Category Archives: Crafty

snipping snowflakes

Standard

2012-12-18 053I went a little snowflake crazy this year!  I have always enjoyed cutting snowflake designs from paper, and I have some that I made out of regular white computer paper years ago that I iron and keep for use from year to year at the Christmastime.  Sometimes I hang them from string from the ceiling; sometimes I add them to my tree decorations; sometimes I scatter them about.  This year, I bought an extra Christmas tree so I could let the kids decorate one and I could make a snowflake wonderland out of the other.  It was beautiful.

Disclaimer: I live in sunny Southern California and I don’t really like snow, but I think snowflakes are beautiful!

2012-12-18 032This year, I tried cutting snowflakes from coffee filters.  I have read about this method for a long time, but as I don’t drink coffee, I never had any filters just laying about to try it.  So I finally went out and bought some.  And, let me just say: I am a convert!  Filter snowflakes are so much easier.  The round shape makes it a snap to fold (in half, then in thirds, then half again), without any wasted paper.  2012-12-18 039The filters are much thinner than copy paper too, so cutting is also cleaner and crisper (and easier).  I cut dozens and dozens of snowflakes this year.

2012-12-18 014Granted, the paper snowflakes hold up better hanging on my Christmas tree, but the filter snowflakes were perfect draped on my garland and scattered about on surfaces for decoration.  I even started getting a little creative in my designs.

I’m rather proud of this snowman flake:

2012-12-23 002I made smaller snowflakes to decorate my packages as well.  It made the simple gifts more personal and festive.2012-12-18 054

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowflakes help make my Christmas decorations a little more merry and bright!  And they are a super affordable way to add quite a bit of impact.

2012-12-18 020

2012-12-23 009

chinchilla pilla’

Standard

I made another custom pillow for some cute friends who recently got married.  I knew they had some pet chinchillas that they love, so I came up with a design that would pay homage to their beloved pets.  I sketched out a simple graphic shape that reminded me of a chinchilla and cut one out of light grey and one of dark grey felt.  I played around with different design positions, but ended up liking the bold graphic effect of this reverse mirror image one.

As with the Star Wars pillows, I hand stitched the felt to the white fabric, just around the outside edges.  I considered stitching face and leg details, but in the end I opted for simplicity.  I really like the way it turned out.  It looked nice on my grey velvet couch before I wrapped it up to give away.  I hope this pillow is happy in its new home.

a lion in wait

Standard

I have always wanted a grand piano, a dream that has recently come true for me (see earlier post).  And somewhere, in that dream, I also wanted a stone lion curled up underneath that gorgeous hunk of black wood.  I have always had a thing for cats (okay, it’s a minor obsession), but I guess a GRAND piano needed a GRAND cat, so I’ve always pictured a lion.  A few years back, long before I knew a grand piano would be a reality, I found a wonderful looking lion statue at Big Lots.  It was plaster of paris (or some other non-stone carving) and it was painted a dark grey, but it was a nice size and shape, and I knew I wanted it.  But, fair cheapskate that I am, I was not ready to pay the $50 (or more) asking price.  So I waited until the end of the summer season, and when they were 50% off and they still had about five lions in stock, I gambled again and waited for 75% off.  Luck was with me, and I finally snatched up my beauty for a nice discount.

Of course I didn’t have a piano to put it under at the time.  In fact, I really didn’t have any room anywhere in my house, so it sat among the potted plants on my front porch.  By the time we packed him up with the rest of our stuff for our house remodel, he was looking a little beat up.  The paint was flaking off all over, and he was dented and chipped in several places.  I got some patching plaster and filled in the missing gaps, then bought a can of Krylon Make It Stone! Textured Paint, Black Granite color (with 40% off coupon of course).  It covered nicely and evenly, and it made my lion look brand new!  In fact, he looked better than he did when I bought him.  I am a great fan of spray paint!  I also added a coat of clear varnish sealer to help keep him looking good.

Before piano day, the lion happily guarded my fireplace, and I really loved him there.   But my dream had always been for him to live under my grand, and I’m happy to say he is perfectly at home there too!  Isn’t it nice when things work out just the way they are supposed to?

scrapping the digi way

Standard

I enjoy digital scrapbooking, and my favorite site for inspiration and products is the Shabby Shoppe.   They have such fun papers and digital kits (lots for free download), and I also really enjoy their scrapping challenges, like the one pictured above: template challenge 24.  Here’s what I did with it:

The templates are always 12″ x 12″ square, but I prefer scrapping in a 8-1/2″ x 11″ format, since I print out the pages to insert in the plastic sleeves of my kids’ memory books.  So it is always a bit of a challenge trying to figure out how I am going to adapt the square design into a rectangular one.   This time, I thought the zig zag pattern looked like it would be a nice background for a climbing picture, so I zoomed in on that part of the design.  I used papers from several different Shabby Shoppe kits and liked how they all blended together with my photos.  There are some super talented scrappers on that site and it can sometimes be intimidating, but I just go with my own style (and I’m one of the rare ones who scraps in the rectangular format) and enjoy it for my own purposes.

Here are a few more pages that I enjoyed putting together:

This one I made up on my own.

This was another template challenge.

This one was for a speed scrap challenge, which are the most fun to me. I actually won a prize for this page!

 

a round green coffee table

Standard

This is a vintage Paul Frankl cocktail table that is selling for $5,800 at Downtown.  It is absolutely PERFECT for my room, but there is NO WAY I can afford nearly six thousand dollars for a coffee table.  Thus began my search to find a suitable replacement.

I knew it would probably be hard to find a green table, so I attempted to find a round table that could be painted.  I wanted something between 36″ – 42″ in diameter, preferably nearer the larger dimensions.  I also did not want something too low (we are tall in our household, and I am not a fan of low slung furniture).  I was willing to spend up to $500 if I could find the perfect piece, but I was hoping to spend about half that.  No luck at any price (except, of course, in the $1000++ bracket).

Next I turned to craigslist, where I actually found a French Provincial round table done in a shabby chic white with a broken foot for only $30.  The dimensions were perfect!  I figured it wouldn’t be hard to sand and repaint to suit my purposes.  I snapped it up.

Unfortunately, the seller did not disclose that the top of the table was very badly warped and bubbled from being outdoors or in the rain or something.  The warping did not show up on the pictures.  I hesistated about finalizing the purchase, but the shape and scale of the piece were perfect and for only $30 I thought that I could do something….

Sanding did not made a dent in the swollen areas, although it did help break down some of the crackle finish of the paint.  The part that was broken on the foot was minor and hardly noticeable if you faced that side to the fireplace (which I did, of course, and I never did fix it).  I figured the only thing to do was to raise the rest of the table top to level with the swollen places.  However, with the scalloped and bi-level detail fo the top, it seemed difficult at best to pour some resin or other product on top and to achieve a nice edge and finish.  Plus I wasn’t sure that was the look I wanted.  In the end I decided to try papier mache.

I ended up doing three layers of papier mache, letting it fully dry and sanding between each application. It worked pretty well and cost me just pennies (I used a flour and water paste with a little salt added to make sure it dried more thoroughly and to give me a harder finished surface).  It was still a bit rough, even with the sanding, so I used some wall patching mixture (thinned down) to smooth out the rough edges, and then sanded again.  It never got completely smooth, but I was happy enough with results to move on to painting.

(I might also note that somewhere in the middle of this process I brought the table inside to show it off.  When I carried it back outside to keep working on it, I dropped it on my bare feet and smashed up my big toe horrendously.  You should thank me for not posting a picture of it.  This is the pain and suffering we endure for a bargain!)

With two $3.50 cans of spray paint, I ended up spending less than $40 and I am quite pleased with the result.  I even had enough paint left over to spray paint a mirror in the front entry.  I am pretty happy with my version of the high end design, even though I had to work through several challenges (and a sore foot) to get there.  The color is great in my room too.  I knew I wanted green!

star wars pillows

Standard

I was on a throw pillow kick a month or so ago (I’ll have to do another post to show you the pillows I got done then), and I had this vision of an R2D2 inspired throw pillow.  My hubbie is a bit of a Star Wars fanatic, so I thought it would be perfect for the couch in his office.  As it turned out, though, I had a wedding to go to for another Star Wars fan, and I decided to experiment on the pillow as a gift for his reception.

I started making some sketches of the blue designs on R2.  I didn’t want to be exactly literal in my design–I wanted something simple enough, but obvious too.  I really liked how it turned out.  I’m still looking for my sewing machine power cord (grrr–it’s one of the main things to have gone missing during our whole house remodel), so I ended up sewing on the felt pieces by hand.

I knew I wanted a second pillow, but I couldn’t come up with a C3PO design that I liked (nor a Darth Vader or Yoda).  I looked around online and found this great Wookie pillow! It looked simple enough and graphic enough to both complement my R2 pillow and easy enough to finish in my limited time frame.  As there are no fabric stores close to my house, I went to Walmart hoping to find some brown fur or other soft fabric to work with.  Nothing.  Then I thought of a blanket or a towel.  Bingo!  The brown bath towel was only $3, and I will have enough to make a second pillow for my hubbie!  It may not be as furry as a Wookie, but I think it worked excellently in a pinch!

I am super proud of how these pillows turned out.  My hubby loved them and is ready for his set of pillows (haven’t gotten to those yet), and my youngest son is begging for his own R2 pillow (although he has already pointed out some modifications in the design for his version).  The couple who received them as a gift have given me positive reviews as well.  I posted a picture on facebook and got lots of friends ready to order their own pillows as well.  Too bad I have no desire to go into business….

It was a fun and pretty easy project.

a cool yellow lamp

Standard

I saw this yellow lamp shade at Target a week or two ago and knew that it was something I wanted for my living room.  However, I also knew that I wanted a yellow lamp base to go with it, and Target didn’t have what I was looking for.  I shopped around at plenty of other stores as well as the internet, but still was unable to find the kind of yellow lamp I wanted.  I decided to paint an old brass lamp that was collecting dust in my garage instead.

 I actually had TWO of these brass lamp bases (doesn’t everyone have one in their garage?) to choose from (here I show you the one I did NOT choose, mainly because it was the shorter of the two).  I roughed up the surface with sandpaper, then sprayed a coat of primer.  Then I sprayed several light coats of the yellow paint I picked out.  It was harder to find yellow spray paint than I anticipated: I checked Home Depot, Walmart and Michaels before finally finding an appropriate shade at Lowes.  I used Valspar Satin: Golden Maize.  It matches the shade perfectly (which was lucky since I didn’t have the shade with me when I picked out the color–I just kind of knew what I wanted in my head).

I think it turned out great, and it looks stunning against my purple walls!  It was just the pop of color and pattern that I was hoping for.  Now all I need is a side/accent table to put it on.  The one it is sitting on right now is a little table I just bought for a steal, thinking I could fix it up and paint it, but I realize that it is just not going to work, so I will take it back to the store this week.  The search goes on.