! 
This is a simple and inexpensive project for gifts or home decor all year long. You should try it out. You can do it and then you'll be hooked!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Stars from Drinking Straws-Himmeli!

 A few years back I noticed that these geometric Himmeli creations were getting alot of attention. 

Traditionally a Finnish craft using wheat straw,  

they were made for Christmas  and holidays, and just for fun.

Long years ago, Life magazine had a feature article on Himmeli stars 
made from drinking straws and our family made them for Christmas that year.

Now that plastic drinking straws are being phased out, this craft is perfect 
for the supplies still on hand.

I found this box of 1000 in a thrift shop.
These can also made from paper straws!

I cut the straws in half and strung wire through them to make a series of triangles
 then attached them together to make the geometric ball in the center.
 Leave the extra wire attached to trim away later when you are finished.

It will seem floppy and look a mess until you have attached enough
 triangles to give the ball structure and strength.

Wire three long straws together and attach to the triangles that for your center ball. 
Soon you will see how your spiky star ornament will look! 

Carefully tighten the wire attachments and trim the ends. 
Now you can hang your beautiful Himmeli star or spray paint it a 
fun color or even, what fun, cover it with glitter!

And NOW I'm getting oh so fancy and using black straws for this 
next wonderful project.

Here's the start......

A gorgeous Himmeli light fixture (with a low heat bulb of course!)

I will write up another post when it's done!