Month: October 2012

Craft Project: Artistic Pumpkin Carving

Creating an artistic pumpkin is much easier than you may think. All you need are a few everyday items and some art supplies, and you can create a pumpkin masterpiece too! Read the instructions below, little to no artistic knowledge is required!

SUPPLIES

  • Pumpkin
  • Printed image
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Sharpie
  • Knife
  • Xacto knife or box cutter
  • Carving tools (you can find basic wood carving tools at Home Depot or even better is a printmaking tool called a linoleum cutter, which you can find at any art store… see the image below)

HOW TO:

STEP ONE: Take the printed image and completely color the back with pencil, make sure you have a nice even layer covering the back

STEP TWO: Tape the image to your pumpkin, you may have to fold it in order to make it fit around the shape of your pumpkin, but do your best!

STEP THREE: Trace over all of the lines in your image with a pencil. By putting pressure on the front of the image you are transferring the pencil on the back of the image onto the pumpkin. Try not to rub the image unnecessarily, this may cause pencil to transfer to the pumpkin in areas you don’t want it to.

STEP FOUR: Outline everything in black to make it easier to see your lines. Fill in the areas you want to carve out completely with sharpie. This will help you stay on track when you start carving.

STEP FIVE: Cut open the top, clean out your pumpkin, and start carving! Use the xacto and box cutter to cut small areas all the way out. Use the printmaking or carving tools to carves areas you want low, but not cut all the way out. Make sure you carve deep enough for light to be able to shine through! You can also use a spoon and scoop out the inside of the pumpkin to make the walls thinner from the inside.

STEP SIX: Put a candle inside and enjoy your artistic, masterpiece pumpkin! Happy Halloween!

Check out my video below to see even more images of the process!

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I hope you enjoyed my Halloween post! Please help me spread the word about my blog by sharing with others, repost, like, tweet, subscribe, and comment!


 

Craft Project: Fake Built in Bookcase

I love to read. It is one of my favorite past times to curl up with a good book, take a break from the real world, and escape into the sea of words held in the pages of my most recent reading adventure.

My reading obsession has broaden my world, without ever having to leave my house. But, it is has constricted my closet. My poor books, with nowhere to go, have ended up in boxes filling every closet in my house. I longed for a bookcase to display them, but our small house has little space for the book trophy case I require.

After two years of racking my brain for any available space to display my books, it finally hit me. The space behind our bedroom door at the top of the stairs was a dead space. A small nook, with nothing there. It was a small, narrow space, useless for most things, but perfect for a bookcase.

Nick and I have done A LOT of projects around our house, which has also caused our bank account to sag a bit. My need for a bookcase was trumped by our bank accounts need to withhold funds. However, I was impatient, and as usual I found a way to get it done right away. Rather than spend a lot of time and money constructing a bookcase from scratch I did some research and found two pre-fab bookcases from Target that fit perfectly. I loved the look of the two cases next to each other because it not only filled the space but it also looked more like a unique, custom built bookcase.

Below are the supplies and set-by-step instructions on how I completed this DIY, home improvement, craft project. All you need are a few basic tools, and basic knowledge on how to work them. Due to my impatience (in life and with this project) I decided I wanted to get this project done in one weekend, which also happened to be a weekend Nick was out of town. I am proud to say I did this 100% on my own, which shows how easy it was!

SUPPLIES

  • Pre-fab bookcase
  • Box cutter
  • Paint scrapper
  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Scrap wood
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Dry wall mollies
  • Screwdriver
  • Circular Saw
  • Caulk
  • Paint
  • Paint brush

HOW TO:

STEP 1: Remove the molding from the wall. I had never done this before and was afraid I would break the molding or punch a hole in the wall. I had to take a minute to allow my impatience to subside before I started my research, gathered my tools, and prepped before I jumped right in.

  • First use a box cutter to slice the caulk between the molding and the wall.
  • Then use a metal scrapper to wedge between the molding and the wall. Wiggle it slowly to loosen the board and the nails.
  • Once you create a space between the molding and wall place a scrap piece of wood on the wall and a pry bar in the space. Slowly pry the molding off with the pry bar, making sure to put pressure on the scrap wood on the wall. This will disperse the weight and prevent the pry bar from punching a hole in the wall.
  • Use a hammer to remove all of the nails.
  • I used a great website to help me with the process, check it out here!

STEP 2: Pre-fab bookcase… While looking around for the perfect case I found that the cheapest places to find bookcases are Target, Walmart, and IKEA. If you are flexible on color and size the process won’t be too difficult. Since I had a very specific size space and wanted a white bookshelf, it took a few weeks plus an in store and online purchase to get what I needed.

  • Put together your bookcase according to the directions that came with it.
  • Place the bookcase in the area you want to install them.
  • Make any adjustments necessary, make sure the bookcase is level.  (Living in a 1940’s home there are a lot of odd things in my house, including uneven walls. I had to place a scrap piece of wood under the front legs of the bookcase in order to push the bookcase against the wall.).
  • Use a screwdriver to create holes through the bookcase and into the wall, to create a pilot hole for the dry wall mollies, and to make it easier to insert screws. When doing this always make sure the drill bit you use is slightly smaller than the screw you are using.
  • Place dry wall mollies where they are needed and use screws to attach the bookshelves to the wall.

STEP 3: Reattaching the molding… I had to take my existing molding and re-cut it in order to piece it together on the front of the bookshelf.

  • Using a circular saw make any adjustments necessary to piece the molding together on the front of your bookshelf. In order to create a clean look on the corners cut the molding at 45 degree angles.
  • Attach the molding to the front of the bookcase and nail it with finishing nails.
  • Spackle on top of the nails heads in order to make them blend in.
  • Caulk the top edge of the molding to create a clean look.

STEP 4: Finishing…

  • Spackle over any holes in the bookshelf. If you are 100% satisfied with the placement of the shelves, Spackle over the shelf adjustment holes in order to make it look like a custom built shelf.
  • Paint the molding to cover up the Spackle, paint the shelf where it is necessary.
  • Put your books on display!

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Visual Journal Page 12: The Never Ending Thank Yous

I won’t forget how my stomach was filled with butterflies as my Dad led me to the aisle, I was terrified I would trip, stutter, or cry, with all of those people looking at me. However, as soon as I made eye contact with my future hub, the fluttering began to subside. As I approached the alter and turned to look at the crowd, the fluttering came to a halt. The “crowd” was made up of our closest friends and family. I had nothing to worry about, and my nerves gave way and allowed me to put focus on Nick and the commitment we were about to make.

I was already thankful to have the amount of support we did on our wedding day, and it was an added bonus that our support also provided a lot of gifts. I won’t forgot the feeling I had when we received our very first wedding gift a couple of months before the wedding. It solidified what we were doing, it made everything seem real. The date seemed so far away, but when that first gift found its way to our doorstep it suddenly seemed like it was right around the corner. As the gifts rolled in we opened them, oohed and ahhed, and promptly mailed our thank you card. I thought we had it under control, I thought we wouldn’t have too many to write after the wedding, since we had already received so many gifts. I was wrong.

The last day of our honeymoon was bittersweet. I was ready to go home, but who wants to leave paradise and face the real world full of work and bills. We slowly packed our things, and headed to the airport. The long drive to the airport, flight, Marta ride to Roswell just to pick up our cars to turn around and head home, equaled an almost 12 hour day of travel. I was exhausted. As we pulled into the driveway of my Parent’s house dread weighed on my shoulders. I didn’t feel like getting back into another car to drive another 40 minutes home. But, it had to be done, so I mustered as much will as possible, and ran inside to grab the gifts brought the night of the wedding.

My parents house was filled with presents. Baskets of items, a pile of envelopes, big and small boxes, ribbons, bows, bags, and multicolored tissue paper filled the den and dining room. My plans to nap on the way home while Nick drove were quickly replaced by my realization that this was going to require two cars. We spent the next twenty minutes loading up gift after gift before we finally hit the road.

Despite our overwhelming exhaustion we opened every single gift that night. As soon as the first piece of wrapping paper tore, I didn’t stop moving. I couldn’t help it. As soon as one surprise was revealed, I couldn’t wait to see what the next box, bag, or envelope contained. We practically got everything on our registry, and I thought I over registered. We had a stack of checks, new decor for both bathrooms, our bed set, and more things than could fit in our kitchen. I couldn’t believe the generosity of our friends and families. Their gifts helped us buy Nick a new car when his died. They have helped us get started in our new lives without depending on our finances to get our house decorated and filled. Not a day goes by that I don’t use at least five things given to us on our wedding day.

Although we hadn’t really made a dent in the thank yous before the wedding, like I originally thought, I didn’t mind writing them. The least I could do was remind the person how much I loved and appreciated them. How much their gift meant to me. How I love using it everyday because it reminds me of my wedding day, and the commitment I made to Nick.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual Journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Thank you cards & envelopes
  • Gift list
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

This page was simple enough to make. It only required a few supplies in addition to the items I already had. I love making pages with sentimental items because it means more and it is often easier to complete. Once we wrote all of our thank you letters I took one card from each design we sent out. I also took the list of all of the gifts we received to use as the background. I wasn’t 100% sure how to place everything, so I began cutting the list up. As I snipped off the corners I carefully placed them on the page. Something about the triangular shaped appealed to me, so I decided to go with it. I layered the triangle cut outs with the cards and envelopes until I liked the way the composition looked.

Once everything was glued down, I took a step back and looked at the page. I really enjoyed the texture and colors, but everything blended in with the cream colored background. I quickly decided the best option was sharpie scribbles. I found a black sharpie, and got to work. Whenever I am unsatisfied with a background, I often find myself adding scribbles. It creates interesting movement and texture, and is a very quick fix. Once I was finished, I stepped back once again, and took it all in. While it’s not my favorite page, I am satisfied with it. Every time I look at it I am reminded of the generosity of our friends and family. However, the end result was a little more severe than I intended. The black background created more of a gloomy feel than I esnyrf, perhaps a silver or gray sharpie would’ve been the best bet.

CHALLENGE

Create a page that uses cut paper. Pick a few colors, textures, words, a pair of scissors, and start cutting. Try to be random and loose. Layer them in your journal, add them to a picture, put magazine images on top, or leave it abstract. The rest is up to you!

Visual Journal Page 11: You Are My Everything

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how thankful I am to be with a husband as loving and caring as mine.

Growing up my Mom always told me I needed to marry a guy who worshiped the ground I walked on, and treated me like a princess.  Perhaps having that expectation in my head made me a bit picky as I hit my dating years. I would go out on one, maybe two dates with someone, before moving on. I always had the ability to pin point my suitors downfalls before we even hit date number three. Even as a teen I figured there was no point in wasting my time with someone if I didn’t feel it was going anywhere. My longest relationship before I meet Nick was maybe two months, which had been a big deal.

I first met Nick at a friend’s birthday party my sophomore year of college, 2005. I walked out on the back patio, and there he was, lounging in a chair. As soon as I laid eyes on him I thought to myself, “that boy is very cute, I’m going to hang out with him later tonight”. I stepped back inside, and began devising a plan to lure him inside. After striking a few ideas I came up the perfect plan, start a group game. I grabbed a deck of cards, stuck my head back out, and announced that a card game would be starting shortly, and any interested parties should make their way inside.

It worked like a charm. Nick made his way inside, sat on the sofa, and I made sure I snagged the spot right next to him. We spent the remainder of the night chatting, laughing, and getting to know each other. My roommates and I already had a party in the works for a weekend coming up, and I urged him to come by. Everything was going perfect, we spent the entire night together, and there was an event in the future I could use as an excuse to see him again. I knew that at the end of the night he would whip out his phone, and ask for my number. My instincts were right all night, but apparently I missed the mark when it came to the close of the party. He said goodbye, and walked away without getting a single digit.

I was a little put out, I spent a lot of energy winning him over all night (or so I thought) and he just walked away. I left the party thinking I would have to find a way to hang out with the party host again, just so I could run into Nick. Two weeks went by, I fell into my regular routine, classes, studying, writing papers, and hanging out with friends. Our first house party was approaching, we were already consumed with planning for it, and slowly but surely Nick began to fall off my radar.

That weekend Theresa and I decided to have a night out on the town, or at least the approximate 3 x 5 blocks that create Athens downtown. We made our way to the first stop of the night, a very stereotypical freshman hangout, Bourbon Street. Just as I thought Nick had fallen off the edge of the Earth in my brain, he hurtled right back in. As soon as I stepped foot in the bar, there was Nick. He was sitting in a booth with a large group, made up mostly of females, which was slightly intimidating. All of the reasoning I came up with to forget about him went down the drain. The “he really wasn’t that cute, or funny, or charming, or anything I am really looking for” justifications, were gone. He was that cute, funny, charming, and I really did want to hang out with him. As soon as he met my eyes, he waved us over. Before I even got to him, he had his phone out, ready to get my number.

He immediately made up for faltering at the party.

We parted ways soon after with promises to see each other at our house party, and another week of waiting ensued. My excitement grew as the big day approached, my belly did somersaults every time I imagined him walking through the door. The night came, I politely talked with everyone, made my rounds, but always kept one eye on the door. He never did make it through the door that night, but he did make it over the balcony and through the patio door to make an entrance. From the minute he arrived, I abandoned my hostess duties, and put all my attention on him. We spent the night hanging out, and the next weekend, and the next, until we quickly found ourselves seeing each other daily. We hit the ground running, and we kept running, until five years later he got down on one knee, and asked me to continue running with him, for the rest of our lives.

My longest relationship of two months was quickly overlapped by my now over seven years with Nick. After just a couple of months I knew he was going to be my husband. It felt right, comfortable, in my soul I knew that this is what I had been waiting for. I fulfilled my Mom’s hopes of marrying someone who treated me like a princess. Nick goes above and beyond to make me happy on a daily basis. He surprises me with gifts, makes me breakfast, takes me out on spontaneous dates, comes to school events (complain free), gives me massages while we watch TV, hides love letters around the house, and above all he loves me with all his heart and he makes sure that I know it. I have never doubted our relationship because he would never do anything to hurt me. I never wonder what he is doing when I’m not around, because I know how much he loves me. He makes me feel as if I am the center of his universe, and I believe it. Perhaps that makes me conceited, but I can only blame that on him. I know he is 100% mine, I know he will be mine forever, because he has put a lot of effort into convincing me of that. He is my everything, and my only hope is that I do as good of a job convincing him as he does for me.

Seven years later I want to go back to the night the nineteen-year-old me poked my head out the back door and first laid eyes on him. I want to tap myself on the should and whisper in my ear, that is your future husband.

SUPPLIES:

  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • Laser printed image
  • Mod Podge
  • Colored pencils
  • Paint brush
  • Water

HOW TO:

Before I made this page I knew exactly what I wanted to do for it. This image is one of our engagement pictures, and is one of my favorites. I had to include it in my journal. I knew I wanted to do some type of image transfer, because I love the way it creates a semi-transparent look so you can see the words in the book. I decided a Mod Podge transfer would be perfect, and I got to work. When I first did Mod Podge transfers I didn’t do them 100% correct. I would paint one layer on the image, place it face down on the page, and before it fully dried I would try to peel the back off. As you can see in this page, that didn’t always work. Areas would tear, spots wouldn’t stick, believe it or not this was the best transfer I did out of more than I care to remember I attempted.

To do a proper Mod Podge transfer you take a laser printed image (because there is a higher density of ink) paint one coat of Mod Podge on top, and let it dry. Once dry, you paint another coat, and let it dry. Once the second coat dries you paint a third, and while it is still wet place it face down on the page, and burnish it with something wide and flat, such as a spoon or scissor handles. To burnish all you do is rub the object on the back of the image in order to make sure every part of it is pressed firmly to the page. After the final coat dries, wet the back and using a sponge or your fingers rub the paper off. The end result should be the color ink from the image stuck to the paper, with no white paper on the back. It creates a semitransparent look, with words showing through the lighter areas. REMEMBER: Mod Podge transfers create a mirror image, words will be backwards unless you reverse them!

Once I had a successful Mod Podge transfer I decided I wanted to somehow break out of the rectangular shape the original photograph was in. In the end I decided to use color pencils and scribble around the image, carefully matching the colors to the best of my ability, to make it look like the picture was bleeding out onto the book page. To finish it off I used a two ripped pieces of book pages and a not so successful transfer to create a space to write my words along. I used sharpie to write the words.

CHALLENGE:

Use an image in your journal, but find a creative way to break out of the typical rectangular photo shape. Rip it, cut it, create a transfer, color on it. Think outside of the box, literally.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! If you did, share the love by tweeting, liking, sharing, subscribing, or some other fun way. Feel free to comment and/or ask questions! Happy journaling!


 

 

Visual Journal Page 10: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Being born and raised in the south also means that I was born and raised with the Braves. Growing up I remember rooting for Chipper Jones, Javy Lopez, and Tom Glavine. I still remember walking into the Braves stadium for the first time, amazed by the gargantuan size of the stadium. As we approached, the stadium slowly blocked out the sun, making me feel as if I was at the base of a mountain. We continued towards the mountain and our family began to mesh with the thousands of other baseball enthusiasts filing through the gates. I remember being amazing by all of the games they had set up for kids, the firework shooting coke bottles, and the sea of red, white, and blue continuously flowing around me.

When I turned ten I decided rather than have a birthday party I wanted to go see the Braves, and my parents made sure it was a special day. They bought me a brand new Braves shirt, and my Dad shelled out to get two amazing seats, while the rest of the family sat in the nose bleeds. I still remember walking with my Dad to our seats, I kept thinking surely they must be on this row, or this one, it has to be this row, yet we continued to walk towards the field. Our seats were in the first section directly behind home plate, we had an amazing view. I can still feel my heart skipping a beat every time a foul ball flew into our section, wishing it would fly a little more to the left, and right into my glove. Despite not catching a foul ball, it was still one of my most memorable birthdays.

I don’t get to Braves games as often as I would like to, but I make sure to get to at least one every summer. It is always a highlight of my summer, and I still get the same feeling I did when I was ten walking into the stadium. This summer, 2010, was quickly passing, the school year started, and I barely had a chance to think about baseball while I was preparing for my upcoming classes. I hadn’t been to a single game that season, and I didn’t even realize it until my sister-in-law, Stacey, called about going to a game. I was so excited to hear she wanted to go to one, and even more excited when I realized I still had a chance to get to a game before the season ended. It was evern better when I found out that not only would I get to a game, but I also had the opportunity to go for free! Stacey’s work had extra tickets, that she quickly snatched up, which also included a parking pass and a voucher for food at the 755 club.

The day of the game quickly approached, and I scrambled to get my work done, and ended up leaving later than expected. I quickly pulled into the driveway at home, immediately hopped into Nick’s car, and had to change into my Braves wear on the way. The long work day took it out of me, my initial excitement for the game had waned a bit, and was replaced by heavy eye lids and continuous yawning. However, as we approached the stadium I began to perk up, the size of the stadium still captivates me, and I soon forgot how tired I was. We began passing our typical parking spots, abandoned lots manned by people holding homemade price signs, and we continued to drive closer, and closer to the stadium. We ended up getting amazing parking, I didn’t have to walk under bridges, dart across streets, or fend off homeless people. We parked, got out of our car, and it felt like it only took ten steps to walk into the stadium. I felt special as we walked up to the 755 club, we were waved through level of security after level of security. It was my tenth birthday all over again, but all grown up. We enjoyed good food and a good game in the comfort of an air conditioned room. We later walked out to our actual seats, and we enjoyed the rest of the game (or until my sleep caught up with me somewhere in the 7th inning) sitting in the warm summer air, cheering on my Braves, and watching the sky slowly fade from blue to black.

It was the perfect way to close the summer. School had just started, but I still hadn’t settled into my school routine. That last night sitting in the Braves stadium really signified that last night of summer. Another year had gone by, another season was quickly coming and going, I was a long way from my tenth birthday, but every time I enter that stadium it feels like I’m right back there, as if no time has passed.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Magazines
  • Braves tickets

HOW TO

This page required little supplies but extra patience and planning. I love to create ripped magazine fades in my books, and I knew I wanted to do it for this page to capture the game progressing from evening to night. I went through magazine after magazine and ripped out any page with light, medium, dark blues and black. After I had a nice stack I ripped up each page into smaller pieces and organized them based on the color. I then took my stacks and arranged them from light to dark in a straight line. By setting it up like this is gives me an idea of how well my colors fade from light to dark, if there is a section that looks like it moves too quickly from light to dark, I return to my magazines and try to find the perfect color to help the transition. Once I had all of my colors for the sky, I began gluing them down. I started with the light colors and moved my way up. When layering images it is always better to work from back to front to create an illusion of depth, once I had my sky complete I worked forward, adding the flags, tickets, and field.

Once my sky was glued down I went through all of the items I had collected from the game day to see if I wanted to incorporate anything. I decided to glue down our tickets and parking pass, and I also cut out images of flags from a brochure. I put the flags down first, then the tickets, and then I began working on the field. I wanted a patchwork look for this section, so I pulled any image with green color and grass texture for the outfield, and brown, dirt texture for the infield. I also ripped these up and glued them down. To emphasize my baseball field I ripped up tiny pieces of white and glued them down for the bases. As usual, to finish off the page I added the words “take me out to the ball game” with a thin sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a page about a seasonal tradition, not including holidays. It can be a baseball game, football game, tailgating, corn mazes, building a snowman. Use ripped up magazines to create some aspect of the page. This is the perfect way to memorialize one of your favorite traditions, make sure it’s special.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Please help me spread the word about visual journals, share with others, e-mail, link over to it, tweet, like, and please comment! Thanks for your support!

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