Friday, January 31, 2014

More Fun with Felting

A few weeks ago I wrote about my weekend projects with wool felting and since I still had lots of sweaters as well as leftover felted sweater material I decided to make a few more.  This time I did my flowers much more like the original inspiration piece

I was kinda diggin' the leaves I made from the olive cable knit sweater so I decided to make them more of a feature on my next piece, which I love.  I got several compliments on it when I wore it so that made me happy. 

I liked it so much I made another with powder blue cashmere flowers for a friend! 

I still have tons of materials left so who knows how many more I will make, I'm thinking they will make nice gifts for Christmas this year.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thirty Word Thursday's -Sunflower






30 Words Thursday: Grab an image. Write exactly 30 Words (no more, no less). Post it. Link to the blog post on her blog 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Upcycle Challenge-Part 3 ~Chalkboard & Signs

This last spring I entered several projects in my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore's Upcycle Challenge.  In talking with the store manager I found out they hadn't had much interest in it at that point so I decided to just make a bunch of easy stuff that people could easily reproduce themselves.  I told her not to worry, crafty creative people are also notorious for being 'last minute' and procrastinators...they had lots of entries!  Two more of those projects I made are below.

During one of our Saturday visits I found a few three foot finished boards that had nice rounded edges already and they were nice and smooth, they were about 8 inches wide and who knows what they were originally but I scarfed them up at $1 a board.  I cut them into thirds so I have plenty to work with.  I also found these peel and stick quotes from the Dollar Tree that I used, I love both quotes.  The blue sign is sprayed with Krylon spray paint that I also got at the you can tell, I REALLY like my ReStore!  

I painted little flowers all over the sign around my sticker on the blue one by dipping the end of my paintbrush in paint and making 5 dots in a circle then I went back in and added a red dot in the center to make my flowers. You can kinda see the sticker in this picture but only if you're really looking.  In hindsight I would have added a coat of poly to seal the sticker in because it did start to peel while on display.

The next one is my favorite, I love this quote and try to live this as a personal philosophy, luckily I bought two of these so I can make myself one too.  

For this one I used my DIY chalk paint that I used for the bog bed project and stuck the sticker on before I did anything else.  I waxed it with the sticker on and buffed it and the sticker stuck far better on this one.  I added two small screw eyes from a picture hanging kit and some copper wire to hang them with, of course I forgot to take pics of the signs once they were all finished.  I've been fighting with myself over that since I could swear I did, but I just can't find them *sigh*.

 I also purchased several cupboard doors one day for like $.50 a piece and I really liked the way this one had the little dippity-do's in each corner...anyone ever use Dippity Do in your hair back in the day?  We used to use it when braiding our horses manes and tails to keep it all laying flat.  Back to my project...I taped off the molding cause I wanted to leave that the natural wood color and I painted the inside with guessed it...homemade chalk paint.  I use some red spray paint...yes, from the ReStore...for the outer edge then used another technique I learned from Lucy over at Lucy Designs where you use your Dremel tool to carve a design into the wood.  She used it on a dresser, which is on my list but thought I'd try it out on a smaller scale first and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I pulled out the brand new Dremel tool my wonderful daughter gifted me for Christmas last year and got to work.  I just used a simple scroll all around it red boarder...of course trying to make them all relatively the same size and going all directions was quite the task for me since I kinda like things to go the same direction...but that just looks so un-random.

Once I had them all carved in I glazed it so the carved areas filled in with the dark glaze and it gave the red and antique feel to it.  I attached some old knobs in the bottom corners to hang items from and used the original hinges and strung some copper wire between them as the hanger and once again...forgot to take a damn picture of the finished project!  Luckily the ReStore Web page has pictures of all the projects turned in last year so you can see it here.

I also made a serving tray out of an old wooden calendar holder but somehow managed to not get any pictures of that at all.  I painted the wood that same color blue as the sign above, lined the tray part with cork tiles and added two old door handles to the ends...all with stuff from my ReStore...luckily you can see it here as well as all the entries that were submitted last year.

I'm looking forward to coming up with something for this years challenge! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thirty Word Thursday's -Angels in the Snow

Way back when I had a Yahoo 360 blog with a group of friends who fancied themselves as writers, we used to do a few challenges that provided a lot of inspiration and were a lot of fun. One of them was that someone from the group would choose a word and then we'd all search for or take a picture and post it that represented that word for us.  The other was someone would post a picture and we all wrote a short story inspired by it.  It was funny to see personalities emerge through their pictures and stories...some were poignant, some were dark and some were downright hilarious!  

I was thrilled when I discovered a similar challenge on one of the other blogs I follow Treasures Found, where she blogs about her gorgeous jewelry among other things.  She has an Etsy shop where she sells her work and I've admired them for a while now.  She's doing a things she's calling "30 Word Thursdays"  and the premise is simple enough, Take an image and write 30 words about it...exactly 30.  No more.  No less.  Post it to your blog and then link up on her page.  

Here is my first (hopefully of many) contribution for her 30 Word Thursday!

Softly falling flakes
gathering on the ground
Crystalline glistening carpet
beckoning me down

The lights reflecting on it
allowing brilliant glow
Falling backward, arms outstretched
making angels in the snow

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Chocolate Fix- Chunky Elvis Treats

One of the things I'm really working on eliminating from my diet is sugar.  That guessed it *gasp* no chocolate!  It's not like I had a bad habit although I think I was a sugar junkie and did go on candy binges.  Candy bars were my comfort and often the object of my mindless eating.  I could inhale one and not even taste it!

Part of eliminating sugar is identifying it in it's many forms, the hidden sugars.  Banana's are another thing that I've always loved and never thought about the calories or sugar contained in them...I mean, they're a fruit and healthy right?  An average banana is 110 calories but a whopping 19 grams of sugar which is almost 5 tsp of sugar and although it's filled with so many good things it's one of the things I don't have on a daily basis anymore...and I miss them! 

Chiquita Banana Nutrition Label & Facts

I've also been missing grapes which I absolutely loved to freeze and eat, they are like little frozen Popsicle in my mouth.  I still buy bananas on a regular basis because the hubby takes one for lunch every day I end up with at least 1 or 2 bananas that turn brown before he can eat them, usually I peel and freeze them and use them for banana pancakes or banana bread.  I thought I'd try freezing some banana slices then I could enjoy and savor a slice or two when I wanted something sweet, of course being the kinda girl who can't leave well enough alone at times I took it a step farther.  I thought a dab of peanut butter between the banana slices would be fabulous, and of course introduce a bit of protein as well, so I made some mini peanut butter banana frozen sandwiches.  I love peanut butter and banana sandwiches so these just had to be delightful!  

They were ok but thought I could make them even better guessed it!  Chocolate!  That heavenly, velvety, melt in your mouth goodness that I'd been craving.

One of the other things I've been experimenting with is introducing coconut oil into my diet...and hands, face, arms and legs!  My hair will be the next great's so dry and fizzy.  While perusing some healthy *cough* cookie recipes to make for the Christmas season I happened upon a recipe homemade Magic know that stuff you pour over ice cream and it gets all hard and crunchy but melts so gently on your tongue?  Guess what?  I had the all the ingredients...coconut oil and chocolate chips!  I had a bag of Hershey's Milk Chocolate chips in my pantry and a 1/4 cup of coconut oil melted in a double boiler...or in my house, a glass bowl set on top of a pot of simmering water and in no time I was ready to make my frozen banana chunks of goodness. 

I put them on a rack with wax paper beneath to catch the drips and began topping each one with a dab of my homemade magic shell.  I popped them back in the freezer for a bit before attempting to coat the rest of them, I found just dropping them in the bowl of chocolate worked the best them stabbing the peanut butter center with a toothpick to pull them out was the best method.  Of course I tried to make them all fancy pants Chocolatier looking with tongs and stuff till I remembered most chocolate dipped candies were still done the messy way, with their hands.  I let them harden on the wax paper in the freezer for a while then pulled them out, peeled them off the wax paper and put them in a bag in the freezer.  Where they wait for a snack attack. 

They are delish and usually 2-3 satisfies my craving!  Well, 2 always satisfies it but remember that part I said earlier about leaving well enough alone? 

I've decided to call them Chunky Elvis treats because he knew a good thing too!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Weekend Wool Felting

Last year I became interesting in felting old wool sweaters after pinning a few items that used that technique.  Although I was interested in it and wanted to experiment with it myself I didn't have a clear project in mind to make it happen...until last week!

Last week while scrolling through the latest posts by all the bloggers I follow I ran across this from the Can't Stop Making Things blog and thought it was just so cute and knew I had found my inspiration!

My Inspiration from Can't Stop Making Things

As I've written about before, Saturday mornings usually mean a trip to our favorite thrift store  and last Saturday I knew just what I was after!  I immediately checked the rack with all the 75% off items and found a green sweater that would make good leaves...score!  After rummaging through all the other stuff I made my way over to the racks and racks of sweaters feeling my way through until I found a beautiful royal blue sweater as well as a amethyst colored one and red one too, luckily one was another 75% off and one was 50% so I only paid full price for one of them.  What is full price you ask?  A whopping $2.29 is the full price so I paid less then 5 dollars for all 4 of these wool sweaters.

One of the other projects I'm working on is making a brooch bouquet for my Niece's wedding this spring so earlier last week I thought I'd just run into the Goodwill store to see if they had any there for me to buy...and you know, while I was there I may as well just look to see if they had any sweaters that I could use to make one of these.  I didn't find any sweaters but did find a pale pink wool vest!  Well actually, I did find a men's olive green lambswool Old Navy sweater so i brought that home with me too.  Of course I didn't think to take any pictures of them!  I just have to add that I paid for my restlessness...each of the sweaters was $4.49 at Goodwill, which is what I paid for all 4 at my favorite store...just sayin'!

Once I had amassed my collection of wool sweaters washed them in hot water then dried them on the highest heat my dryer could muster and pulled them out half the size they were when they went in!  On purpose I shrunk  I really wanted to give someone that cliche tearful heartfelt apology for shrinking their favorite sweater and thought about my hubby...but then I'd have to have had to explain it all to him first place! 

I pretty much followed her instructions for making the flowers, I cut the felted sweaters in several circles, I used 8 inch circles for the pink vest and got about 5 of them and using 6 inch circles for the blue sweater.  I then went back and cut notches in the outer circle then used a wavy kinda crazy line to cut into the circle making spirals.  To form the flowers I departed from her tutorial a bit and just layered the center of the spiral around itself till I got the the tail and then tucked it in.  I secured it all with stitches and sewed buttons in the center of each flower. 

Here is the pale pink vest transformed into a flower scarf, of course it was my first project and I was too busy playing to stop and take any pictures.  I'm not liking the big pink 'buttons' I used so I may take it apart and rework it using her tutorial for making the flowers cause I like hers better.

This is the blue sweater transformed into flowers and I like it much better, and the buttons in the center add just a touch of bling are at least proportionate to the flower...I like it!

I liked it so much I wore it today to work!

The best part?  I still have 3 more sweaters to play with!  I have plans for them too, can't wait to see what I come up with for them.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

ReStore Upcycle Challenge-Part 2~Dog Bed

My last post was the beginning of my sharing the projects I submitted to our local ReStore for their Upcycle Challenge last spring.  The challenge was to take items purchased in their store and transform them somehow and it was right up my ally!  I mentioned in my previous post how I love to create and make things but often don't have the space or in this case, the need for the things I make. 

Case in point this trash to treasure end table turned 
Dog bed

Our Saturday morning routine usually involves a trip to our Habitat for Humanity ReStore and our favorite thrift store.  While I often stop and check out our local Goodwill I don't normally buy or donate to them after finding out how much their directors make.  I'd prefer to patronize my locally owned and operated stores where I know the money is being redirected back into my local community. 
*steps off my soapbox*

While cruising the aisles of our local ReStore one day I came across this end table and although in pretty good shape it had seem better days.  She had gorgeous curvy legs and some pretty details which I knew would really stand out with some chalk paint and stain.  I've already made one of these for my friend Liz and her terror terrior Casey and I loved the way it turned out so I wanted to make another one.

I can't remember how much it was but somewhere around $12-15 , however it was also the yellow tag items turn to be reduced by 75% so it was really only $3 or $3.50 so I swooped it up as the hubby gave me that "what are you going to do with THAT" look.  I'm sure my kindred spirit repurposers know that look all to well themselves.

Although I'm pretty sure I took pictures of each step I can only find the ones I took with my phone and I've procrastinated too long already to get these projects posted so I'm just going with what I have.  I used the DIY chalk paint with some Ooops paint from Menards ($2 a quart speaks to my cheap thrifty little heart) that was a nondescript cream color.  Since it would be going to someone else's house I needed to choose a color that was fairly neutral although I really wanted to make it green or turquoise.  I also found some dowel wood caps I fitted and glued to the ends of the table legs to give it a little fancier detail then the leg bottoms.

The joy of using the chalk paint is that you don't have to prime or sand it prior to painting it, or paint it very neatly either which is great since I'm too impatient to do all that.  I gave it one coat of the chalk paint and then went in and painted the pretty scrolls and some of the accents on the piece with some blue chalk pain I had used on another project.  Once it dried I did a second coat of the cream colored chalk paint and let it all dry overnight.

(Just pretend there's a picture of my table covered in chalk paint with the pretty blue exposed)

I used a wet rag to rub over the areas I had painted blue to expose a bit of the color until I was kinda happy with how much of it was exposed.  I then sanded the whole table with a fine grit sandpaper to make sure the chalk paint was nice and smooth.  I went over some areas with a courser grit to expose some of the wood beneath the paint, mostly along the edges and some parts of the scrolled areas.  I then applied a brown glaze on top of the paint, wiping it off once I got one area coated.  This picture below shows the leg on the left after the glaze and the one on the right before.

 I glazed then wiped the whole piece until I liked the way it looked. The haphazard chalk painting technique allows the paint to hold just enough of the glaze to give it an antique feel and the glaze stayed nicely in the recessed areas of the piece giving it just the look I was going for.  Yea, Lets go with that!

I let it dry outside overnight so the glaze was good and dry.  I really like the way it turned out although now I had those two holes in the front where the fake drawer pull was attached that I had to deal with. 

If I was making this for someone I knew then I would have made a plaque with the dog, or cats name however a generic dog bone would need to suffice.  I had also picked up a piece of foam that I fit into the bottom of the table then used a pillow and blue pillow cover for the cushion.  I think it turned out pretty cute.

I hope there is a happy critter out there who is enjoying their new bed!

I'm linking up to these parties

Monday, January 6, 2014

ReStore Upcycle Challenge-Part 1~Daisy Whatchamathing

This past spring my local ReStore had an Upcycle Challenge to bring awareness to their store and mission and to raise a little cash.  I was so excited because while I love to do projects and repurpose things I don't have a place to keep everything I want to try or make, this gave me a great excuse to try a few things I'd been wanting to make.  I ended up making several things so I'm gonna break my sharing down into several blog posts.  Today I'll start with the favorite thing I made, really the only thing I wish I had kept!

My table top Daisy Whatchamathing!  

I know, I can hear you now...what the heck is a whatchamathing?  I don't really know either but I've seen them on people's tables, they usually hold things like a napkin holder & salt & pepper shaker, maybe things you don't want directly on a wood table?

This project was inspired by another of my blog stalk-ees Sawdust and Embryos where she redid the top of an old buffet she rescued from a burn pile, she redid it with a 'charcoal shading' type of technique using wood stain.  I fell in love with that technique however I'm years removed from doing any fine art type work myself,  although I've been itching to rekindle my love affair with pen and ink old barn drawings.  I know I couldn't pull off a large scale project like she did so when I found this chunky wood cabinet door I figured it was the perfect chance to try it on a much smaller scale, plus it was only .50 with the tag color 75% discount...BONUS!. The original  door was from one of those octagonal end tables that open for storage, the sides were slightly beveled and not completely square, it might just be the rebel in me...but it made me like it even more. 

I sanded all the old finish off till I was down to bare wood and drew my offset daisy on the wood with some chalk and began laying in some color with the stain.  Although Beth gave a pretty detailed tutorial for how she accomplished her design I know I'd have to just wing it, I couldn't copy her style because the flower I chose wouldn't work for that exact shading technique so I just used hers as an inspiration.  

I wiped off the original stain from the inner circle and then went back over it as well as I started laying in the beginning of the petal layers.  I kept wiping and reapplying the stain where I wanted the darkest areas.  I then began adding in the secondary petals in-between the bigger ones.

 Did I mention this was just a trial and error project?  The error comes into play because I didn't think about wiping the stain off in a controlled manner and instead I just wiped it across the whole damn thing, which in turn darkened the whole area as well.  NOT the look I was really going for but ya live, experiment and go on right?  

Once it all dried I went back in and sanded some of the stain back off to achieve the look I think I was going for.  Notice how I carried the design onto the side as well? 

 This is how it looked once the stain was all dry and finished and although kinda cool, I was disappointed.  It didn't even come close to the image I had in my head but I was hoping that once it was coated with a finishing coat it would tie it all together and I would like it more.  My mojo was deflated so I sat it aside for a week or so before deciding my next move.

I got my craft paints out and began to experiment, I ended up giving it kind of a color wash to bring out the flower a bit more.  It certainly brightened it up a lot and was more like the daisy I had in my head but was it too much?

  I figured that once again, since nobody else could see the image I had in my head it was probably good enough, besides...I wasn't gonna keep it anyway...right?  Although I did want it to bring in some money for the ReStore, and I have a habit of overthinking things at times so I figured I'd go ahead and wax it before I changed my mind again.  I was going to put a coat of poly on it but I had the wax out because I was doing some chalk-paint projects too so I just waxed and buffed it.  A few coats of wax and some elbow grease buffing it out and I fell in love with it, it was much closer to what I'd imagined.  It mellowed the color a bit and the gradual fade around the flower smoothed out a bit so it looks much more unintentional. 

I found some wooden ball knobs at Hobby Lobby and stained them to match the top, to attach them I found the double ended screws and screwed them to each corner of it so it would sit up off the table.  Of course I forgot to take a picture that showed them but here is my finished wooden daisy whatchamathing! 

 I took a picture of it with a vase of flowers that the hubby bought me, he's kinda wonderful that way. 


I suppose if I was a fancypants kinda gal I would call it a 'centerpiece'...but I'm not, and I still don't know what to call it other then....awesome! 

 I wish I had kept it, I hope it's new owner is kinda diggin' it too.

I'm linking up at Gail's Catch as Catch Can over on her My Repurposed Life blog and over at Kammy's Corner for her Trash to Treasure Tuesdays.