Friday, September 30, 2011

Halloween Fun in my Etsy shop!

This red haired witch design is one of my most popular paintings. Besides the black roses and the October tree, the sponged edges are full of skulls, bats, pumpkins and spiders. So much fun to paint!

By special request, The Welding Man made me some rusty cutouts for Halloween years ago and we've been selling those designs ever since. Love the heavily rusted finish which is sealed for vintage texture. There is also a rusty Halloween cat in my store.

Ah, I love this necklace design. Last year Martha Stewart picked it for her Best of Halloween Gallery. That happened the same week I was diagnosed with breast cancer, so this necklace represents all the positive things that came after that. Counting my blessings, oh yes!

I've been painting my vintage style Halloween banners since 2007. This is a popular design with LOTS of fun details. I LOVE the color combination of bright orange and black.

Every kitchen needs a bit of Halloween style, and this spooky skeleton towel set is just a little bit scary and a lot of fun. I have two different spooky styles this year!

I make these ornaments every year for our house and I always list them on Etsy. They look good hanging or grouped in a cloche or basket or as accents for that special Halloween tablescape.

One of my favorite banner designs. This one just SOLD out of my shop.

A group of my banners hanging on our porch. What a traffic stopper! These originals have all sold but I repaint new ones from these designs every year. Love the colors!

I have lots more listed so please take a moment to stop by my shop. The button is on my sidebar. You never know just what you will find! Thanks!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fun Pincushions For My Craft Room

Here is the sad pincushion I've been using for years and years. I put it together in a hurry and it sure looks like it. But hey, it worked!

Now we've moved and I'm setting up a new studio and I decided that I need something fun and colorful and whimsical that would make me smile. Heck, why only have ONE pincushion? I decided to make several so there would be one at every work station.

I started with a collection of random wineglasses left over from my Parents' 60th Anniversary Dinner Dance. I spray painted them in the colors I've chosen for my creative space...turquoise, red, ivory and black. I cut out muslin circles and sewed various lace trims across them, stuffed them full with polyfill and hot glued them in place. Then I started embellishing. LOVE this rose trim, I've got loads of it.

One of my rosette necklaces draped over the top gave me the direction I wanted to go. So pretty! Great timing, too, as I have just sold this necklace in my Etsy shop.

I haven't hand sewn in a year so I wondered if I could still manage to make rosettes out of 1/4" ribbon. Turns out I can!

Here's how the turquoise pincushion came out; so pretty, frothy, romantic and colorful. LOVE IT!
And here's the red one. Along with the rosettes I added buttons and tulle poofs. Love the heart pins on top!


And the black one. I added silvery leaves recycled from a pair of heavy earrings. Perfect accent!

And the tall white one. This one is specifically for threaded needles so the thread can hang down the side and not get tangled with the pins. I added the bit of primitive star garland on a whim and really like it. The muslin rosettes are hot glued, not sewn, and they worked wonderfully.

Here they are all together. When I walk into my crafting space they draw my eye and make me smile. Isn't that how you are supposed to feel when you're feeling creative? Soon I'll have the whole room put together and I'll post a tour.

I'll be linking up to the parties in my sidebar. Come take a look, you will find some wonderful inspiration and projects.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Me, now.

Ladies, thanks for all your positive thoughts and wonderful messages while I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer this last year. Through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation your many friendly messages were a cheerful part of my therapy.

So where am I now? Well, this is me in October of last year as my hair started to go, about three weeks after my mastectomy and into intensive chemotherapy.

See the hospital gown? Yeah, I'm getting drains out at this visit.

This is me in December of 2010. Hairless with drawn on eyebrows and a large collection of hats and scarves. Tired tired tired. Deep into chemo.

February 2011. Free wigs from the American Cancer Society! Chemo almost done, ready for radiation. Wigs and bright lipstick and fuzzy scarves are my fashion mainstays.

And here I am with The Welding Man at my parent's 60th Anniversary Dinner Dance in August. I made it! Still have five years of medication and lots of mammograms ahead but feeling almost as good as I felt before I was told I had breast cancer.

So, I'm still here. Rocking a bit of a Judi Dench look.

Except, Judi Dench has longer hair, lol!

I'm starting to get my creative and blogging mojo back, and trying to regain some of the momentum for sales in my Etsy shop, which were building nicely way back last fall. Onward and upward, I say!

I said I would not turn my blog into a cancer blog and I haven't. But ladies, believe me, it's those breast self exams and get regular mammograms. I had pain in my armpit which led me to discover the lump in my breast. Take charge of your own care and pay attention to your body!

This is me, now. Thankful and counting my blessings. We live in the same town as most of our kids and grand kids and we have family get togethers once a week. So thankful that I'm around to enjoy life and make the best of things.

And thankful for all of you. Bless you, ladies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No Spray Paint for this Chair Planter

I wanted to make this worn out dining room chair into a garden chair planter, but I knew it needed some help. I thought maybe I would spray paint it bright blue since I'm nuts about that color, but I did NOT want to sand all the nooks and crannies and curvy bits on this chair. What to do? Dry brushing to the rescue!

Here's a shot of the original chair. Curvy and sweet but the peeling varnish makes it unsuitable for a smooth coat of spray paint. So I sanded it just a little to knock the loose flakes off and loaded up my brush with exterior white paint then blotted most of the paint out of it. When it was almost dry I started painting the chair.....

Sweet! Look how it made this old chair look shabby chic and country style and downright vintage. LOVE it!

Here she is (funny that now she's painted she's a female. Whassup with that?)


I popped the cushion off with a screw driver and now have a perfect receptacle for a planter.

Ooh aah. The lime green trailers and the vinca and the mint and the blue glass balls are perfect together. Even my little gnomey guy is smiling.

And here's another angle. I love how this chair turned out with the wash of white paint! Much less work than sanding and spray painting, and as it weathers in the coming seasons it will just look more shabby and chic. I call that a win win! goes with my drybrushed kiwi crate table and my whitewashed ladder with the drybrushed baskets. Is nothing safe from my new favorite painting technique?

I'll be linking up to White Wednesday in my sidebar. Come check it out, it is always loads of fun with lots of beautiful ideas using white.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Broken Mirror to Painting Save

What do you do with a FOUR FOOT wide cracked mirror? Well, I know what I'd do and then I did it.
I saved this totally cool cracked mirror in its AWESOME frame with spray paint,
tissue paper, Mod Podge, craft paint and clear sealer.

Read on to learn the details.

I started out with a beautifully framed mirror but ended up with this painting. How in the world did that happen?

It started out as a $7 Goodwill find with a gorgeous frame and a loose mirror.
 Four foot long and two and a half feet wide, it was perfect for our master bedroom,
right above the bed! Loose mirror? No problem!
 We tried to tighten it up. On the last turn of the last screw, it broke.
 Man, I nearly cried I heard that crack!

What to do? The frame was still good. Why not turn it into a painting instead?
 Can't fix the mirror so I figured why not cover it up?

I turned to my tried and true method for covering up and adding texture.....crumpled tissue paper and mod podge! I taped the crack on front and back with clear packing tape.

Then I spray painted the frame with Oil Rubbed Bronze but I thought it was too Goth looking,
so I high lighted it with an over spray of nice Leather Brown.
 See how the tissue has dried to a nice pearly opaque textured finish?

Time to paint!

 I knew I wanted something as a vivid blue focal point, so I began layering shades
 of blue, lavender, teal, purple and black around a white circle. There is also a
bit of pink and dark green in there. The crumpled tissue really
grabbed the paint and gave this a nice interesting texture.
 I knew I wanted a branch with a nest and some eggs and
here is how it ended up.

I like it!

 I even used my favorite new paint tool, a Deco Color paint pen, to add some of the finer details.
 The Welding Man likes it too. And you know what?
 If I get tired of this I can always repaint it as something else.
 I'm adaptable that way.

Here's a close up of the nest with four eggs since we have four kids. Sure, they're all grown and flown now but since we've moved we all live in the same town, how cool is that? We see them all so often that our empty nest isn't really empty after all!

Ah, the carefully staged bedroom photo! What you can't see is the rocking chair on my side piled with clean laundry and the pile 0' shirts on The Welding Man's side of the bed. Also brought in some couch pillows since I haven't made more for my bed. But they're on the list!

So in the case of this cracked mirror with the fabulous frame,
it wasn't really a disaster. Gotta love that.

They're Not Pallets, They're Kiwi Crates

Here's our private carport patio mid-project. See the chunky vintage style, shabby chic, countrified white table? Guess what it's made of......not pallets, no. Kiwi crates!

Stacked here by our new fence is one of the best deals I've ever scored...4 kiwi crates from the grocery store! They were in the grocery store parking lot with a sign that said "FREE!" and I couldn't believe my great luck. They're two foot wide by four foot long and a foot deep....they are very sturdy with the look and vibe of wood pallets but they are finished boxes all ready to use for a great project!

Our carport/patio needed a table in front of the daybed/couch and two stacked kiwi crates worked nicely. The Welding Man screwed the boxes securely together with the top one upside down and boy howdy, is this table tough! Now it is ready to paint. I used exterior latex in Country White.

I didn't want to cover the rustic goodness of that pale wood, so I used a dry brush technique and gave the stacked boxes a nice skim of color. In dry brushing, you don't use a lot of paint but blot your brush out til the color is almost gone, then highlight your piece with a bit of paint. I like it because I don't want things to look brand new but vintage and used and a bit shabby chic. Dry brushing does it for me.

Here is the kiwi crate table after a layer of drybrushed white. I love how the pale wood shows through the paint and makes this look like a farm table that is decades old. The paint brings out the texture of the wood without hiding it.

And here's the view from the daybed. We took off two side boards so there would be a shelf under the table and it is just the right height for putting your feet up & reading a magazine. I've even done a painting project or two sitting right there. Because of it's rustic vibe I don't worry about spills or protecting the surface. I LOVE this table and I've got a standing request in at the produce market for more kiwi crates.

Ooh ahh! Now I get to finish the rest of the patio...with more blue glass on the shelves and dry brushed baskets, many more big pillows....more fun for me!

They are the perfect size and height for raised planting beds and if I can get enough then I've got next spring's garden all figured out. Don't get me wrong, I still love good old wooden pallets but kiwi crates are my new obsession. I've got to get me more of these!

I'll be linking up at the parties in my sidebar. Come check them out and see some great projects!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Paint Pen Project #1

Sept. 17th update-this project has been featured at the Power of Paint Party over at Domestically Speaking. Thanks, Maryann!

Domestically Speaking

Since my cancer treatments ended I have been s-l-o-w-l-y getting my creative mojo back. I found I could not yet do fine detail with a paint brush, so when my son's sweet wife asked for a personalized plate for her kitchen I knew it would be a challenge.

Luckily, I found and tried the new generation of paint pens and boy, howdy, I think I'm hooked!

Here is how the plate turned out and I am MORE than pleased with the finished project.

I used a beautiful burnished wooden charger which won't break if dropped. It was a Goodwill find, of course! I just LOVE the black design on the rich wood grain. LOVE IT.

(Note to self-Go back to GW for the rest of those chargers, pronto!)

Paint pens have a notoriously bad rap and the old ones were hard to use....gloppy, prone to over saturation and hard to control. Anyone else remember tapping the moveable tip to try and get just a little paint and getting a whole puddle? Horrible. Also, they stunk something awful. This new generation gives you great control and wonderful coverage and they don't smell so bad.

I started out with a penciled design but soon branched off to extra curlicues and lots of dots. Lots. Crisp and clean and easy. I am hooked. The paint is thin enough for fine lines and dries very quickly.

Now I'm wondering how they will do on other surfaces, like paper, canvas and even fabric. They come in dozens of colors. I would be so jazzed if I could make my own fabric with song lyrics written in longhand. Designer fabric with script is expensive, plus it is not very personal.

Aargh, out of focus shot! The pen I used is by DecoColor though I am sure there are other new and improved paint pens out there. I grabbed this one when I went to buy a new liner paint brush and I'm glad I did.

I won't be giving up my paintbrushes for big projects, but I'm thinking this new generation of paint pens might be perfect for fine detail on those same designs. Have some ragged edges on that painted or stenciled project? These paint pens might be just the ticket to clean em up and save what could be a creative disaster.

I wonder if the ceramic paint pens have improved a bit? I can think of lots of projects on glass, ceramic and tile. Ceramic paint makes the project washable. My mind is clicking with ideas now. I'll update you on what else I find out.

I'll slowly be getting back up to speed and posting on the parties in my sidebar. Come on by and see what interesting projects are being posted, you never know what will spark your own imagination!

Pretty Faux Wood Grain Glass Table Top? Yes, Please!

We have this corner on our front deck that needed a convenient table and I also wanted  it to be pretty. Here is what we came up with and m...