Browsing "Crafts & DIY"
My dad, sister and I have a joke about the fact that we think differently than most people. Whereas most people’s thoughts logically progress from Point A to Point B and then to C, D, E and beyond, we’re more like a stone that you’ve skipped across the surface of a pond. While we cross over those same points as everyone else, we only touch the surface every other point or so, which sometimes makes it difficult for others to follow our thought progression. I only mention it because the manner in which tonight’s art project unfolded serves as a real-life example of that process of thought progression come to life.
When it comes to home décor, it’s probably safe to say I have an eclectic sense of style, which probably explains why I’m so drawn to the home accessories (and to be perfectly honest, EVERYTHING else) at Natural Life. I pop into their store semi-frequently and often stalk their social channels and website to check out their latest stuff. One of the things that I’ve really had my eye on lately is the wall art pictured below. (It will be coming home with me soon – it just doesn’t know it yet.)
(In love with this as much as I am? You can get it here.)
Earlier this week, I finished a crochet project (yes, it does occasionally happen). The project stemmed from a pattern for an infinity scarf that I’d “pinned” early last month. Last night, we re-watched the Hunger Games, and I took the opportunity to finish the pattern. It’s teal, of course, in honor of my beloved Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m hoping it will come in handy during some of our winter games, although in Florida, one can never tell how winter weather will be, but I digress.
I also made time to draw a little bit this week and worked up a quick sketch of an owl (only my second ever drawn to-date) with some new Crayola colored pencils I picked up during this time of year’s legendary back-to-school savings. (See, you don’t have to have children of your own in order to get excited. Go running down the aisles and pick out your own BTS stuff. You’ll be glad you did!) :)
But getting back to the subject of this evening’s project, I knew I wanted to do something crafty, but was at a loss for what to do. Then I remembered the rustic print from Natural Life, was inspired by its charming quote, and decided to try my hand at making my own bit of wall art (although narrowing down a single quote to use for the painting was tough).
- Used canvas from an earlier failed art project (you can always recycle them, if things don’t work out!)
- Craft Smart acrylic paints in purple, black, white and neon pink
- Alphabet sponges (picked them up ages ago from the Dollar Tree
- Paint brushes
- Clean palette
- Jar (to hold water to clean my brushes)
- Lots of paper towels (I tend to get paint everywhere.)
- To kick off the project, I grabbed the above-mentioned used canvas and painted a purple base coat over its predecessor.
- While I was waiting for the base coat to dry, I amused myself by making a little nonsense video and posting it to my Instagram account.
- Once the purple coat was dry, I used a rough brush to add a neon pink coat, and before the paint was dry, took another rough brush without paint to texture the surface and blend the two coats.
- Using a small brush, I painted the edges of the canvas black, then splattered white paint across the top of the canvas to add some interest to the purple/pink background.
So what about the quote?
Here’s where we get to the “geek” part of the post. In thinking about what I wanted to place on the canvas, I began reflecting on some of my favorite quotes from movies and books I feel in love with during my childhood. Given the size of the canvas (and my letter stencils), I knew it would have to be something short and to the point.
My favorite quote from Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension, “No matter where you go…there you are.” (A close second would’ve been “Everybody Need See Buckaroo,” but I didn’t think it had the same inter-dimensional appeal, although if you haven’t seen Buckaroo Banzai, you REALLY should.)
“Who is this Buckaroo Banzai?” you ask. Excellent question. The multi-talented Dr. Buckaroo Banzai is a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock musician, who has to save the world by defeating a band of inter-dimensional aliens called Red Lectroids from the Planet 10. The novel and movie fuse the genres of action/adventure with science fiction while weaving in elements of comedy, satire, and romance.
Of course, the story would be incomplete without the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo’s trusted team and band (pictured above). They are:
- Rawhide, Buckaroo’s lieutenant who also plays piano.
- Reno Nevada, who plays saxophone.
- Perfect Tommy, who plays rhythm guitar, and is generally accepted to be perfect. (My favorite, btw.)
- Dr. Sidney Zweibel, aka “New Jersey,” a neurosurgeon, and a colleague of Dr. Banzai’s from Columbia. He sings a little, dances and plays piano. (Played by Jeff Goldblum in what I believe to be one of his best roles.)
- Pinky Carruthers, one of Buckaroo’s Blue Blaze Irregulars who also plays bass guitar.
If this description has just confused you more about why you should care, you could always check out the movie’s trailer below (although to be honest, unless you watch the movie, I’m not sure it helps):
And because, I’ve probably kept you long enough – the finished work! I was pretty happy with how it turned out, although if I do another quotes canvas, I’ll likely make some tweaks to the process. It could be fun to do a whole series using my favorite quotes from Moonheart, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Harry Potter and more. Which begs the question, actually, what’s your favorite quote?
This whole project started because I was browsing Pinterest on my phone while Chris and I were watching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood this evening (what else are credits good for?). I stumbled across an image that led me to the blog, Art with Mr. E, who chronicled one of the lessons he holds for his students to teach them shading. Following his instructions, I created my own piece of art, with the exception of using crayons in lieu of colored pencils as I seem to have misplaced them.
His blog post contains a great step-by-step tutorial that walks you through the process – it’s super simple, but a little time consuming. :)
I really enjoyed watching the piece take shape. Hard to believe this all stemmed from one wavy line with eight points dotted across the line at varying intervals.
Think I’ll have to retry this art project when I find my colored pencils. It was a little difficult to apply the shading explained in the tutorial using crayons.
All said and done, it took me nearly three hours to completely sketch and color this piece, but it was a great way to lose myself in a repetitious task and clear my head. Coloring and crochet both have a lot in common that way.
Have a hobby of your own that helps you find your zen? Share it in the comments below. And if you decide to try your hand at creating your own piece of art from Mr. E’s tutorial, I’d love to see how it turns out!
Every now and again, it’s good to stretch your creative muscles. That’s why a couple of my girlfriends and I take turns hosting a craft day at our respective houses. This weekend, I had the privilege of hosting Katie and Stephanie.
Past projects included spray paint art using leaves as natural stencils at Stephanie’s house and putting together table numbers for Katie’s wedding back in May.
This go-round, we decided to try our hands at a little 3-D art thanks to some inspiration from the Etsy Shop, Handy Maiden. I was already in love with Danielle’s (the shop owner) work before embarking on this project, but now after having tried to sculpt little animals myself , I have an even greater respect for her talent, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
To kick things off, I headed to JoAnn Fabric to see about finding some polymer clay, because this type of clay can be “fired” using a home oven. Pretty neat, huh? It’s also available in a variety of colors, although for this project, we’d already decide to hand paint our figures once they’d been fired. When the girls came over on Sunday afternoon, I had already laid out the materials we’d need to get started. You know, the important stuff like warm brie, homemade bruschetta, and a bottle of Cupcake Vineyard’s Prosecco. Seriously though, if you think you’d like to try something like this at home, make sure to check out the materials list below to get what you need.
- Neutral-colored polymer clay
- Acrylic paint
- A variety of paintbrushes
- Xacto knife
- Wax paper
- Cookie Sheet
- Optional – finishing varnish / gloss
I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials on the making of polymer clay charms, that were actually pretty helpful before kicking things off in real life. It’s actually pretty simple to get started – you break open the clay, roll it around a bit in your hands to make it more malleable, and then begin creating shapes.
The three of us worked on a pretty varied array of animals:
Steph: Lemur, octopus, hedgehog and bird
Katie: cat, stegosaurus, peacock, hedgehog and bird
Aliera: Fox, penguin, owl and panda
Once we were happy with the shape of our animals (see image above), we preheated the oven to 230˚F, put some wax paper down on my oven stone so that the figures wouldn’t stick, and baked them for thirty minutes.
To help pass the time while we waited for our animals to bake and cool, our secondary project was to watercolor, another something I’ve never done before (well, as long as you don’t count elementary art classes). Katie (our resident watercoloring guru) suggested we each find a photo to use as reference for the sketching portion of the piece. I hadn’t really given much thought to this portion of our craft day, so I did a random Google search for “owl watercolor.” You can check out the piece that I decided to use as a reference in the image below on the left.
While I’m actually pretty happy with the results of my first experiment with watercolor, I can definitely understand why Katie spent so much time on her sketch. Can you guess which part of the image I spent the most time sketching? (If you said the head/face, you’re correct!) In the past, I’ve always been too afraid of failing miserably to try my hand at painting, but today’s exercise gave me the confidence I needed to give it a shot. Don’t be surprised if you start to see more of my attempts on the blog in the near future.
So after about an hour or so of watercoloring, our little animal figures were ready to paint, which ended up being a task that was much harder than it sounds. However, with a little patience, multiple coats of paint in a plethora of colors and a glass or two of Prosecco, the totems came to life!
Pretty sure my favorite animals of the day was Steph’s lemur and octopus. Aren’t they cute?!
I was also really happy with my fox figurine (although I’ve already noted some improvements I plan to make in the attempt.)
Lucky Mr. Fox
I was also pretty stoked about how well my penguin turned out.
What creative things did you tackle this weekend?
I stumbled across this Mug Cozy Pattern from Micah Makes while on Pinterest earlier this week and decided it was something I just had to try.
Micah’s pattern was easy to follow and ended up being the perfect project to keep me from feeling restless while watching the final Back to the Future movie with Chris this evening. (One of his birthday gifts was the Back to the Future trilogy, and we’ve been watching one movie every night.)
As for the pattern itself, I’m definitely going to want to give it another go (probably this weekend if I have time). When working from a new pattern, I have a tendency to crochet tighter than the pattern calls for, so the cozy I made this evening may have difficulty fitting larger mugs.
For round two, I’m planning to use a different color palette though – I’m thinking about teal with a black border in honor of my favorite football team. What do you think?
This is the first weekend I’ve had in the past six weeks or so that didn’t involve traveling or being away from home for an extended period, so I thought I’d make the most of it and celebrate the return of Spring (and Easter) with some crafts I discovered this week while I was “catching up” on Pinterest.
Project 1: Herb Garden
The return of an herb garden this year is a MUST. I’ve been reading too many recipes and teas that require fresh or freshly dried herbs that it’d simply be a crime not to include them in my weekend to-do. Last year’s challenges to my herb garden were torrential rains that over-soaked my herbs and pesky mites that devoured the leaves. To combat those challenges, I’m starting (and likely keeping) my herbs indoors this year. I’ll start from seeds, thin them as the sprouts appear, add a little plant food and hopefully watch them grow like weeds.
On this year’s grow list:
- Anise (for tea)
- Catnip (in the hopes that it will keep the cats from devouring my other plants)
- Cilantro (Coriander once it goes to seed)
- German Chamomile (for tea)
- Lavender (for tea and homemade sachets)
- Lemon Balm
- Lime Basil
- Peppermint (for tea)
- Rosemary (because I’ve been dying to try a home fragrance stove concoction)
- Wild Bergamot (for tea)
I’m also thinking about picking up some chocolate mint (already growing strong) that I saw at Home Depot last night. What herbs do you have (or plan to have) in your garden this Spring?
Project 2: Handmade Stationery Envelopes
With Sean recently returned to Afghanistan for his fourth tour since joining the Marine Corps, I ‘ve been wanting to do something extra special this time to let my brother know just how much he’s missed, especially with the birth of his first child just around the corner. So when I stumbled across this tutorial for how to create your own stationery envelopes using magazine pages, I knew it was just the thing I’d been searching for.
I’ve been scouring the pages of Jacksonville Magazine for uplifting images of Sean’s hometown to help wrap up the letters and photos I plan to send him in the coming weeks and months while he’s away. The focus this weekend will be on creating envelopes that can handle the 4×4 photos I plan to print from Instagram of his beautiful wife Bianca, their little girl Sofia who’s big debut (aka her birth) will hopefully take place next week, and Jackson, Sean’s energetic boxer-mix pup.
Project 3: Scalloped Wall Art
I’m a huge believer in mantle eye candy, so when I saw these strikingly cute scalloped wall art pieces on You Are My Fave, I knew I had to try to make them for our home. I haven’t decided on color palette or paper patterns yet, but Chris and I did make a last-minute trip to Michael’s yesterday so that I could pick up a circle punch. I’ll be sure to post about the finished piece(s) sometime next week!
Image Credit: You Are My Fave, guest post & craft idea from Brooke of Playing Grown-Up
Project 4: Food Passport
If you and your significant other are anything like myself and Chris, one of the most hotly debated topics each week is that dreaded topic, “What’s for [insert your meal of choice here]?” That’s why I love the idea I saw over on The Spotted Fox (a blog now sadly discontinued) about creating a Food Passport with all the restaurants you’ve been meaning to check out, but haven’t made the time to.
I’m accepting restaurant nominations in the comment section, if anyone has a few they think we should try out. :)
Project 5: Dyed Deviled Eggs for Easter Lunch & Dinner
Last but not least, the only truly Easter-themed project for the weekend, brightly dyed deviled eggs for Easter Lunch with my mom and her parents, and Easter Dinner with my dad and his mom. This tutorial from MomDot.com makes it easy to get vibrant hues for this traditional dish. While she used vinegar with her Easter egg dye to get the strong colors you see below, I’m planning to use water, so my eggs come out more pastel-y. Can’t wait to show you guys the results!
Thanks for checking out my Easter weekend projects – I’d love to hear what you’re planning in the comments below. Until next time, wishing you and your family a “Hoppy” Easter!
Be My Valentine Pattern from Red Heart
Now that our floors are complete (yes, I know I still owe everyone our “After” pictures), I’ve been ITCHING to get back into my crafting. Unfortunately, my craft room is still in disarray and many of my supplies are living in boxes scattered throughout the garage and attic. Despite that obstacle, however, I still managed to compile a pretty extensive list of Valentines-themed projects I’d like to tackle before February 14th. Not sure if I’ll get to all of them, but if I can at complete three or four, I’ll feel pretty accomplished.
The first (and consequently the most time-consuming), is this adorable “Be My Valentine” pattern from Red Heart. When I stumbled across the pattern on Pinterest earlier this week, I immediately created a V-Day themed board, printed off a .pdf of the pattern, and went out that night to pick up the appropriate yarn. I’m currently about four rows into the project (out of 82), and hoping that I can cross it off my craft to-do list by next Sunday, February 3. While that may seem like a pretty quick turn-around, I find that I’m always more successful with my crochet projects when I give myself a deadline.
I haven’t crocheted in awhile, and I’m definitely feeling a little rusty, but this project couldn’t have come at a better time, as one of my coworkers commissioned me for a smaller project earlier this week!
I think one of the reasons I’m so determined to jump into the deep-end with Valentines-themed crafting is that I was very disappointed by not being able to decorate much for Christmas this year. Because of the state our home was in due to the flooring project, and our trip to Seattle over the holidays, I wasn’t really able to get into the Christmas spirit other than hanging my stockings over the fireplace and putting a wreath on our door. I’m also getting ready to roll into an array of baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and weddings, so if I don’t craft now, I’m not likely to get the chance again until June!
Other crafts that I’d like to attempt are as follows:
Picture Me Valentine:
Because we missed out on even sending Christmas cards this year, I’ve been toying with the idea of sending out personalized Valentines greetings instead. I really love these valentine photo cards from delia creates, and am hoping I can talk Chris into posing with me to create something similarly cute (perhaps mimicking some of the poses from my “Cutesy Couple Photos” board on Pinterest).
Photo & craft idea credit: Delia Creates
DIY String Heart:
So, I saw this originally on More Design Please (which is a great compilation of art, design, crafting and more), but eventually traced the original tutorial back to Green Wedding Shoes. They put together a great post that walks you through each step of creating the string heart accompanied by stunning photos (courtesy of Katherine Elizabeth Photography) such as the one below.
What I love about this project is that it’s simple, but dynamic, and it’s also reminiscent of a project I did for geometry back in the fifth or sixth grade. While purchasing yarn for project number one, I went ahead and purchased pins and embroidery floss to ensure that this project made the final cut. Updates as soon as I have them!
Photo & craft idea credit: Green Wedding Shoes
Friendship Bracelet with Hearts:
My little sister LOVES making friendship bracelets, so I thought it would be neat to gift her one on Valentines using the pattern I found below. Because I know she’ll be wowed by the little hearts, I’ll be including the pattern when I give it to her, so she can in turn, impress her friends!
I found the pattern over on La Manufacture, and she includes a great video tutorial in addition to the graphic below.
Photo & craft idea credit: La Manufacture
The last time Chris and I were at Ikea, I scooped up a couple of frames that would work for a project like this quite nicely. Of all the Valentines crafts I’ve been collecting, this is probably the easiest, which strangely enough means that for some reason I’m likely to put it off to the point that it will never end up getting done (although I certainly hope that’s not the case.)
For some variations on the theme below, I definitely recommend checking out Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour to see how she incorporated a variety of frames/layouts into her project. She was also brilliant – using sheet music scrapbook paper (when I first saw the image, I despaired because I didn’t have any sheet music handy, and was afraid I was in for a long search).
Photo & craft idea credit: Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour
Heart-shaped Corner Bookmarks:
For all my book-lover friends, these little heart-shaped corner bookmarks are a MUST! I found the tutorial over on Craft and Creativity.
Photo & craft idea credit: Craft & Creativity
Fluttering Heart Wreath:
I still haven’t decided where I’ll hang this wreath if I decide to make it. Because it’s made out of paper, I’m not sure it would hold up very well outside on our front door. (Guess I’m kind of putting the cart before the horse here by worrying about where to hang something that hasn’t yet been created. Typical me.) ^_^
This heart wreath was embedded in a slideshow of more great Valentines ideas from Better Homes & Gardens.
Photo & craft idea credit: Better Homes & Gardens
In addition to the crafts I’ve listed above, I also have a secret craft I stumbled upon that I’m DEFINITELY going to be making, and since several of the people who occasionally trip across these pages may perhaps be a recipient of said-craft, I’m going to hold off on sharing what it is until Valentines Day.
What crafts have made their way onto your to-do list?
Putting together my home office/craft room has been on my to-do list for almost a year, and I promised myself before Chris and I celebrated our second anniversary in our “new” house, that it was one item that would be scratched off the list. After scouring the paint samples at both Home Depot and Lowe’s, I settled on the color “Celery.”
Surprisingly, it was one of the first colors I was drawn to nearly two years ago when we were choosing colors for the kitchen. At the time, I was having trouble deciding between “Asparagus” and “Celery” and had consoled myself with the thought that if I used the darker color (“Asparagus”) in the kitchen, I could use “Celery” for another room in the house.
I have to pause here in my makeover tale to laud my husband for being so accommodating when it comes to color in our home, as I definitely have a knack for picking colors not for the faint of heart. Our dining room is the color of the table you see pictured above, our bedroom is in the same color family although significantly lighter, and our kitchen as I’ve already mentioned is a deeper version of my recently refreshed home office.
And since I’ve already halted the chronological progression of this makeover, I’d also like to take a moment and thank my good friend Caroline over at Clumsy Crafty Happy for inspiring me to tackle this project by posting about her own recent studio makeover. Caroline used to work with me as a social media manager at the Dalton Agency, but is now working with her beau, Jason, over at IWearYourShirt. If you enjoy crafting, I definitely recommend checking out her blog as she’s often posting about groovy DIY projects she’s working on or copycrafts anyone can enjoy.
All rambling aside, once the paint color was picked, the “makeover” was pretty straightforward. This room is the last unpainted canvas in the house, and with Chris and I both pitching in, it only took about an hour to prep, two hours to paint (including drying time between coats) and another thirty minutes or so to set back up. When we removed the outlet covers, I also took the opportunity to scrub and sand them so that I could spray paint them the metallic silver you see in the image above – an inexpensive way to embellish your outlet covers if you’d like to avoid spending the upwards of $7 a piece on actual metal covers.
I’m pretty excited about having a room to in which to both work (write) and play (craft). One of my annual traditions for the past three years has been participating in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for those in the know), and the second phase of this project will be moving my computer desk and all its accoutrements back into the office. Another benefit of my home office is that it also provides me with a quiet(er) place in which to “social my media” on evenings and weekends, because as much as I love my husband, cranking out content calendars or working on reports is difficult to do when I’m also listening to fascinating cut scenes from his latest video game (this weekend it was Uncharted 3).
In terms of next steps, my drafting table and about half of my drawing, painting, crocheting, sewing and scrapbooking supplies have made it back into the office – although many of the aforementioned are hiding in the closet so I could get a decent picture. Next weekend’s tasks will be to put the closet into some reasonable semblance of order (a task that I’m very much dreading), and working to get some artwork up on the walls as they’re looking pretty sparse.
Sorry for not having any “before” shots to feature, but this room was a hot mess, and I didn’t feel like showcasing my cluttered side to the interwebs. Stay tuned for Part Two!
I’m not quite finished with this project, but I’m SUPER excited about it, so I couldn’t help but post a teaser image of the work I’ve done thus far. It’s going to be a series of paintings, but I’ve got two left to go before I write out my tutorial and explain where my inspiration came from. If all works according to plan, the series should be finished by the end of the weekend. That being said, I would love to know what you think thus far!
If you ever feel as though your well of inspiration has dried up, or perhaps that pesky muse has indeed fled, I challenge you to spend five minutes on Pinterest. (And I’m betting you can’t spend JUST five.) Even if you don’t consider yourself crafty in any way, I GUARANTEE there’s something on this site for you.
That being said, I’ve been a little quiet on the web during the holidays because I decided to take a dose of my own advice, and have buried myself in the creative projects I’ve been dying to get around to for months. I kicked excuses to the curb and cranked out quite a few groovy little projects in between all the family gatherings, day trips and gorging.
Since I’m still stretching my writing muscles (which have been hibernating over the past few weeks as I stuffed myself silly with all my holiday favorites), I figured I’d share one of my simpler projects first – to warm up, as it were.
My hubs has been a driving force behind me returning to my crafty roots. We’ve been in our new house for almost a year and a half, and while I was a driving force in making it our own when we first moved in, I’ve been a little lax these past few months in finishing up the décor in some of the rooms. One of the things especially lacking has been artwork for the walls, which brings us to my first Pinterest project – the criss cross wall art you see below.
The example project you see above, I found on Pinterest and tracked back to the blog “Living in the Woods.” Taylor does a great job of explaining the process, and has included some step-by-step photos should you decide to try something similar, so instead of walking through the entire process myself, I’m just going to tackle some of the differences between her approach and mine.
- I decided not to put down a white base coat on the canvas. I could go into some lofty explanation about the fact that I prefer the texture of the canvas to the smooth, gloss of the white paint, but let’s be honest – I was impatient to try out the project and didn’t feel like driving to Home Depot once I realized that the white house paint we’ve had on-hand (that followed us to three houses and cities over the past four years) was no longer usable.
- Instead of using multiple widths of masking tape, I decided to keep it simple and use the one width. By limiting myself to one type of tape, I thought I might be able to save myself from adding too many layers. (I go a little overboard sometimes when excited.)
- Taylor used interior paint and a paint brush to coat the canvas and masking tape. I opted for some silver spray paint I had lying around for another project I’ll be sharing with you soon. I thought about using some of the interior paint we have left over from our latest painting projects, but I’m in love with the metallic silver spray paint and decided to give it a go.
The finished project is what you see below. Now the hubs and I just need to agree on a place to hang it!
- If you’re on Pinterest, I’d love to check out your boards! Let me know your username in the comments below! (Mine is MusesFled, if you’re interested in reciprocity.)
- Not a member of Pinterest, but looking for an invitation? Send me an invitation request below!
I’ve finally decided where to hang this! It’s going in my dining room (see photo below). And I’m already working on a new project for my kitchen. I can’t wait to show off what I’ve come up with! Stay tuned!
Among other things this past weekend, I managed to get the hats finished for Sean’s group in Afghanistan. I was pretty excited about how they turned out! ^_^