Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A craft project a day keeps the boredom away-String Art

Like most of America, I am finding myself at home.  My "day job" hours were cut down and I'm now working remotely. The church is canceled, the youth center I volunteer at is closed. Even Operation Christmas Child activities are halted. My normally busy life is being rearranged to help control the spread of Covid-19.

I know a couple of things about me. First of all I like keeping busy, and two because of that I need downtime. So yesterday being my "office day" today became my first day of "social distancing."

 One of the things I knew I wanted to reconnect with and slow down to do was "something creative" everyday. I have been in the process of moving for 6 months. So my craft area is getting packed up.

Enter in this fun kit I found at the thrift store. It was a string art kit from Hampton Art.

I found it for $5 at  my local Goodwill and figured it would be a great way to have some creative time as all supplies are included. Bonus it said "It is well with my soul" a phrase that has had special meaning to me lately. It seem especially fitting for this time.

I was able to finish it working on it periodically throughout the day as I was doing laundry and working on dinner and the like.

I cannot wait to hang it in my new house! It's a good reminder that with my trust in the Lord, no matter what life throws at me, my soul is secure in the hands of the Lord.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Inspire Canvas

A simple flat panel canvas turns into an "inspiring" decoration with Mod Podge and some simple embellishments.

After creating a base layer of Mod Podged scrapbook paper, I layered the cut out shapes and the "inspire" wording. When dry, I added some lace trim and buttons. The finishing touch was the adorable charm I created using a Craft Fantastic Charm Tray. The flower charm was designed to be a necklace but I flipped it upside-down and hung the bird charm off of it. 

I loved the results and this canvas became a wonderful decorative touch to my craft area! 

**Please be advised that Plaid Enterprises, Inc. has compensated the designer by furnishing Plaid product at no charge in connection with this posting. 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

From Ugly to Uglier!

What's a gal to do when she has an ugly sweater party to attend, and doesn't want to wear the same sweater as last year?   

I love wearing costumes and ugly Christmas sweaters are no exception. This year we had two different "Ugly Sweater Parties" to attend. Not wanting to wear the same sweater to both parties, I decided to do a bit of a "make-uglier" to a thrift store find. The vest I found had good "bones," the wool fabric and  colors worked for Christmas and I thought I could carry through the eclectic button look with my design . Plus there was a lot of empty space to create on. 

Grabbing some embroidery floss, I went to work. I decided my theme would be "duck the halls" (bah-dum-dum-ching!) I started by adding the wording to the right side of the vest. 

I decided to embroider "free hand" because the houndstooth provided guidelines in a sense for me to follow. I simply counted checks to get my lettering right.

I then concentrated on the tree. I wanted my little duck friend to help decorate the tree. Cutting out three triangles of wool felt, I  layered them, appliquéing them with a simple basic stitch to hold in place. I then added the trimmings. For garland, I used an upholstery trim, I loved the gold and felt the loops on the trim gave it more of a "garland-y" feel. 

To continue on with the button theme, the sweater already had going for it, I grabbed some buttons from my vintage button jar, to add as ornaments. The star on top was a purchase from "Dress it up." To finish it off, I took apart, a blinking light necklace. Starting at one end I tacked it down towards the bottom, then looping around by the ducks mouth, I continued on over the tree, stitching it into place, to hide the battery pack, I cut a hole into the wool near the top of the tree, stitching it into place. To give the battery pack some extra support I used a safety pin. By pinning it vs. stitching the battery pack, it allows me easier "spinning"  to untwist the casing when it comes time to change the batteries. 

My sis-in-law, helped me put my hair up into a french twist that I then adorned with curly-q's of ribbon tied to bobby pins. (The up-do was more for the fact I was going to be serving food and didn't want my long hair to cause problems. I added the ribbon to make it more festive.) I finished off the look with a holly covered turtle neck. After all you want to "Duck the Halls" with "arms of holly" ;)  (I quack myself up sometimes! ) ...Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Art Chair

A friend approached me asking "Would you be interested in decorating a chair?" The town of Morris, IL was trying something new; an "arts festival." The idea was to gather local artist, musicians, actors...really anyone creative and art lovers and celebrate the arts in the first ever "Liberty Days Arts Festival." The cumulating activity would be a auction of decorated chairs with the proceeds going to the charity.

Stores in town were encouraged to sponsor the decorating of a chair which would be displayed at their store during the festival and then auctioned off for the charity of the stores choice. The charity chosen for the chair I was creating was the Christian Youth Center of Morris. I volunteer at the Youth Center couple of days per week and was excited to help them raise money.  I immediately said "yes" but with a bit of "fear and trembling." I had an idea in my head and hoped it turned out as well in real life.

The first step was finding the perfect chair to paint. For this feat, I visited our local Habitat of Humanity ReStore. I love this store. Not only can you find fun furniture pieces and building materials on the cheap. All proceeds go to help Habitat for Humanity build houses for our neighbors in need!

Finding a fun chair with some character at the store, I set out to sand it down, and tighten some joints with wood glue and prime it for painting. I decided that my theme was "It's about time" and wanted the chair to allude to the inner workings of a clock, with gears, cogs, and springs, and numbers.

Priming with black, I planned on having a graphic mosaic design, so I used tape and vinyl number stickers from Elmer's to mask off areas that would then remain black when I removed them after painting. I used Liquitex professional paints, both heavy and soft body, because I didn't want to have to repeatedly add layers to my design. After the  colors dried, I then stenciled gears and cogs onto the yellow paint using stencils from Deco Arts' "Americana-Mixed Media" Collection.

Painting and sealing complete, the only thing left to finish was the decorative touches. I  love the look of the coiled watch springs, so I created some with flat jewelry wire from "On-a-Wire," coiling it around at first a dowel rod, then itself. These springs I glued along the bottom of the back. Drilling a hole in the upper part, I installed a battery operated clock movement on the back of the chair.

Supplies used: Chair-(ReStore), Liquitex paints-professional heavy body and soft body, DecoArt Stencils-Americana Mixed media; gears and cogs, timeless treasure, Minwax- PolyAcrylic, Elmer's -Board Mate Vinyl Letter and Numbers, Art Minds (Michaels)-Clock Movement Kit 5/8", On-A-Wire(Hobby Lobby)-5mm flat aluminum wire, Scotch-3M fine line tape, drill, dowel rod.

I love the way it turned out....(and it brought in $170 at the auction! woo hoo!)

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Necessity is the mother of invention

So I went to use my trusty Marvy Echida heat embossing gun this morning. I innocently plugged it in and then it went "poof," sparked, caught on fire and melted the cord. Now I'm not an electrician, but I'm smart enough to know I probably shouldn't use that embossing gun again...
R.I.P. 1999-2015
 Yet I had hearts covered in embossing powder waiting to be heat set...then I remembered!!! Back in the days "BG" (before heat gun) now we are talking ohhh 16-17-18 years ago or so, we played with embossing powder  and melted it using the heat from the toaster. So off I trekked my powered covered hearts to the kitchen to see if I could get it to work.

I had to be careful not to burn my hand. I used a piece of scrap cardstock, but though one toaster cycle (on level two, or lightly browned toast) I was able to heat set all 9 of the hearts I made. I made sure to keep the cardstock about 2 -3 inches away from the toaster (It looks closer in the photo) I also made sure to check the back side occasionally for scorching.

But as you can see, it worked!!
 Now the only question remains...anyone have recommendations on a new heat gun??

*Author only used this method as she was in a bind. She does not endorse said method, and advises anyone reading this to try so at their own risk!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Puff Dollies

What do you do when someone donates 300 "potpourri dolls" to use for shoeboxes gifts? You remake them into "puff dollies."
These ancient kits came with everything you needed to create a potpourri doll (except the potpourri.) There was preprinted fabric circle skirts, the adorable doll head, and cute little arms. 

All that was needed were a few simple stitches and some stuffing instead of potpourri!

So a huge thanks to our volunteers that assembled nearly 300 of these dolls for our shoeboxes! I know there are some little girls out there that will LOVE THEM! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Meet Dorinda!

Meet Dorinda. I met Dorinda when I became an Area Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child 6 years ago. We hit it off right away! 

Dorinda is on my church and community relations team. In her free time Dorinda sews. She sews bags, and dresses and pillowcases. Dorinda and her mom Vae actually converted Vae's garage into a fabulous "sewing room" because they both love to quilt. There is workspace, and machines, and a long arm quilting machine. 
These wonderful ladies know how much I love packing baby dolls into shoebox gifts so they make it their goal to keep me in doll quilts for my "babies". Check out their amazing work!

Aren't they sweet??? I found a fabulous deal on "baby bottles" (they are actually party favors.)  So I tucked a bottle in with the babies and now bundled up and ready to go on their long journey!