Friday, June 27, 2008

The Husband's Style

My husband is totally a crafter too, but of course, he does much more "manly" things. Like welding. And carpentry. And masonry. You know, stuff like that.

He's got a bit of a medieval streak in him which is reflected in his work. He designed and welded this queen sized bed frame out of steel several years ago. It's incredibly strong and very sturdy as it's connected along the base with thick beams of steel.

(It is for sale, so if you or anyone you know might be interested, please don't hesitate to contact me.)

He's also been looking at these steel drums he's had for years, fantasizing about what to do with them. We have plans to make rain barrels with them that will collect the rain off the gutter that always overflows and have an exit valve at the bottoms so I can water the gardens by gravity based water flow. But he did have a few of them... so one day on his day off he got a brilliant idea to make a grill that's more his size and style. So he cut the drum into a base and a lid and added the base, chimney, fancy handle, grates inside and even took the thermometer off an old gas grill that was going to the dump and put it over the handle.

One grate is larger than the other, so we can remove the smaller one, put the big one in the center and put charcoal on the sides to avoid direct heat. It's much more versatile and can really heat up! He said the first test run he thought the thermometer wasn't working, but it was just so hot inside that the needle had gone all the way around back to zero!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Initial Pins

I threw a garden party shower for my friend who was getting married last year and pulled furniture out into the yard, set up badminton, made a champagne punch complete with a floating star shaped red ice block served on a tea cart and asked all the ladies to wear dresses and possibly hats! It was loads of fun to plan a fancy garden party like that. I decided I wanted little favors, so I cut every girl's initial out of Shrinky Dink paper and baked them all into these hardened letters and made them into pins for them to wear.

Each initial was glittered in varying colors with fine glitter that comes in the tube at the craft store. The lady of honor's initial was detailed a bit more with a pink outline on her "E".

I glued flower gems on them for flair of course.

Here's one of the finished pins:

One lesson I learned while doing this project is to be really considerate of surface textures and adhesives. I was kicking myself after gluing the pin attachment onto the very smooth plastic back of the Shrinky Dinks with a glue gun. In retrospect, I should have sanded the spot first, or used another adhesive like Gorilla Glue because the glue gun glue tends to become very hard, very quickly and has a smooth finish to it, even on the contact point. It is very effective on a more porous or abrasive surface than something so smooth. I could have avoided the frustration of reattaching the pin backingss to the ones that came unattached during the day, or finding lost initials in the grass after the party was over. But the idea was great and the project was fun and the girls just loved them!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I love Christmas!!

In my opinion, one of the best things about being a human is Christmas. It's everything about it I love. The spirit, the kitchy stuff, the music, the trees, the movies, the memories, the decorations, Santa, the kids, the food, the lights, the love. I'm totally in love with Christmas. It reminds me of how wonderful all that was when I was little and still is. Christmas crafting allows me to totally regress back to that kind of innocence with my mother and sister which is very special to me. Here's a couple Christmas crafts I have some photos of. I'm sure there are more that I'll get to.

Mom and I made these pipecleaner Christmas trees and then simulated water globes by attaching them to a wooden base and gluing a small fishbowl upside down on top of them. First we had to glitter the heck out of the insides though of course to simulate snow.

These are what I like to call "dollop Santas". I believe I got this idea from either Mary Englebreit or Charlotte Lyons... can't remember. I made the first of these when I had some left over paper mache and wasn't sure what to do with it. I just made some blobs, let them dry and then painted them red with white faces and little dots for eyes and then attached a teeny tiny beard. So cute.

I made this Nativity set for Mom about 8 years ago after college out of Sculpey. Each figure is made from the clay and then baked and the set is paper mache.

And of course, no Christmas home is complete without the most important message! I followed Mary Englebreit's example in making these letters for Mom to display at Christmas time, as she is equally hardcore about Christmas as I am.

TV Tables

A couple Christmases ago I had the idea to decoupage TV tables for my family members, but there's always a problem when you decoupage with lumps, tackiness of the sealer, and durability especially under wet conditions, like a perspiring water glass for example. So after planning the style of table I would make for each person (five in all) to accentuate their personality, I talked to the husband about epoxy. The epoxy we agreed upon is what they use to make lakes in model train sets. OH MY GOD. Epoxy is amazing. After the tables were designed and decoupaged, we took them to the garage and put them on newspaper. Then I mixed the two parts together to create the epoxy and poured it over top of the tables being careful to wipe the edges and attempt to make it even and smooth all the way over the surface. The epoxy dried to a plastic-like finish and the tables are totally durable in every way.

This one was for Bob, my stepdad and has cowboys and maps all over it:

This one was for Mom and was covered in flowers and garden things:

And this one was for my sister and has an Asian flair:

There were two more, but alas, I don't seem to have pictures of them. One for Dad with pinup girls and retro pink cars and another for my stepmom with fancy vintage ladies on it. This was a great idea and really made an impression if I do say so myself.

The Chest

This is a chest of drawers my mother in law purchased unfinished that I painted and decoupaged for her for Christmas a few years ago. It was a crowning achievement and one of my favorite creations. The entire thing was painted with acrylic paints and finished with many layers of Anita's polyurethane. I discovered Anita's and fell in love at once because it is less tacky than Mod Podge and for a piece of furniture like this, tackiness would not be cool. I also used Anita's for the decoupage on the top and sides. The scenes on the drawers were done freehand. This took me a few months to complete working on weekends and evenings when I had the time.

She is a spiritual person and loves music, so the sides and top were decoupaged with quotes and pieces of sheet music.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Awaaaaaayyyy we go!

Well, my mother and I are big time crafters and after years of creation, I think it's about time to catalogue what I can and keep track of things I'm working on and things my mother is pumping out at a rate of 10 to 1 comparable to me. *sigh* That's ok, she's got 22 years on me and less interest in making time to devote to technological hobbies as well.

I do all kinds of needlework, painting, sculpting, crafting, folk art crafts, knitting and crochet, mosaics, and plenty more while also maintaining my interests in homemaking, gardening and playing video games and carrying a full time job.

This site will be dedicated to the creative projects I take on.