Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Everything!


Carolers 10" Porcelain - Made by JH c 1999

Merry Christmas
Today...i wish You a day of ordinary miracles.

A fresh post of coffee You didn't have to make yourself. 

An unexpected phone call from an old friend.

Green stoplights on your way to work or shop.

I wish you a day of little things to rejoice in.

The fastest line at the grocery store.

A good sing along song on the radio.

Your keys right where you look.

I wish You a day of happiness and perfection - little bite-size pieces of perfection that give You the funny feeling that the Lord is smiling on You, holding You gently because You are someone special and rare.

I wish you a lifetime of Peace, Happiness and Joy.

Merry Everything
Happiness Always,


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Extreme Paper Cutting + Some More (more than 1)

Found this paper artist

There's more of Karen Bit Vejle's work at the Daily Art Muse.  This site highlights magnificant artists.  If you like eye-candy, take a look.

I found this on

I don't collect Hub Cabs - yet. But this caught my eye (both of em) on a site I hadn't been to before.  This is A LOT of work! 

Did you know we have a miniatures supply store here in Atlanta?  Well we do (which is good to know since I'm getting Gabi a dollhouse for her 3rd birthday).  Miniatures can be used in SOOOOO many mixed media projects.

That's it - just thought I'd share.

Peace - out...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 3 T's are Finished


The descriptions, techniques and supplies are lengthy so I put them at the end of this post with more pictures...
Aluminum Trunk

Tiara Box

Magic Princess Tu Tu

TRUNK (as pictured on it's side) 26" wide  x 16 1/2" high x 10" deep:
This is an aluminum salesperson's trunk we purchased at a display store.  Standing upright (you can briefly see the handle on the left and the feet on the right of the picture), not as it's pictured here, it's original purpose is to stack black 1" H x 8" W x 12" L trays  that hold inserts for jewelry and/or parts.  It has wheels built to the frame for ease in moving inventory from place to place.

Our purpose is for it to store dress up clothes and Princess accessories for my granddaughter.  Positioned as shown it will be comfortable for a 3 year old to bend over and retrieve her magic and it will be easy for Mom to slide it under a bed or in a closet when the magic is over for the day.

I had way too high expectations for this trunk that slowed me down.  As I got tired of thinking about what it could be - I finally came to own that this was for the imagination of a 3 year old - not a 59 year old.  Then it came together.
Inside:  Ohhhhh I was going to line it, blah blah.  Nope, the inside wasn't irrelevant.  I left it alone.
Outside:  I was going to air brush her name and magical pictures on it (although I have the equipment, I have little to no experience in air brushing).  NOPE again.  I started thinking outside my box and decided to use stick on letters.  I couldn't find them large enough ready made so I went in another direction and made them myself as you'll see below.
  • In hopes that this trunk can also be used as a bench I made a cushion for the lid.  I purchased, by the yard, a 12" x 24" piece of foam (a couple of dollars on sale) and cut it to size (to fit inside the outside of the lid).
  • The cover is a simple slip cover made from the pink fuzzy and sequin fabric that lined the Music Box (see previous post) and Tiara Box.  Buttons were attached underneath with coat thread as an anchor for the pink elastic I sewed on  - used to go around the corners of the lid to hold the cushion on.(making sure the elastic loops were too small to become a choking hazard)
Duct Tape Letters & Butterfly
  • Duct Tape not only comes in patterned rolls but also in 8 1/2" x 11" sheets.  I chose the pink tie dye and blue tie dye patterns (the solid hot pink was way too loud) to use for getting Gabi's name on the front of the trunk.  The duct tape is very pliable and easily molded to the corrugated pattern of the aluminum.
  • I printed her name in the "Curly" font at 72pt and enlarged it 300% on the copier.  It wasn't quite large enough so I enlarged the 300% another 200%.  It was perfect.
  • Next I taped each letter to the face of the sheet of Duct Tape and cut them out.
  • The letters alone were too loud so, prior to them be adhered to the outside, I outlined each letter with a large black sharpie and, using Stazeon Ink and a large background stamp, I stamped each letter.  Much better and more fun.
  • The star and butterfly were cut out using Sizzix Dies.  Again they were trimmed with a black Sharpie marker.
TIARA BOX (as pictured here) 10" Wide x 7" Deep x 3 1/2 High:
Geeze - A princess and/or ballerina needs a secure place for her Tiaras.  Again, I had to scale my design ideas down to a 3 year old.  The final result was to paint and decorate a blank wood box (purchased at Hobby Lobby with a coupon).

  • Fabric - the inside was covered with the same fuzzy sequined fabric used in the music box (see previous post).  In the lid I used a thin chip board covered in the fabric and scored in about 1/2".  The corners were clipped to create a slant to the sides.
  • Mirror -  I had (for at least 10 yrs) an acrylic mirror in my stash that was originally intended to be used in a miniature Christmas scene as a pond (hence the odd shape).
  • Decorations - I used rub on stickers.
Tiara Box - Inside


  • The box was first painted with white gesso.  Then the sides and bottom were painted with an iridescent air brush paint (using a foam brush) and the top with regular acrylic paint. 
  • The decorations are a large mix of various stick on and rub on embellishments.
TU TU's and Princess Dora Skirt:
I purchased a tu tu first.  It just didn't have the grandness a Prima Ballerina needed.  So I decided to make her a Tu Tu AND a Dora skirt so she could share when her friends came over to play.

Tu Tu:
  • You Tube is a wonderful thing.  I bought a pattern AND I searched the web for Tu Tu instructions.  I settled on the most simple construction there is and never touched the pattern.
  • Cut strips of tulle (either bought by the yard or smarter than that - buy the tulle sold in 100 yd rolls in the bridal section that's already cut 6" wide) and knot them around elastic.  I bought 2 yds each of shimmer pink and blue by the yard and a roll of fushia. This was the most simple of all the projects I took on for Christmas.
  • I knotted every third set of tulle pieces and ribbon for interest.
  • Boy is it fluffy.
Princess Tu Tu
Dora Play Skirt:
  • Gabi LOVES Dora.  I purchased 2 yds of Dora material.  Cut two sections 10" each and sewed them end to end.  For the ruffle I cut three sections 7" each, sewed them end to end, folded in half and ran a long gathering stitch the full length of the folded raw edges.  After gathering the ruffle I attached it to the 10" body.  I made a casing at the top of the 10" body piece and inserted elastic.  Easy Peasy.
  • I didn't have Gabi's measurements so I left the elastic to be sewn together after she tries it on at Christmas.  I'm hoping it's long enough to just reach the floor. 
Dora Skirt
Miscellenous Trunk Accessories (basic Grandma overkill):
  • I didn't get Gabi's foot measurements until I was done, done and done (I was going to make Dora Ballet slippers to match the skirt).  So I purchased Ballet slippers (OMG!  How Cute!) and made little clip on's for the elastic across the foot.
  • I embelished a plastic wand with ribbons.
  • I also added a hot pink boa (couldn't resist) to be put away until she's older.
  • A Dora doll in a Princess dress lies waiting to be discovered under all the Fru Fru.
  • A play set of Disney Princesses and books also lies in waiting at the bottom of the trunk.
Now - I realize that this may be a little much for a three year old who is in charge of everything she surveys.   But I'm hundreds of miles away and when she is old enough to really get into dress up I may be traveling the world.  Here's hoping she'll grow into the dress-up trunk.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it;)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vintage Ballerina Music Box - Renovated

Renovating this Music Box was a lot of fun.  In the next few days I'll post the Tu Tu, Dress-Up Trunk and Tiara Box that were made to go with the music box (some days it a very thin thread for me ;)

Spark (more like an explosion) of an idea: My granddaughter loves to wear her tu tu and spin and sing to music. I thought recovering this music box with a spinning Ballerina for her would be fun. Before I go too far, my children are adults and, with my granddaughter in Miami and me in Atlanta, I don't spend a lot of time in toy stores (actually any store - unless it has art supplies). If I had I might have realized that they still sell these little boxes and bought one instead ;)

Results First:   If I had given myself more time to design and think about this I would have decided on the outside decorations first and worked backwards.

The Before: This was a $1.00 garage sale find. As you can see it was in rough shape. The size is approx 4" x 6" and is thin wood covered with a paper print. The Ballerina and hinges worked. My thought was to strip the box, recover and reuse the original hinges and plastic mirror in addition to the Ballerina and music mechanism.

The During:  I stripped the box using the insides as templates for the replacement fabric.

- The original hinges were sanded until they glowed but it was just too difficult to get the pointed spikes back into the wood without damaging the new coverings.  So I took out some hinges I had in stock that used screws.  Since the box was wood they worked like a charm.
-I had installed the original front clasp before realizing I wouldn't be able to use all the original hardware.  Taking the clasp out left minor slits in the fabric so I took a very LARGE metal ornament top, flattened it out, cut it inhalf and screwed it to the box at the same time I installed the new clasp.

-the adhesive backed fabric I was determined to use was 12x12 and would not cover the outside sides in one piece.  I thought if I used the paper catty wampus I could sqeak by - but Noooooo.  So I pieced the paper at a diagonal on the sides.  Because I cut both pieces on top of one another the seam met perfectly and couldn't be seen but I felt better putting the pearl decoration over it.
-On projects like this one I use an empty candy holder that I rescued from being thrown away at a local store (this one held plastic eggs with candy in them) to keep track of the parts of my project as well as any small parts I may be considering for the project.  AND it was FREE.  Note:  Keep a look out - there should be a lot of these types of displays sitting empty on the shelves during the holiday season. 

-Exterior: Adhesive backed fabric from Paper Chase. I removed the adhesive back leaving a thin layer of paper that prevented glue from seeping thru.
-Interior: Furry pink fabric with sequins sewn on (kids love furry things / I used the same fabric for the cushion on top of her dress-up trunk and inside her tiara box). Fusible web was ironed onto the back of this fabric prior to cutting out and adhering to lightweight cardboard to stop glue from seeping thru.
-Ballerina: Repainted her base leotard. Added a tulle tu tu with rhinestones and a crown.
-Decorations: Disney stick on, trimmed to fit.  (this was difficult - I wanted to paint something) / highlighted with sparkle dust, pearls and plastic rhinestones.
-Four 3/4 round wooden balls painted, written on and then painted again.
-Lightweight cardboard
-Ultimate Glue

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vintage Floppy Disks = Jewelry

We had dozens of floppy disks (they weren't really floppy - they were 4 x 4 hard disks). I hesitated to throw them away because although we couldn't get information from them anymore some clever thief might find them in the trash, have a relic of a computer laying around the den and get all kinds of information (none of which we remembered) from the disks. What a dilemma!

So - I dismantled each one. When I saw the cool parts I knew I should keep some of them for the unknown future. Hence the jar of metal & plastic tabs and bits of floppy inserts.
I found that the metal & black plastic tabs are thin enough to cut with scissors and the metal can be stamped with metal letter punches (see the "P.U.S.H." tag below). Depending on the punch you might be able to punch out basic shapes like the ornament, bird, plane & bugs shown below. This metal, to my knowledge, doesn't rust or discolor with age. If you rub it with steel wool first, it takes alcohol inks

Use caution when you try punch out shapes in the metal with a paper punch. There may be slight variances in the thickness of metals depending on the manufacturer of the disk and your punch could jam. The same goes for the pliability of the plastic.  The ornament punch did fine on the first metal piece I punched but broke on the second one (because I hit it with a hammer). If the punch cuts gradually, at an angle, from back to front (like most of Martha Stewarts) chances are it isn't a good candidate for this project. The punch cuts thru beautifully at the beginning but loses force as it proceeds forward and the metal gets stuck in the punch (repeatedly I might add). The inside floppy film could easily be punched. Any of these can be blinged to blindness - the possibilities made me dizzy.  You may have a desk drawer FULL of free supplies - go check.

PS: P.U.S.H means Pray Until Something Happens

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This and That

smARTaleck: Fun with old floppy disk parts.
Look what I found when I should have been crafting my Christmas gifts...

CREATIVITY:  A blog that contains information on sites holding design calls for one time designs, challenges and/or an opportunity to become a design team member.  They're generally scrapbook (as the name suggests) or card related but I saw a couple related to mixed media.   If you like to play with others, gain recognition and/or are in a rut and need a spark to get you going again - check this out.

TOOLS:  I LOVE, LOVE, tools and new products.  In fact most of my impulse buying is on new things I find in the arts and crafts stores (generally on my 2nd pass down every isle).  I need to take the new items home to "kick the tires" so to speak and see what else they'll do that's not listed on the instructions.  This site critiques arts and crafts products. They do a real good job of it too.   I've seen products here I haven't seen in the stores yet AND they're holding 12 days of Christmas giveaways (they're on day three).

CREATIVITY:  I found this swap site by reading comments made in the above give away.   You can host swaps, join swaps, and chat with other swappers from all over the world. I haven't tried it yet (I'm supposed to be working on a tu tu) for fear I won't get away from my computer until next week.

TOOLS:  One of my favorite jewelry tool websites is Kelsi's Tooltime Tuesdays by Melissa Muir.   I'm not associated with any jewelry groups so I don't get to have conversations one on one with like minded folks on their experiences with various tools and design ideas.  Her critiques on jewelry tools are well written and relevant (a good jewelry plier can cost between $30 and $50).  She's moving and since her updates aren't every Tuesday I've subscribed to her blog so I don't miss any.

METAL:  I've mentioned this one before.  It mostly pertains to stamping metal - which can be used to adorn cards, scrapbook pages, jewelry and/or mixed media.  It has Outstanding videos and a large inventory of products.  PS:  I own their book with accompanying CD "Make Metal Stamped Jewelry" - every bit as user friendly as their website.

BOOKS: Atlanta Bookarts Collective has found a home to hold meetings. Their first meeting of the new year will be at SCAD in Atlanta. I'm a member of this group of talented artists. We're all in different places in our pursuit book arts.

CREATIVITY:  This one isn't exactly new to me but since I get SUCKED in every time I get on it I thought I'd share it.  This site allows you to have "boards" of favorites where you post a picture of a place, product or thing that you like.  You can access one board to view all of the posted pictures under that category (for example I have a "sculpture inspiration board" and a "places I want to visit board")  Each picture retains it's original web location so you can refresh your memory if you need more informaiton or instructions on how to make a craft item you saved.   I use this site for a repository of ideas that I don't want to print out and put in a book or add to my favorites only to forget what I have in my favorites.  I've found some of the most inspirational items EVER from other peoples posts.  Downside:  it's like being dropped into a deep hole full of fun and adventure - before you know it your husband is in bed and will get up for work in an hour ;).

Monday, December 12, 2011

13 More Sleeps Til Christmas

A lot has happened this month...

My long list of "firsts" without Mom is at an end (first Birthday, Easter, Mother's Day, etc).  She passed away December 3rd, 2010.  I could hear her talking to me as I was lamenting my need to make this year's Christmas cards.  First she would tell me how pretty the cards were, then she would sigh over how busy I was and how much extra work making cards was adding to my load and then she would suggest I just go buy a box of cards.  Boy I miss her.

Chick & Janet 1982
Our 30th Wedding Anniversary was December 5th (I still get the date confused with the 6th - Chick just rolls his eyes ;). He wanted to do something special that weekend. I reminded him that we went all the way to Italy and that most people would consider that special. Never the less we drove the back roads from Atlanta, GA for two hours to Columbus, GA - destination an antique mall.  We walked the mall (it was HUGE), went to the Columbus Museum (it was not only free but it was beautiful - would definitely go back) went to a movie (OMG - two tickets, popcorn and a soda - $12 TTL) and decided to stay the night. The next day we came home via Alabama (Chick saw a City on the map he wanted to go see) and then came back thru Newnan, GA stopping along the way.  It was a great weekend.  To be honest - it doesn't take much for the two of us to be entertained ;)  PS: I bought a working 1950's portable sewing machine for $5 at a roadside yard sale.

Gabi 2011
I've been gathering Princess and Dora The Explorer supplies to make a dress-up trunk for my 3 year old Granddaughter for Christmas.  To include tu tu's, ballet slippers, wands, crowns, re-purposed ballerina music box, etc.  I'm having a blast!  I'll post what I get accomplished.  But know this...there's no reason a princess (at any age) should not have at least 1 tu tu in their closet.  They are they so simple to make and can be made in any size and color.  In case you don't have one I'll post the instructions after I've made Gabi's.  Picture this - it's morning and time for you to get out of bed.  You know the day doesn't have anything exciting in store and you dread getting up.  What if you got up, reached in your closet for a tu tu (smiling already - right?), put it on with a little tank top (colors and patterns don't have to match) fetched your cup of tea or coffee and toast and sat on your front porch to relax and watch the world go by.  If you weren't smiling and feeling a lot better by the time you sat down - trust me your neighbors would love you for making their day a little lighter.   I'm just sayin...

The pendant I made out of an old fuse box, found miniature ball player and misc stuff was mentioned on Jewelry Making Daily - a sister blog to Craft, Paper, Scissors.  It's an interesting post... 

Now if I can just stay off Pinterest long enough to get my stuff in gear (and not get side tracked by leather tooling or beaded beads) - I'll make it by Christmas.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Cards - - WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

Note to Self on making this year's Christmas Cards:  WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING?!!

My muse really got me good this year.  Usually I get the urge to do what my friends do so beautifully -  make Christmas cards.  I'll make a card or two, they don't look near as impressive as theirs do and I wind up sending my couple of cards to my Mom and Sisters (they love anything I do - that's a benefit of family) and then send the rest store bought cards.

This year I took a flag book class from Karen Hanmer and thought the design, made smaller, would be a unique card.  I chose to copy and reduce a vintage print - "Children Singing" by Eugene Iverd for the flags and vintage sheet music - "Good Tidings" by Freda Morrill Abrams for the cover.
Soooo, in for a penny (actually, lot's of pennies) - in for a pound.  The card, closed, is 4" x 7".  The components are listed after the photos of the cards.
First Batch:  The Tree on the front of each card is different.

1.  Mat board - red on one side black on the other with a black core was cut to 4"x7" for the covers.
2.  The swirl was stamped on at an angle using Grey Memento ink (I wanted to really BLING it up but held myself in check choosing instead to stamp the swirls in a subdued Grey color so it wouldn't fight, visually, with the distressed sheet music and tree).  The end of each swirl was highlighted with a silver glitter gel pen.
3.  The picture was copied on white card stock and cut into 9 pieces.  The edge of each piece was distressed using Distress Inks.

4.  A 10 3/4" x 7" piece of Canson black paper was cut and folded lengthwise (each fold is 1/2 the width of the flag) to create an accordion
5.  The flags were attached using double sided tape (1/16" separates the flags).
6.  The assembled picture and accordion were attached to the covers using double sided tape with the flaps overlapping to the outside of the covers.
7.  The front and back covers got lightly sprayed with Glimmer Mist.
8.  The copies of sheet music were cut to fit the front at a point and wrap around to the inside.  The edges were distressed.  The first one I glued down to the front cover using PVA glue.  It caused the board to warp and I didn't want to mess with it so I used spray glue on all the other cards.  Worked like a charm.
9.  Snow flakes were stamped on the black flaps using white Momentum Ink.
10.  The Christmas trees were made from scraps of card stock using a Sizzix Die and distressed on all edges of each part of the tree.  The smaller parts of the tree were glued down using the 2" Xyron - the large part of the tree was glued using a PVA glue.
11.  The inside sentiment was printed using an ink jet printer on card stock, distressed and the edge punched using an EK punch.  It was backed by green card stock.  All was glued in place using double sided tape.

I don't get paid a penny for saying this but you have to know that being able to cut each component of this card to exact measurements was crucial for this project to be a success.  I was able to do that because I used my Genesis Paper Trimmer.
Because the card was not bendable the post office considered it a package and postage was $1.71 each to mail.  What a hoot. 

I'm done, now I can work on a my 3 year old granddaughter's trunk, filling it with magical princess and ballerina tu tu's, wands and crowns. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pantry Storage

When we bought our house 8 years ago the kitchen pantry shelves were sagging in the middle. Always the crafter...we put chair legs in the center to support them until we updated the kitchen and decided if we were going to move the pantry. Well, one year turned into eight and we still have a three legged pantry.

We decided not to open the kitchen to the living room (taking out the pantry) when we renovate the kitchen so I wanted to update the pantry NOW.

We went to a used store fixture place here in Atlanta and bought a slat wall panel, used brackets and used shelving at a total cost of $95.  Staggering the shelves across the pantry allows me to adjust the shelves according to the items sitting on them.  The inside of the pantry was painted using left over interior house paint, prior to installing the slat wall.  I LOVE IT.

When the rest of the kitchen is renovated I'll have more pantry space for food (although we don't need it).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What if?

11-20-2009 - Laura's 40th BD Cruise - Rainbow seen off balcony

A sign seen yesterday...

What if we woke up today with only the things we thanked God for yesterday?