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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Make Do Kitchen Island

Here is the realtor's pic of our kitchen before we moved in. Yes, it is full of real wood golden oak goodness. That means they will be easy to paint at some future point, yes? Creamy vanilla white in my dreams!

You see we have a generous open space right in the middle of the work triangle. After several family gatherings I told the Welding Man I wanted an island for the Thanksgiving fest to give me more prep space and also improve traffic flow for a buffet line.

The discussion is ongoing for the permanent fixture. But for a tryout we came up with this solution....

The two ancient, solid walnut nightstands we have kept around for decades. Back to back they make a 21" x 35" worktop, almost the size as my hoped for island.

We had a snack and movie night last week and tried it out. It really is convenient and well placed and a good size.

I threw an old tablecloth over it to disguise it's origins. Sorta.

As part of the ongoing discussions/negotiations, the Welding Man wants to put a top on the nightstands and call it good. That might work. But I can also picture a farm table type island, with a shelf (or two) underneath and a more open look. Altho the nightstands have storage built in. But they need to be painted.

With Thanksgiving looming ahead, we're going to give this a workout and come up with a compromise we both like. After 40+ years of marriage, compromise is the name of the game, baby!

Have a great Thanksgiving celebration and take a moment to savor the blessings in your life. I sure hope your day includes lots of laughter and tasty food.

Bless you all.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

3 Quick & Easy Decor Projects

I decided to put these three projects in one post, because I am rarin' to move on to my Christmas blogging. Can you say gifts and decor and great ideas?

Project 1-Here are the spooky Halloween branches from our front deck. By the end of a wild and windy week they were looking shabby and tired. But no problem!

Dollar Store clearance sale, two packs of fake leaves for a dollar. Score!
I took the cobwebs and bat garland off the branches and straightened them up in the urn with florist foam and duct tape. The urn, by the way, was a clearance item at Kmart for $1.66!! I added the leaves with hot glue and.......

...voila! Now it is a colorful vertical accent in the corner of the living room. I like it alot. And when I switch to Christmas decor, a blast of my heat gun will loosen those leaves so I can add snowflakes, etc. A bit of fabric draped at the base hides the foam and duct tape.

Project 2-This project uses a Dollar Store vine wreath and satiny fabric in fall colors. I made oversize rosette flowers, two and a half to three inches across.

I wanted them bigger so I could use less of them. I love the shiny sheen of the fabric against the two cream muslin rosettes.

Hot glue is my friend. Way way back in the sixties I would have wired all this stuff in place.Thrift store leaf bunches are the perfect touch, but not too many so the twiggy wreath can show through.

Project 3-Here's a quick way to dress up and display your pumpkins, real and fake. Taking more of those Dollar Store leaves, hot glue them around the rim of a candlestick, of glass, metal or wood.

Or, glue the fake leaves around the bottom of your pumpkin. This gives it a nice ruff of color.

Perch your pumpkins on the candlesticks for a colorful display. Here they are on my baker's rack, all switched over from my black and white Halloween. I added gold berry picks and propped it on the top shelf, along with a bunch of leaves in a spray painted bottle and my silver button blingy decor ball.

I'll be switching this all over to Christmas decor right after Thanksgiving. I'm wondering if I can pull off a black, white and silver Christmas theme on this rack. I guess we'll all find out!

I'll be linking up to the fun parties in my sidebar. Come check them out and join the fun!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

So Thankful!

Last year at this time we lived in a beautiful place with a gorgeous view. And every winter looked like this....

Align CenterIt was a gorgeous place with snow every winter. And power outages whenever the snow topped two inches, and frozen water pipes, and a snowed in driveway and a long drive to the hospital for my surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. We lived there 25 years so we knew how to cope, but when I got sick, this became the biggest problem for us......

...we lived far away from our kids and grandkids and had to drive over a 3800' pass to go visit them. This was the highway just before Thanksgiving of last year. Even with studded tires, that frozen snow and ice was treacherous.

Can you see the long icicles on the rocks? That's as close as I wanted to get to them, and I was NOT getting out of the car!

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Yeah, it was a long, hazardous drive but totally worth it. And we did it again at Christmas, usually in deeper snow. Or our family drove over to see us. For years.

Hello, ladies! The men are all in the other room.

Now we live in the same town as our kids and grandkids. My sisters still have a bit of a drive but no one has to cope with that snowy mountain anymore. By the Grace of God, we sold our old home and moved here very close to our family. We see them every week and plan some great holiday celebrations this year.

So thankful and counting our blessings. Yes, we are.

Book Page Leaf 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 alot 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.

Try it, you'll like it! If you make something using book page leaves, please let me know. Link back! Attach a pic! I'd love to see them.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lighted Autumn Hurricane

I scored this gigantic glass hurricane at a yard sale for $2. It is 20" tall and 8" across at the belly with a wooden base. I love it's size and how I can dress it up all year long. Plus, $2!! That still makes me grin.

Last spring I filled it with vine balls, book page decor balls, driftwood, monkey's knots, pine cones and my favorite green glitter dragonfly. I LOVE how it looked with a few of my cobalt glass pieces.

So this fall I restyled it for Autumn. Now it is a lighted accent to my Thanksgiving decorating. I like it. I like it alot!

I grabbed a garland and a short string of 50 lights from my stash....both Dollar Store buys from years past. I twined them together and stuffed them into the glass. The problem was, they all fell to the bottom and left the top of the glass empty.

The Welding Man suggested that I put a piece of dowel inside to support the garland, so here's what I came up with. To disguise the dowel I covered it with an Autumn leaf print napkin cut into strips. A bit of hot glue at the top and bottom kept the paper in place. We threaded it through the garland and used florist wire to hold it at the top. Then we plugged it in and I am pleased as punch at the way it looks!

Here it is at the corner of my "bookcase in lieu of a mantel" with my Thankful wreath, my faux stained glass mirror, my oak family tree painting and another, smaller, unlit hurricane. It really brightens up that corner and is a beautiful night light. I checked it often for too much heat from the lights and it is safe, just warm.

Now I'm thinking that smaller hurricane needs lights, too. I can put it in the corner of the living room with my Autumn tree branches. And for Christmas I'm thinking silver balls and ornaments and pine cones and a bit of greenery, all lit up!

I'll be joining the blog parties on my sidebar, come along and link up! There is a wealth of creative projects out there!


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Tree Painting Love

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I love to paint and I sell or gift most of my paintings. I've never had a lesson but instructional books and the internet have given me ALOT of pointers.

I was browsing through my Picasa albums and noticed how trees have dominated my work. Something about their silhouettes and curvy symmetry speaks to me. And, I love rich, rich color. Especially blue :o)

I sold this painting at an Art event last summer. The customer says it was perfect for her little boy's bedroom. She didn't have enough cash so we traded part of the cost out in goods from her own booth. We were both happy.

This is one painting I've put in my living room above my couch, which is chocolate brown. It really brings out the accent colors in the room, which are red and blue. I love painting all the tendrils and branches.

This is my design for a nice family tree. Once ordered, each bird "tweets" the family names in a curvy script. So cute and a wonderful anniversary or reunion gift, and it is one of my most favorited things in my Etsy shop.

A Christmas painting for my supremely talented sister with the Awesome Voice. Awesome, I tell you! Check her out on You Tube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxil3JqI_b4. She sings with the Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra, among others. Awesome voice, did I mention?

Here is a commissioned tree for a family with 19 kids, including three sets of twins. What a challenge to incorporate all of the birthstone colors into this tree.

This summer I recuperated from breast cancer surgery, chemo and radiation. Using a paint brush was beyond me for a while but then I discovered paint pens and smooth river rocks at our vacation house and voila! Trees on rocks!

One early version of the family tree piece. It didn't make it to the finish line but I really like that heart in the tree, so I've used it several times since then. I did have a good time painting all those little branches and twigs!

Another tree design I've dinked with a time or two. I've adapted this one for Halloween and used it several times. Kind of ominous, don't you think?

Another family tree painting, showing acorns and stylized leaves. Family names can be shown as curvy script by each acorn.

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Possibly my best seller, this Witch in the Wood design incorporates a spooky tree hung with lots of jack o' lanterns. I've painted this one several times, and those curly, twining branches are always fun to paint.

In the privacy of my own studio I can paint what I want and decide what works. If you've never tried painting you don't know if you'd like it or know that you might have hidden talent.

By far my most ambitious painting yet, and I did it from a Jerry Yarnell How To Book! The step by step instructions were excellent. With acrylic you can paint over your mistakes til you get it right. I gifted this one to my sister, Nancy, in 2008. Time to paint another one, I think.

Think you can't paint? Try it out. Find your style. Paint what you love. You might find that you like it!

And look what happens...I received a sweet comment from Lyndsey saying my paintings inspired her to paint a tree as a Christmas gift for her mother, and here it is.....

So pretty and well done! Here's a link to her blog post.....

Please stop by and check out her blog, this is a clever, clever woman. Thanks, Lyndsey, you rock!