Friday, January 6, 2012

Some Changes & My Next Show

Happy Friday!
First, an apology. I told you all that I would be more frequent with my posts and here I weeks later (I hang my head in shame). There's been some big changes for us lately, the biggest of which is a new job. I have accepted a new, full-time position in my field of study, healthcare. It will be a rather big change for us considering I have been home with our two year old for the last year.  I will go with mixed feelings- excitement for the challenge and sadness for leaving my pumpkins. That first day will likely be brutal, leaving my sweet girl at daycare (sigh) but she will be ok, and so will I.

On another note, I am preparing for my next show at Urban Finds. It is next Friday, January 13th from 6-8pm and Saturday, January 14th from 9am-4pm. I will definitely have some posts coming up on all the goodies I plan to bring! After that show- it's up in the air. My prediction is that working full-time will be an adjustment so the furniture and posts will have to take a back seat until I re-learn how to do the working mom thing.

So stay tuned and thanks for your patience and understanding as I take on some new adventures!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crayon Monogram Tutorial

Hi! Happy Holidays!
Today I thought I would share a tutorial on the cute monogram crayola letter I did for my daughters' teachers. I first saw a picture of it on Pinterest and I'm proud to say that I actually DID one of the things I pinned. Now typically I just pin and admire, but this time I completed one of the cute little projects. The original Crayola monogram came from here. Great idea, but not a lot of instruction.

The pictures are not the was dark..and late...the night before Christmas break (ie. they had to take them to school the next morning).

Supplies Needed (for 1 monogram):
 - 2 packs of crayons (24 ct so you can get several reds, oranges, etc..)
 - 8 x 10 or 8 1/2 x 11 frame (with stand, if you choose)
 - Scrapbook paper
 - Small letter stamps & ink pad
 - Hot glue gun & knife or boxcutter

On to the tutorial...
I bought two frames (on sale, of course) from Michael's, as well as some creamy white scrapbook paper. I removed the glass and picture that came in the frame. Since the crayons are rather heavy I needed the paper to be heavy as well. So when looking at the frame, I decided to mod podge the scrapbook paper to the cardboard back (the piece that has the stand). It wasn't intentional at the time but it was nice to get a frame with a stand. That way they can choose to hang it or set it on a desk or table using the stand.
I attempted to print out the initial that I needed on a piece of paper but I couldn't get the font wide enough to look right so I got frustrated and gave up on that. Instead I laid out a row of crayons using the rainbow order (ROYGBV) know, 'roy-g-biv' like we learned in school, the length I thought looked appropriate. You can see the 'R' I printed out on the paper underneath but I didn't follow that because it was too narrow as I mentioned.
As you can see in the picture, I made the first two and last two crayons go out to the left a bit more. Now, how to cut the crayons. Put your patience hat on for this one. I used the picture that I had from pinterest as a guide when I decided where to cut. The 1st and 13th (in my case) crayon are full length, the 2nd and 3rd from the top and bottom taper in, and the rest are all the same length (they were cut right after the 'O' in Crayola). This side of the letter is rather easy to cut because you cut straight lines. Just score around the whole crayon and then snap off. Easy peasy. Make sure to keep the broken off ends near by. I found it easiest to keep them lined up off to the right so the order remained the same.

Now for the right, rounded side of the letter (depending on the letter you are doing). This was a bit of an experiment for me. First you will want to align the points of the crayons how you want them (remember, the extra length will be cut off of the left side of the crayon-you keep the tips for this part of the letter). The rounded part of the letter starts at the top and tapers outwards until you reach the middle of the rounded 'R' section, then tapers back in. I hope that makes sense. I then held them in place the drew the "inside" of the rounded 'R' where I wanted to cut them. Note: you will cut them at an angle; angled up and to the left on the top section and down and to the left on the bottom section (see first picture). Do the same with the lower, right section of the 'R'.
Now for the gluing. Ugh, the gluing. I started by putting a little hot glue on the side of the 2nd crayon and gluing to the first. Yep, one by one, I glued them together. You can always "eye ball it" or lightly mark where you want the first crayon on your scrapbook paper but I'm too anal to do that. So I glued all of the crayons together (on one side) and then carefully glued the whole thing on the paper. The first time (first teacher's) I gently flipped it over, applied hot glue to the back of the monogram, then flipped it onto the paper. Well that was frustrating. Hot glue is unforgiving unless you want to rip it off the paper and readjust (ripping the paper too). So you had better get it right the first time. I did ok-not great, but ok. The 2nd time, in my semi-delirious state at this point, I placed the monogram (before applying glue) where I wanted it and then "outlined" it in sticky notes.
I then removed the monogram, hot glued between the sticky notes right onto the paper and then placed the monogram on it. That worked better but still not great. You needn't ask..I was definitely thinking "there must be a better way (but I'm too tired to think of it)."

Ok, hard parts over. Now just stamp, write, paint,... a nice little saying on it. Personally, I picked up these tiny alphabet stamps (at an earlier date) in the craft aisle at Wal-mart for a $1 per set. I just knew they would come in handy!

Use whatever message you like, put it in frame and voila, finished!
I'm fairly happy with the end product. I'm a little obsessive compulsive (read: anal) so I was a little disappointed with the round parts of my letters, however, the second time I did it (the "P") went a little better than the first. Live and learn I suppose.

Well, I hope their teachers like them and that you enjoy them too.
Until next time,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Last Minute DIY Christmas Gifts

I don't know about you but I'm over fighting crowds at the store, looking for the elusive, perfect gift for those left on my list. Or maybe your pocket book is screaming at you and you need to find another way to finish your shopping. While perusing the web I have come across many cute do-it-yourself gift ideas. Here are some of the ideas I've found...

1. Earring Organizer for the young, or older, lady on your list
2. Homemade Food Gift Ideas
3. Resin Window  that you can personalize or change to fit your recipient
4. Handpainted Christmas Stockings or Ornaments
5. Make a gift out of your old Mason Jars
6. Cute little Magnet Board
7. Several age-specific gift ideas
8. Super cute 'I Spy' book, using your kids toys! 

So there you are. Several options to finish up your Christmas list. Not only will it save you some cash, but those on your list will love the fact that you took the time to make their gift yourself! So go turn on some Christmas music and get crafty!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sheet Music Dresser & Veneer Repair

Today's post will be about the sheet music dresser I finished recently.

I have to credit the original source, Miss Mustard Seed, with the idea for the sheet music dresser. Love her stuff. The concept is really quite simple, however, in this case I was working with a veneer dresser that was in pretty bad shape. So first I had to deal with the veneer, which could be a post in itself! The veneer on the top of the dresser was partially torn off already but the remaining veneer wasn't budging. So I tried out a trick I heard about recently, using an iron. I simply put an old cloth over a small area and held the iron on there for 20-30 seconds. Then use a small chisel to pry it up. It took a little while but it worked wonderfully (and I actually taught my mom something for once, instead of vice versa!). Now, the top still wasn't in what I would call "paintable" condition, so mod podge it is!

First though, I needed to address the sides.The veneer was coming up on the bottom edges but it wasn't gone completely. I glued it (with wood glue) and clamped it down overnight. I then used wood putty to fill in any small areas that were missing. The putty also helps to glue it down even more. Let it all dry (thicker areas require longer drying time) and then sand. After that's complete, wipe it down well, and on to the painting. I used my go to paint color - Heirloom White - on this dresser. Again, let it dry. I chose to distress the paint on the edges and corners using a medium grit sandpaper, followed by sanding the whole piece with a low grit paper (Note: low grit is a high number paper and vice versa) just to smooth any small bumps or roughness.

Finally, the sheet music application. While I wish that I could just jump right to this part (ie. results!), all the prep work is absolutely necessary to end up with a quality piece. Go through your sheet music and pick out the pieces that you want. I really wanted to mix up the colors a little bit, using light and dark yellowing next to each other. Once you have laid it out and determined a plan, start mod podging! Cover the back of a piece with mod podge and place on your surface. You can cut the edges to fit perfectly before you start or leave a little overhang and cut it off once all your pieces are on. Make sure to use a sharp razor blade if you do it this way, otherwise you may rip your paper. Cover and cut all areas that you want sheet music on, and then go back and cover the tops of the sheet music with mod podge, making sure to get the edges well so that they do not come up. Allow to dry several hours or overnight. Note: when the mod podge is wet the surface will have some bubbles. Don't fret, they will go away once it dries.

Next, add some age. After the first layer of mod podge I used a light brown glaze (Ralph Lauren Tea Stained) to antique it a little more. While I typically use a dry brush, in this case I used a cloth and just wiped a small amount over the entire dresser. Allow to dry. The next day add another layer of mod podge over the sheet music and let dry. Finally, cover the entire dresser with a protective coat of polyurethane (or 3).

That's it folks! It take a little patience but the end result is beautiful, at least I think so!
I hope that it inspires you to do a mod podge project of your own.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hand Painted Detail

So I must say, I'm having a fabulous time at my first show. It's so gratifying when others like your stuff. It would be even more fabulous if I could sell some of the large furniture but I think it will come with time. As of now, I'm just happy to get my name out there and to meet so many fabulous people.
Chair Seat

I have several signs and painted furniture pieces at the show and it has been interesting to hear the surprise when people learn that they are hand painted. First, I need to clear up that I typically get the graphic from somewhere in blogland (mostly The Graphics Fairy because she is amazing and it's free). I then use my overhead projector (old school, I know) to project the image on my surface of choice. From there it is all hand done. Tedious? Yes. But I love it and I just get so much more satisfaction out of it than a stick on image (although I've seen many nice ones).

So, if you were wondering.... it is hand painted... and I probably cursed and mumbled while painting it, but when it's through I (nearly) always think it was worth it. I hope that others appreciate it too.
I hope that you enjoy the rest of your weekend,