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Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my own unique creative projects. I'm six years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Painting for my sister

I've loved painting for years but have never taken a lesson. I painted and tweaked and painted and did what I could to capture my ideas. Finally I began to buy some books that gave me important information and best of all, instructions. THIS is one of my favorite purchases.

Written and lavishly photographed by John Koury (copyright 2002), this book is luscious just to look at but best of all, there are scads of important tips and great instructions for painting the small details in nature.


I knew I wanted to paint something like this for my sister, Nancy, for Christmas. She loves the creeks and rivers of Oregon and the layered beauty you find there. So I jumped in with both feet.
Starting with the dark background, I added layered colors for the rocks both in and out of the water. I am so amazed when nothing becomes something in a painting. I always come to a point where it looks like it isn't working but I've learned to push through. Acrylics are my favorite medium since mistakes can be painted over and fixed. Mistakes? I've made a few. LOL!

It was not very big, but it was full of fun details. I enjoyed painting it!

Here's the finished painting. I eliminated the butterfly but kept the leaf. I thought it's beautiful detail was more than enough against the wet and dry stones. I also added the floating twig. I LOVE how this came out and Nancy did, too!

I painted this is 2009. In 2010 I quit painting because of my cancer treatment. My fine motor skills were iffy when I was deep in chemotherapy so nobody got paintings last Christmas. Instead I used simple freezer paper stencils to make personalized sweatshirts.

But you know, I'm feeling better and better. I've found I can still do fine crochet and hand sewn rosettes and even take on some bigger projects. I did a few paintings for my Etsy shop for Halloween using my most popular designs and I sold a few. That does it. Time to start painting again!

So, ahoy there, family! When you get a painting for Christmas, act surprised. : o )


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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blue and White Wreath Redo Fourth Go Round

I am thrifty (cheap, tightfisted, etc) as all get out and I love it when I can get LOTS of mileage out of my decorations. Here is our Christmas door wreath for 2012....the FOURTH seasonal redo of my favorite twig wreath form and I think it's my favorite version yet.

It fits over the arched window in our front door perfectly, so it's a keeper.


Ooh aah!

I knew all those cobalt, teal and silver ornaments I found at yard sales, thrift stores and clearance sales would look great on this twig wreath. I've been collecting them all year. I especially love all the glittered ornaments I've found. 


Last year this wreath started out painted gloss black, with three black roses and lots of eucalyptus and twiggy sticks. I added silk leaves, flowers and real pumpkins for our autumn Thanksgiving door decor. LOVE the contrast and the bright colors!


Then I got out the cheap Walmart spray paint in gloss white and totally changed the look of the whole thing for less than $2! When it comes to redoing this big twig wreath, spray paint and hot glue are my best friends.


I scored some neat teal foil ribbon twist which I glued to wire curls and added a few blue balls.  I was super pleased with this pretty wreath on our Christmas door last year.


I found the bronze glittered butterflies at an after Christmas clearance sale and saved them for this springtime wreath. More wire curls got a shot of spring green and every time I ran across silk or plastic ferns and greenery, I snapped them up and stuck them on. By the end of summer this wreath was just LOADED with greenery! I made the nest from twigs and glittered the 3 eggs for a pretty touch and I even scored a green glittered butterfly.


Which brings us back to this year's Christmas wreath. I added beads and that pretty blue glittered butterfly and even a bath scrubby in a gorgeous turquoise shade. The more the merrier is my motto!



I re used the white wire curls from the spring and summer wreath and also re used the  blue foil twist curls from last year. I tried out some outdoor Mod Podge to make glittered balls. I'll be keeping a close watch on those to see how that Mod Podge formula holds up to winter storms.


I like it! I like it ALOT!

I took a couple of hours off from my long, long Christmas To Do List and just put this wreath together for some  fun. Sometimes you've got to squeeze something relaxing into your schedule. You might be surprised how rejuvenated you will be and ready to jump back into your busy life.

So this next year I'll keep my eyes peeled for even more blue ornaments for this fun door wreath. Who knows, maybe I'll even find another big twig wreath and I can double my fun with more wreath redos!

Have a great holiday season, ladies, and come visit the great blog parties listed on my side bar. You never know what you will find!







Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stinkin' Cute Wine Cork Reindeer DIY



Pin It

Here is an oldie but a goodie  and one of my top Pins on Pinterest this week.


Look! A tiny reindeer made from wine corks and twigs for your Holiday decor!

If you accumulate a lot of wine corks or keep running across them at yard sales and thrift stores, here's a nifty little project for the holidays that is so stinkin' cute and sort of easy, plus cheap. I make these little guys to go with my Santa dolls and while making them today I went ahead and took pictures of the process.



Here he is surrounded by the supplies for his creation. Wine corks, little twigs (some with forks) and round headed pins. You will also need a tool for cutting like a razor craft knife and wire cutters.


Punch four leg holes at a slight outward angle in the bottom of one cork for the twig legs. Use a nail or ice pick or whatever gives you the right size holes. The holes need only be about 1/4" deep. Cut four sorta matching twigs for the legs, about 2" long, using a razor knife or wire cutters like those shown.


Put a bit of hot glue in the hole or on the twigs and insert the twigs into the holes. You can press the sticks in with gentle pressure against your work surface or use a pair of pliers. Stand the body up and if any leg is out of whack trim it JUST A LITTLE with a knife or the wire cutters. If you take off too much you'll have to trim the other legs and then the first leg again and it will only end in tears, trust me on this.

BUT, if this happens you can use a heat gun or blow dryer to soften the glue and remove the sticks so you can start over with 4 new twig legs.


If your chosen head cork is too large, trim one end straight off with a razor knife til the proportion seems right. Do the same same punch-holes-trim-twigs-glue-in-holes for the tiny forked antlers and the neck twig. Notice the neck twig is angled, so punch your holes with that in mind.


Look! Teeny tiny super cute wine cork reindeer!


LOVE these little guys!

But wait, what are the push pins for? This little guy needs a red nose, of course. I snipped the pin off short then painted the ball bright red.



Then I added a bit of tiny green tinsel around his neck. Perfect. You can add more tiny trims like the bow on his brother in the top pic, or a tiny star, or a little bell.

How cute would these be on your mantel or even marching across your desktop at work?  And with just a bit of twine or fishing line in a loop and hot glued to his back, you have a cute tree ornament. They are not strong enough to be used as toys but for your Christmas decor, what could be easier or cuter? And now you have a nifty project to use all those wine corks you have in that glass jar!

Try it, you'll like it and be sure to enjoy yourself. Every time I make one of these little guys they make me smile. You will smile, too!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Burlap Acorns from Easter Eggs

Ah Pinterest, you font of ideas and things I MUST MAKE right now! LOL
I love the huge acorns I've been seeing at some online shops but they are hugely expensive, so I was thrilled to find a way to make my own.

Here are my oversize burlap and twine acorns that were inspired by a Pin.


I like how they came out!

Here are the inspiration acorns.....


...posted by Dannyelle over at Life Is a Party.

Cute and clever, right? They are totally up my alley and I had everything I needed to do this on a Friday night. Here's a link to her DIY post for these neat acorns.



                             

I spray painted some oversize plastic eggs brown and moved to the next step.

I hot glued the egg halves together, then glued on burlap circles to cover the pointy end. LOTS of pleating and glue makes this work. Then I took apart some pine cones and glued the bits around the top along with a twig stem to finish, just like Dannyelle.

Hmmmm. This resembles her acorns but not in a good way, LOL! She said in her post they were a bit fiddly and I agree. Plus my pine cone pieces did not give a neat look to the topper.
So, tweaking must occur.


        

I thought they looked a bit too long so I hot glued two of the fat ends together for a rounded shape. Already this looks more acorn-y. Is that a word? It is now. And instead of pine cone pieces I used twine. Lots and lots of twine, plus a shorter bit of stick for a stem.

Here's a shot of both kinds of my finished acorns....


I really like the short, round ones with a twine top. The other just does not look as good as Dannyelle's. Pinterest fail!


I used loads of wrapped twine for a fat top. Love it!



Ooh aah! It took me a little over an hour to make these, tweaking and all. And they were free since I crashed my stash for supplies. Love that!

I'll be joining the parties in my sidebar, come visit and have some fun.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wax Paper Frosted Glass Twinkle Lantern

I named and renamed this post and finally settled on "Wax Paper Frosted Glass Twinkle Lantern," because nothing else was quite descriptive enough or told how easy this project turned out to be. Also, looks awesome!


Oooh aaaah!

I've seen lots of lights on Pinterest using garden lanterns and Christmas lights and they look deceptively simple. My first try was no good, with a snarl of wires and lights stuffed inside my Pier 1 lantern. I didn't like it. Looked messy.


I figured the light string needed some structure, so I wrapped it around a textured plastic water bottle and tried that. Twinkly, yes, but you can totally see the wires and lights and bottle. Me no like this, either!


I thought that crinkled plastic would diffuse the lights but that just looked dumb. Kind of like crinkled plastic stuffed inside a lantern. Nope.


Checking out my stash I found some pretty frosted sea glass and half marbles and my trusty E-6000 jewelry glue, but that would have taken too long to dry and the glue is smelly and the weather is too nasty to do it outside. No go.


Here's what I came up with. Good old Mod Podge and crinkled wax paper.


I did the first lantern pane and held it up to the window light. Score! A soft frosted glass look using stuff I already had in my stash. Plus, a little effort and time. Lickety split the whole lantern was done!



I added florist foam to fill up the bottom of the lantern then added a couple of handfuls of  half marbles and sea glass for weight. The water bottle wrapped with Christmas lights went in next. Now for the big unveiling......

'
I LOVE how this came out! A nice  twinkly glow that makes my Autumn baker's rack look pretty in the soft light. I added one of my primitive star garlands and just smiled and smiled. 



A quick, easy and CHEAP project that came in almost exactly like I'd envisioned it. That's a win win in my book! And the best part is that I have THREE more lanterns. So I'll be buying some of those cheap $1 strings of Christmas light strings at Wal mart and making more of these twinkly lanterns. I can use these all year long and if I invest in some outdoor Mod Podge, they can light up my front deck. Totally love that.

I'll be linking up to the parties in my side bar. Come visit and check out all the cleverness and creativity. See you there!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Crackle Paint Those Christmas Balls For Halloween!

Since I discovered the easy peasy way to make a crackle paint effect with Elmer's glue, I've used it on just about everything. Christmas balls redone for Halloween are no exception. There are lots of pics in this post, but it's a fun project so read on...



I buy Christmas balls all year long when they are cheaper than cheap cheap. I'll be watching for more in different colors but my favorites for this project are silver and gold.


Ooh aaah!

Here is how you do it.


Pop the top off the ball and insert a pen or dowel or paint brush handle so that you can hold the ball without touching it. Trust me, this makes everything easier.Go into your stash and grab the Elmer's glue. This technique works with both the school glue and glue all by Elmer's.


Brush a thick coat of glue all over the ball. Not thick enough to run and drip but still, get a good coat of glue on there. Prop it up and let it dry for 5 to 10 minutes until the glue is tacky but not wet. Do NOT let the glue dry completely, but IF you do, just apply a new layer of glue over the top and let that layer get tacky.


Using a soft paintbrush, apply acrylic craft paint in long smooth strokes in one direction. I used gloss black. After I painted all one direction I did a few soft random crosswise strokes just to see what it would look like. Do not go back and forth with your brush, you will drag the glue layer. Prop that ball up and let it dry. 


Five minutes layer my paint was starting to crackle. I LOVE this part! See the crosswise crackle? That is from the soft sideways stroke I tried. I like the interesting pattern it made.

Let the ball dry completely. Once it is dry (and gloss craft paint takes a long time to dry, so be patient if you use it) you can use your wonderful crackled ball as is or seal it with acrylic spray.


And here is what this effect looks like on colored balls!


Here are a few orange over gold balls on my Halloween tree.



And a few more in a vintage wire basket.

So now my brain is churning out ideas for Christmas decor. Wouldn't white crackle over silver balls be a beautiful shabby chic look? Gotta try it! Or red paint over silver. Or white over red. Man, I am going to be doing this again and again in the coming weeks just to see what different combos look like.

So try it, you'll like it! It's easy and cheap and oh so fun to do. You'll never have so much fun watching paint dry than with this project, I guarantee it!

Here's a link to my uber popular post on crackle paint with Elmer's glue with LOADS of painted examples on different surfaces....


I'll be joining the parties on my sidebar. Come visit and check out all the neat ideas!