Showing posts with label Crafts. Show all posts

Mrs. Mix-A-Lot

Abstract art.  Anybody can do it.  Seriously.  You can even get all fancy by mixing colors and adding some gold leaf like I did.  I found this tutorial by Virginia at Live Love DIY and didn’t even wait until naptime to start.  Turns out, if I work on top of the (unheated) stove, I can get a lot done without little hands seeking and destroying.  :) 

diy abstract art

For this art project, I used two 11 x 14 inch canvases that I bought at Hobby Lobby (it was a two-pack on sale for $7.99).  I also used paint and brushes that I had laying around at home.  First, I dumped some paint directly from the pot onto one side of each canvas (I was going for a half-sided look).
photo 1 (6)

Then, I painted about 1/3 of one side of each canvas by starting at one edge and pulling the paint down in lines.  I didn’t use sweeping, back-and-forth motions, but just kept brushing down down down all the way across the side of the canvas.  Also, painting down towards the middle of the canvas vs. from middle to end gave me an unfinished edge where the paint ended, which is what I was going for.
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Since I was going to add some gold leaf and more color, I didn’t drag the paint down all they way to where I wanted it which was about halfway across the canvas.  I figured I’d use more gold paint when I mixed it with the other colors I wanted to use so I’d finish pulling it down then.

So, when the gold paint was dry (I waited about six hours), I grabbed a glue stick and just smudged it onto my gold paint in random areas
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[The purple spots are glue – I used the Elmer’s glue stick that goes on purple and dries clear.]

Then I grabbed a sheet of gold leaf and laid it over the glue spots, patting it down lightly to make sure it was stuck for good.
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I waited another six or so hours until I was sure the glue was dry, held the canvases over our big trash can, and brushed off the excess, loose gold leaf with my fingers.

Next up came more paint.  I pulled a few colors out of the Last Supper to use on my painting – gray acrylic, a coral-red latex, light blue latex, and white acrylic – and I also grabbed the gold to layer onto the existing gold and extend the end of my paint line to about halfway down the canvas.

I waited until naptime to do this part to make sure I wouldn’t have to stop after I had started and to add a little more calm to the whole idea, I grabbed the Moscato.  Wining and dining painting.  The way to go.  :)

First I added more gold.  Then I just put random spots of color onto the canvas (I did one half of each canvas at a time to ensure I had time to mess around with the paint before it dried but I think I probably could’ve just done the entire thing at once) and brushed each dot into a big splotch (abstract talk, I guess?), trying to also mix it in a tad with the still-wet gold paint.
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I brushed in one color at a time and wiped my brush off onto a dry paper towel between each color.
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I tried to brush color around each gold leaf spot just so the gold leaf looked more incorporated into the painting…if that makes any sense at all. 

I hung them before the were dry (rebel!) and that was that! IMG_5795


So, have you ever tried your hand at abstract art?  Maybe you have a five-year-old that has because, like I said, anyone can do it.  :)

.           .           .

I’ll be back early next week to drag this collage project out into one more DIY and then I promise it’s enough talk of it.  We’re in the middle of painting our living room, entry, and hallway (again) so there will be lots to share and show on that soon!  TGIF!

Take & Eat

I think watercolor might be my new favorite medium.  I like it because it kind of has a mind of its own once you put it on paper.  It just sinks in and marbles a little depending on how much water/paint there is on your brush.  Mistakes can just be attributed to the mind of the paint vs. the hand of the artist unlike thicker paints like acrylics and oils which need to be maneuvered.  However, and that’s a BIG however, I’m no professional artist.  I’m not even an amateur.  I’m a very beginning beginner when it comes to painting as an art so you should probably let my opinion on the subject go in one ear and out the opposite. 

That being said, I used a watercolor technique to create the ‘take & eat’ art in our new gallery wall. IMG_5792

I didn’t use actual watercolor though; I used black acrylic paint mixed with water because I didn’t have any watercolor and wanted to use what I had on hand.

  photo 1 (1)
My other supplies included a plate (an old one I use exclusively for painting), an 11 x 15 in. piece of watercolor art paper, a cup of water, a paper towel (that I didn’t end up using), and a paintbrush (included in a pack I thrifted but originally from Michael’s).

I didn’t get any pictures of the process of painting this because I was in a big hurry; hoping to start and finish this and another painting project before the kids woke up.  Sorry!  I’ll try and explain the process the best I can.

The first thing I did was write out the ‘take & eat’ onto my watercolor paper as lightly as I could with a pencil.  I’m not good enough to paint without guidelines.  :)  The lighter the better in case any erasing has to happen.  I really like this Asterism font, so I tried to copy it as best I could.

Then it was time to paint.  I grabbed my brush and dipped it into my cup of water and then into the little puddle of paint I had poured out onto my plate.  I repeated this a few times until I had a little puddle of watered down paint.  To paint, I dipped my brush into my diluted paint, brushed some excess paint off onto a clean part of the plate, and drug my paintbrush away over my pre-penciled on design, grabbing a little more paint every couple of inches. 
 photo 2 (12)

The paintbrush I used was pointed at the end vs. a flat-edged brush.  I tried to vary the thickness of the lines I was painting by only using the tip of the brush for thin lines and the thicker middle part of the brush for thicker lines. 

Up close, you’ll notice a few mistakes.  The ‘a’ in ‘take’ has a rough left side and I could’ve made it thicker to fix the edge but I was too afraid of it looking too thick so I just let it go. 

IMG_5802My lines are far from perfect and my hand wasn’t 100% steady (thanks to being in a hurry!) but I don’t mind the imperfections.  :)

I had to buy watercolor paper (I bought this pack from Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon) but had everything else I needed for the project so, if you factor in the fact that I only used one of the 12 pieces of watercolor paper in my new pack, this little project cost me under $1. 

Cheap and aesthetically pleasing…just like I like it.  :)

Goldie Toes Jr.

Bethany made me do it.  Okay.  Maybe it was my own fault, especially since I’m now a repeat offender.  Paint, you guys.  It makes the old new and the new old and the boring fun.  Take for instance, these shoes:10686777_795591188170_4696237025952177932_nI bought both of them secondhand for $3.50 each awhile back.  So cute for cheap, right?  The pandas had the girls at hello but the pink?  The pom on the toe, while it was cute, needed to hop on the next plane back to Whoville….making these little shoes the perfect specimens for some cap toeing.

So, for starters, after I got the pom off the front of each (I just used a seam ripper), I gathered my supplies – a paint brush, some painters’ tape, and gold paint (I love my Martha metallic gold!). 
    photo 1 (12)

Then I taped off the fronts where I’d be painting the 2 (19)

Last, I painted the toe and ripped the tape off right after I was done, while the paint was still 3 (8)
(I went back in later and pulled out those leftover threads you can see in the above pic when I was done and touched up the paint.  Also, the paint I used dries a lot more metallic than it looks when it’s wet.)

The shoes have a strap, as you probably noticed, but the girls can get them on easier by themselves without using the strap and the shoes stay on great without it, so I ended up just cutting it out a few weeks ago. 

I did this one day in the five minute time span I have between giving the girls their lunch and them yelling “all done” (little bro was napping).  It was so simple!

photo 5 (6)
Top >> Kohl’s,  Cords >> Thrifted (Old Navy), Sweater >> mine from Rue 21 (XS on me, XL on her :p  ), Beanie >> mine  

I love them because they go with pretty much everything the girls own.  And did I mention that I painted these a few months ago?  I’m so behind on posts y’all.  Point is, they still look awesome and they’ve probably been worn over 30 times outside of the house on one twinkle toe or another.

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Soooo, any card-carrying shoe painters out there?  What about other random items?  Profess the power of paint!

Ornament Decorating for the Tots

A bunch of my friends got together for an Advent ornament party this year – you’re assigned a day or two of Advent and given a list of supplies you’ll need to collect to be passed out at the party where you’ll walk away with a potential ornament for everyday of Advent.  It was such a great idea and I can’t wait to craft up the ornaments we got with the girls but I’m waiting until next year when handling glue and paint won’t be as chaotic.  If we didn’t have Sebastian roaming around I think it might be doable this year but as it is, I’d rather have him and wait a year to be on my guard with toddlers plus craft supplies.  :)

But, the idea of letting the girls create their own ornaments doesn’t have to wait until next year.  It would’ve though, if I hadn’t stumbled upon these nifty geometric, paper mache ornaments at Hobby Lobby last week.
 photo 1 (19)
[They were $1 each, on sale.]

With a little bit of crayon, I thought they’d make for perfectly imperfect ornaments.  So, first I primed them with some white spray primer (Rustoleum).  It’s really not necessary to prime them.  I did because I figured the girls coloring would show up better on a white background vs. a tan one.  After the ornaments were completely dry, I handed the girls their crayons and let ‘em go to town on their ‘ormamens’.
     photo 3 (3)photo 4 (6)

Last, in the spirit of experimenting, I took a blow dryer to the colored ornaments to melt the crayon wax.  I thought maybe it would branch out in spider-like branches, giving the ornaments a cool abstract look but such was not the case.  They didn’t look any different blow-dried.  So then I took my finger and swirled around the blow-dryer heated wax.  The result was a watercolor-ish look…or a mess, pick your thought.

photo 1 (18)
She’s very light-handed and delicate when it comes to coloring.  I had to get her to color on her ornament everyday for the last week in order for the coloring to be dark enough.  :)

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She loves dark colors as you can see and she colors with a vengeance – attacking her ornament with stabs and spurts of intense scribbling.  :)
Like I said, they’re perfectly imperfect.  :)  It was fun to watch the different ways the girls colored; it was like watching their personalities emanate out in color and art.

And speaking more of imperfection, in the best way, here’s our tree this year:
photo 5 (2)
I’ll put up some better pictures of the whole tree with an actual camera instead of my iPhone when I type up a tutorial on our new DIY tree skirt.  Look for it next week!

We sold our old 7’ tree on Varage Sale (a Craigslist meets Facebook type site) this year and bought a new 9’ tree off the same site.  Now our tree fits in with the peaked ceiling in our living room and its slimmer figure doesn’t invade the room as much.  However, it does require a few more ornaments to bedeck it’s branches, being bigger and all.  I had great luck at the Dollar Store!

I found and love these little scalloped ornaments:
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They were in a pack of three and came in red and gold.

I also got a few of these green, sparkling ornaments there too:
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They were a buck each but they’re four inches in diameter so it was well worth it.

This is the earliest we’ve gotten our tree up and decorated since we were married seven Decembers ago!  It’s been so fun lighting it up and hearing the whispered, powerful ‘woooowww’s from the girls each and every day the lights flicker on.  And amazingly, Sebastian yet hasn’t terrorized whatever branches he can reach…knock on the faux trunk. 

See you next week with more Christmasy DIY!   

Advent Calendar & DIY Leaf Garland

A couple of weeks ago I hauled the kids to our usual haunt, Tarjay, in search of many things; one of them being an Advent calendar.  We’ve never had one in our little family and my family never had one growing up but it’s a tradition I want to start with our rugrats.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t too excited about Target’s selection but imagine my joy and surprise when my friend from college, Kristen, asked me the very next day if I’d want one of the ones she’d designed.  I took one look at it and my excitement went through the roof!  It’s gorgeous!  Online it’s beautiful but in person it’s even more so.  It consists of 26 cards, one for each day of Advent (duh) and on the back of each card is the reading for that day and a short reflection.  On the front is a watercolor design (each day is different!) illustrated by Clarissa Krajewski.  You can either purchase it in printable form (you print) or you can purchase a pre-printed one and have it sent to you.  If you’re still looking for a calendar this year, I highly recommend this one!  During one nap time last week, I got ours all hung and ready.  See?
It’s hanging in our kitchen, where we’ll be able to pray with it around mealtimes when we’re all in one spot.  I got a little crafty with how I hung it after a long naptime and a dose of ambition called my name last week.  I used twine I had leftover from this soap dispenser project to hang the cards and along the twine I strung leaves that I picked off some tree branches Anthony had trimmed off of some trees in our front yard last weekend.  I’m not sure what kind of trees they are but the leaves are similar to magnolia leaves in that they’re thicker, a little waxy, and stiffer, making them perfect for this project.  After I cleaned them (I just swirled them around in some water + dish soap in the kitchen sink), I used our hole punch to punch a hole at each end of each leaf.
photo 3 (9)
Then I simply strung leaf after leaf onto the twine.  photo 1 (13)All of that probably took me 20 minutes…not long.  It was actually so refreshing even if it was a tad tedious because while I worked I listened to Bonnie’s podcast interview with Kristen on This Inspired Life.  If you haven’t heard, you should lend your ear.  Bonnie tells about her now-four-year-old son’s run-in with death at his birth.  You guys, he had no pulse for 61 minutes!!  But he’s now a happy, healthy, normal little boy thanks be to Jesus and the intercession of Blessed Fulton Sheen.  That’s all I’m going to give away…go listen when you get a chance!  (Pssst…If you don’t have a chance to listen right away but are dying to find out more about this miracle, you can read about it here on Bonnie’s blog.)

Back to the leaves…after I was finished stringing, I grabbed my favorite gold spray paint (Metallic Accents by Rustoleum), hung the strands on our swing set, and sprayed each down with a couple of coats.
 photo 2 (14) 
You can even make strands like this to serve as garland for your Christmas tree or mantle or anywhere that could use a little sprucing!  Silver, gold, red, blue, sparkled…oh the options!

It bears mentioning that…I hung two stands, as you can see in the first picture, and strung and painted one strand at a time.  The only reason I’m telling you that is because I realized, while stringing the leaves onto the second strand, that I had picked EXACTLY the right amount of leaves to fill both strands.  It was crazy.  Here I was listening to Bonnie’s miracle and stringing, stringing, stringing until I was done stringing and there were zero leaves left but I was done stringing anyway.  Here are the two ends of my second and final strand to serve as proof.
photo 4 (8)
I had even gone outside and grabbed more leaves before I started this strand because I didn’t think I was going to have enough.  I know I’m rambling about it and you probably think I’m nutso, but let me just tell you, it was crazy.  Enough said.  :)

The last thing I did before I hung each card was hand paint a little arrow design on each clothes pin.  I used a small test pot of the color Sonora Rose (by Valspar) I had on hand and a small paint brush and went to town.  It only took me about five minutes.
And that’s it!  I had everything I used on hand making this project 100% free and man, I love those kinds of projects!  I love how our calendar turned out and I can’t wait to start praying with it!
[P.S.  I have hanging 27 cards even though there are only 26 days in Advent.  The “instructions” card was too pretty not to hang and the way that I hung the cards, it looked better to have an odd number of cards on top and an even number on bottom, so I included it in the bunch.  Also, I hung the calendar over the frame collage but I’m thinking I might take the frames down because it looks a tad cluttered.  I’m not a huge fan of that collage anyway and have been itching to switch it up so after Advent might be my chance…]

Do you have an Advent calendar tradition?  What about Advent traditions in general?  I’m looking to expand ours so do tell!  I can’t believe it starts next weekend!


Aye Aye Captain

Remember when I shared my friend Jesse’s amazing kitchen makeover? 
[before & after]

Well, I promised I’d be back with some tutorials involved and I’m making good on my promise by signing in today to tell you all about her captain’s mirror and how she made it.

Captain's Mirror pin 

    First, the supplies: 
An embroidery hoop
Two long belts
A round mirror
Spray Paint
A thread spool (with no thread)
A long screw
Beads (to be used as a spacer)

You’ll need a round mirror.  Most craft stores sell pre-cut round mirrors so you could just go snatch up one of those.  If you’re wanting to make a larger mirror than any pre-cut mirror available, you may have to get a mirror cut-to-size like Jesse did.  She purchased a large rectangular mirror at a thrift store and had it cut into a circle that would eventually fit inside her embroidery hoop.  (Note:  One thing she told me to mention was that she had her mirror cut before she bought her hoop which she shouldn’t have done.  Because she couldn’t find an embroidery hoop that was the same diameter as her mirror, she had to do a little custom fitting.  The point being, buy your hoop first and have your mirror cut to the size of your hoop.)

There are lots of size options when it comes to embroidery hoops:
Jesses Mirror (2)

As mentioned above, Jesse couldn’t find an embroidery hoop that was the same size as her cut mirror (20”) so she bought one slightly smaller.
Jesses Mirror (3)
To get her mirror to fit seamlessly inside, she set the adjustable ring of the hoop around the mirror, cut off the joint at the top, and cut a section from the fixed ring to fill in the gap.  (You can see a better explanation in the spray-painting picture a little ways down.)

To hang/add the strap to her mirror, Jesse used two belts she found at a thrift store: 
Jesses Mirror (4)

So that the belt buckles were both facing the same direction, she cut the buckle off of one of the belts and sewed it onto the end of the other belt.  After she did that, she had one long belt with buckles at both ends that would go around the bottom of the mirror/hoop and one long belt without any buckles that would ‘buckle’ into the buckles and serve as the hanging piece.
Jesses Mirror (6)

In case you’re a stranger to sewing, you could also just buckle the belts to each other, giving you one long belted strap.  Basically, you’d take the bottom belt in the picture below, buckle it to the other belt along the right side, and send it up and over, buckling it on the left side.  Hopefully all that makes sense.  :)Jesses Mirror (5) 

Once Jesse had her belts situated and sewn and all pieces of the hoops ready, she spray painted everything with gold spray paint.
Jesses Mirror (7)

Once the spray paint was dry, it was time to put everything together.  First, Jesse laid a string of beads down on the ground and laid the mirror on top of the beads. Jesses Mirror (8)
[The beads were laid underneath the mirror, touching the reflective side.]

Then she put the hoop around the mirror.  The beads underneath the mirror served as a spacer so that the mirror didn’t sit flush with the front edge of the hoop.  Does that makes sense?  If you don’t have beads you can use any few things that are the same size and, being set under the mirror, would lift it – a few of the same sized magnets, a few of your kids small toy rings, a couple of thin books, etc… 

Next she tied a piece of elastic tightly around the whole mirror/hoop to hold the hoop together and the mirror inside (you can skip this step if your mirror fits inside your hoop perfectly).  She also ran some caulk (clear drying) around the back edge of the mirror.
Jesses Mirror (9)

After the caulk around the back edge was fully dry, she stood the mirror upright and ran some caulk around the front inside edge.  When the caulk around the inside edge was dry, she removed the elastic and hot glued the belt around the hoop, making sure that the area of the hoop where she had to insert a piece of the fixed hoop was along the bottom of the mirror when it hung.  That way all the pressure would always be against that spot, making it stronger and less likely to come undone.


To hang the mirror, Jesse used an old spool of thread (with no thread on it) that she spray painted gold. 
Jesses Mirror (1)
She stuck a screw through it to attach it to the wall and placed a gold painted sticker over the top to hide the screw.


Cost Breakdown:
Embroidery hoop:  $4 (with a coupon at Hobby Lobby)
Mirror:  $10 (a rectangular mirror found at a thrift store)
Getting the mirror cut into a circle:  $10
Belts:  $4 (thrift finds)
Spray paint:  already had
Caulk:  already had
Thread spool & screw:  already had
Total spent:  $28
Note:  If you had to buy the spray paint and caulk, it’d be closer to $34 or so.  Also, if you bought a mirror to fit your embroidery hoop, you could easily cut out $10 or more. 

Not so bad considering…
captains mirrors

I’ll be back next week with a tutorial on her faux marble countertops!  I can’t wait to share that one…and use it!