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.

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!


Saturday, November 7, 2020

BIG Two Foot Wide Wreath from a Hula Hoop

I wanted to make a BIG wreath for our door. It had to fit
around the rectangular window so I knew it needed to be 
at least 24" wide.

A trip to the Dollar Tree gave me great ideas, including using a hula hoop base.


I bought a hoop, a foam noodle and loads of colorful silk decor in 
autumn colors and spent less than $15 for everything.


I split the noodle lengthwise and hot glued it to the hoop so the wreath would be 
flattish on the back side and plumpish on the front. 
Those are technical terms, right?

Then I wrapped the foam and hoop in burlap type fabric. 
By the way, the Dollar Store also has the best deal on lotsa sticks of hot glue for a buck.


Let the fun begin! I ended up cutting the leaf clusters off the garlands and
 gluing them in place among the flowers on the front. 
This eliminated any bulk on the flattish back side.

Just a side note...still LOVING the penny counter we put on my kitchen island this summer.

What a fun way to spend an hour or so...attaching pretty colorful flowers
 to a giant wreath for autumn decor!


Oooh aaah!
It's the perfect size to go around the window in the door 
and it's exactly how I pictured it.


Bonus close up shots just because.


During the year I'll hit yard sales and thrift stores for more
colorful things to put on this wreath.

Hula hoop door wreath...I think we have a winner!




Easy DIY Lighted Autumn Hurricane

Here's a unique...and easy...DIY for stunning autumn decor.
I "filled" a tall hurricane glass so that the garlands and lights stood tall
inside the glass.


I scored this 20" tall hurricane glass for $2 at a yard sale 
and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.


I had Dollar Store leaf garlands and white twinkle lights in my stash
 so I wrapped them together to make one string.

The problem was they would not stand up and fill the glass. Even wiring the garland to the top edge of the glass didn't fill the glass the way I was picturing.

Here's the simple solution!


Take a dowel that is just a little shorter than your glass. 
Cover it with some autumn paper or paint it to match. 
I used leaf printed napkins and wrapped them around diagonally.

NOW, wire your lighted garland to one end, making sure the plug end for 
your lights comes out at the top or bottom, as you wish.


Tada! 

Your pretty lighted garland will stand up and
 fill your glass from top to bottom!



I loved the look so much I did the same thing to a tall pasta jar 
and put both of them on top of a tall bookcase. 
The mirror behind them reflects the colors and lights
 into the room and looks dazzling.

I did a safety check on both containers and found the lights were only warm, 
not hot, so this display is safe.

My kids are kind of blase with all my decorating projects but my grandkids 
and great grandkids still react with wonder and delight 
when they come to visit our autumn house.

So, easy DIY lighting project plus kids' smiling faces?
Win win!


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Easter Eggs to Giant Acorns DIY

I am ready to start decorating for Fall so I crashed my stash and
 found these large size Easter  eggs from the Dollar Store.
 I knew I could make something perfect for my autumn decor...


...and here's what I did with them. 
I made giant acorns!


I like them alot!

Here's how...I started by painting the eggs brown with craft paint.


I cut ovals out of burlap and hot glued them around the eggs with plenty of pleats. 
Let the glue cool completely. 

I used a deconstructed pine cone for the first one I made but I wasn't thrilled with the way it looked.
 I decided to make the next ones using only the smaller, 
rounder end of the eggs. Plenty of hot glue held wrapped garden twine
around the top of my acorn shape.
I like the way this one came out!


A short twig makes a nice stem and now I've got this figured out. 
Then I made several more and displayed them in a wood bowl with
 my home made faux moss balls.



So which ones do you prefer? The wrapped twine toppers or the pinecone parts? 
Either way they sure look good and are perfect for my autumn tablescape.
The total cost is $1 for six eggs and another $1 for the garden twine.

That's a win win in my book!


Monday, August 3, 2020

Repaint That Door Mat!

Got an ugly old black door mat on your porch?
Remake it into something PRETTY with paint!

Here's how....


         

Here is our old black door mat. Not worn out by any means and certainly not pretty.

By the way, this is NOT my idea but when I saw it online I decided to repaint our mat right away. 


I used black spray paint first then two shades of blue Rustoleum for plastic for the basic color blocks.



Then I used regular craft acrylic paint to detail the black areas and clean up the colored curlicues.


Then sealed with clear acrylic spray and let it dry in the sunshine.
Oooh look!!


Only a couple of hours and it came out so pretty!


 I already had everything I needed for this project...door mat, spray paint, brushes, craft paint and sealer so it didn't cost me any $$$$

Aaaaand....I have three more door mats ready for painting!
I'll post those here on my blog as I do them.
Such a fast, fun, thrifty and neat project!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Turquoise Chalk Paint Coffee Table

Here's the short story....
I painted this mid 70's "Mediterannean style" coffee table with turquoise DIY chalk paint.


And here's the longer story....

Back in '82 we had a TOTAL LOSS house fire. 
We refurnished our home with auction finds like this very heavy, 
very BROWN, very well built coffee table.

Three full grown adults can STAND on this coffee table.
Four teen age girls can DANCE on this table.
Five toddlers can race their Hot Wheels round and round this table.

We paid $7 for it 34 years ago.
Yup.


About ten years ago I repainted the top in a fun pattern that added all my living room colors.

Brown, turquoise gold, red...you get the picture.

Yeah, I'm kind of a color junkie.


Then I did THIS...

using a DIY chalk paint recipe.



I topped it off with brushed on, wiped off Minwax Polyshades in Olde Maple.


Chalk paint recipes are EVERYWHERE online. I used this really simple one.

1 cup latex paint
1/2 c baking soda
3 TBSP water


I masked the top with regular masking tape. It did a fine job on all the edges.
This chalk paint recipe adhered REALLY well. It was a little bit gritty but I wanted that effect. Be aware of this if you use the baking soda chalk paint recipe!


I couldn't find my sanding block, and even though the hardware store is less than a mile away, I used this to sand the edges....


Don't tell me you've never done something like that.

Here is the door with just chalk paint and with the Minwax stain. 

The door is molded plastic. The chalk paint worked great. 
The Minwax was a bit messy but I fussed with it until it looked like this.
And below is how she looks now.

I LOVE the way this came out!


Again, the before and after.


 The chalk paint adhered very well and the Polyshades gave her just the right worn out vintage aura.

Because, folks, even tho she's pretty, we don't treat her very well. Lol!


This table is the Official Grandbaby Play Platform Put Your Feet Up And Set a Spell Stand On Top To Sing Karaoke And Dance to Uptown Funk Table!!

They don't make coffee tables this sturdy anymore. 

So, here's the cost breakdown....

Turquoise Apple Barrel Paint      $2.50
Olde Maple Minwax Polyshades  $7.00

Total...less than $10.00.

I already had paint brushes, cleaning rags, baking soda, assorted brushes and of course, an emery board, in my stash.

This took me less than 3 hours to paint then overnight for the paint to dry.
I brushed then wiped off the Minwax the next morning. I used half a dozen rags during this part.

The stain was dry by late afternoon and she was back in service that evening for a family dinner.

Cheap, pretty quick and an outstanding result.
I call that a win win!