Category: Crafty Projects

These posts deal with crafty projects I do. I like to make gifts as often as possible and I have come up with a lot of easy, cheap ways to create personalized items. I also love to decorate, and often make things for my house such as wall hangings, furniture, and re purposed items.

DIY Craft Project: Dining Room Table Repaint

I have always wanted a bench, farmhouse style table, and years back I got my wish. My Uncle’s Mom had one they needed to find a new home for while prepping their house to sell. I immediately jumped on it, and brought it home to complete our dining room. Although the finish was darker than what I planned, it worked well in our small, and very bright dining room. However, once little man Cooper came in the picture, things began to change.

As Cooper hit his milestones, smiling, laughing, sitting up, crawling, and walking, our house felt smaller and smaller. His toys began taking over our small living room and I began brainstorming some alternatives. I eventually decided it was time to say goodbye to our sweet dining room. We rarely ate in there, only when we entertained guests, and it wasn’t the best use of the space. It has since been transformed into Cooper’s playroom. It was the perfect solution. It’s situated right off our living room, and we can easily gate the doorway, to keep him in and dogs out. It was tight as a dining room, it was converted form a porch to a room years before we purchased the house, but it’s the perfect size for an almost two year old and his things.

The loss of the dining room meant I had to move around and store some of my beloved furniture. If you read my blog, you know I collect pieces of furniture like people collect jewelry. Each piece is special, important, and carefully selected. My beautiful, white, round kitchen table is now living in our attic. Hopefully that is a temporary spot, once I have a studio space or larger kitchen it will come back out to the light of day. Our farmhouse table was moved to take the spot my kitchen table used to occupy. I decided this was the better choice, since this offered more seating. The dining table is slightly large for the space, it must be pulled out if we ever have enough people to seat around it. But, it gives us a place to entertain and eventually have family dinners.

The dark wood that once worked in the dining room suddenly felt very outdated and heavy in our little kitchen nook. I decided I needed to take a risk and try painting it, shockingly something I have never done on a larger piece of furniture. I did some research, collected my supplies, and got to work.

SUPPLIES:

  • Furniture to refinish
  • Heavy duty cleaner like Trisodium Phosphate (or decent cleaner)
  • Chalk paint, for this size project I used 2 quarts of paint.
  • Paint brushes
  • Rollers
  • Paint tray
  • A lot of paper towels or rags
  • Drop cloth
  • Sandpaper

HOW TO:

Step one: I live with hairy animals, so I knew this was a project that couldn’t be completed in my house. I moved the table and benches down to our garage. I laid out a big drop cloth, set everything on top and got to work cleaning.

Step two: Thoroughly clean the furniture. I recently refinished my kitchen cabinets and used the cleaner, Trisodium Phosphate. It’s a harsh chemical that is not environmentally friendly or health friendly, but it does the trick. I decided it’s better to use it for these types of projects since I am doing it on such a small scale and so infrequently. I didn’t use it for my table, and I wish I had. Instead I used my standard cleaners and did my best cleaning the dust, etc. It worked well enough, but there are spots I think the paint would have stuck better if I was more thorough at this stage.

Step three: Start painting! With chalkboard paint there is no sanding or stripping required, which is why I chose to go that route. Paint a solid coat, let it dry for 24 hours, and add coat number two. This project took awhile because I was covering such a dark piece it took 3 coats of paint. I also had to rotate the piece so I could get underneath and between all the decorative sections.

Step four: Once you have the coverage and look you want, you are done! Move it back into the space and enjoy. For this, my step four was adding a clear coat. I wanted a smoother, slicker finish, which the chalkboard paint doesn’t offer. However, the clear coat I used ended up turning a yellowish color so I do not recommend doing this.

Optional step five: I opted to go back in with sandpaper to rough up some of the edges. I didn’t go crazy with sanding, since the wood beneath is so dark I was worried it would compete with the white if I let too much show through. I hit the edges in a few spots with the sandpaper, just enough to show a little dark through the white paint. I also had to sand down the many drips I ended up with.

I am very happy with my finished product. The fact that the table really is too large for the space is downplayed now that the table is a lighter color. I also love the way my beautiful, blue Crate and Barrel chairs look with the white finish. Please excuse the missing chair, it also has to serve the purpose of high chair holder for Cooper when we don’t have guests over, and I didn’t even realize it wasn’t there for my final picture.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about crafting, DIY, art making, etc. by sharing on your social media site of choice. Thanks for stopping by!


 

Joining the Art and Craft Fair Circuit

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After a two years of collecting parts I finally have my outdoor booth set up ready to go. It’s officially June, and I have two outdoor fests under my belt with one more before the month closes out.

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Atlanta is not shy when it comes to hosting festivals, the latest addition is the Mac n’ Cheese fest, often with multiple festivals per weekend come spring and fall. This makes weekend planning difficult, but it allows me to have a variety of options when choosing which festivals to apply to and participate in.

Chastain Park Arts Festival was my introduction into the outdoor festival circuit. The weekend couldn’t have brought more perfect weather. It was low eighties, a light breeze, and a good continuous crowd. I was pleased with my profit earnings and the connections I made in the Atlanta art community.

Joining the festival circuit doesn’t just mean I have another venue to sell my art. It also means I get plugged into the art community. I have a much greater opportunity to meet likeminded and goal oriented people. I have the chance to build relationships, learn more about my craft, and be inspired by others. I love feeling like I am finally part of the community I have observed from the outside in for so many years.

Virginia Highlands Summerfest came next with an even better weekend, better foot traffic, much hotter days and a lesson in rain. I learned to place my oil paintings at the front of my booth, to save my encaustics from the direct sunlight (and potential melting) that inevitably pours in. I learned that if there is a chance of rain everything that sits on the ground should be placed on a raised surface. The later was a difficult lesson to learn when I opened my tent the next morning to deep puddles and a bag of ruined mats and prints.

Next up is Old Fourth Ward Park Arts Festival in just a week and a half. In between spending time with my family on Hilton Head Island, I am ordering new mats and prints, gluing paper to panels, and painting a new batch of fruit and veggies. I can’t wait to see what comes from this next festival and the break afterwards until my schedule fills up for the fall. Check out more about my new oil paintings below!

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When I first set up my booth to take pictures I realized my encaustics could melt if it was warm enough outside and they were in direct sunlight. I began to panic. After all I had just invested a lot of money for my set up. What would I do if I couldn’t display my product outside?

Version 2While teaching an idea hit me. My students had just started oil paint studies of food. I was itching to paint with oils on canvas again and started my own so I could work along with my kids. I loved getting back to the basics of just paint and I was pleased with the way my bell pepper and pomegranate turned out. I wanted to do more.

After thinking about it I decided these would be the perfect solution to my encaustic melting problem. If I moved around my artwork based on where the sun was hitting I could keep my encaustic out of the sun by displaying my oils in the sun.

Since my bell pepper and pomegranate studies I have completed blueberries, eggs, a cabbage, orange, cauliflower, garlic, mussel, oyster, and I am finishing up a kiwi, tomato, onion, and papaya. Each of these food studies are 6″x6.” I start with an underpainting, typically choosing the complementary color of the food I am painting for the background.

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After allowing the underpainting to dry I mark out the shape of the food and add some detail before applying my first layer of white to the background.

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I like to leave hints of the underpainting peeking through. Whether it’s along the edge of a bowl or in between eggs, I think it adds another interesting detail to the piece.

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I also pushed myself to loosen up my painting style by trying out palette knife painting. I started with portraits of my chickens Rachel, Thackary Binx, Sir Sylvia, and Linda. I loved the texture and the sense of movement the palette knife marks made.

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I decided to go even bigger than the 12×12 chicken portraits and I completed a 32″x32″ positive/negative space painting of the Crescent City Connection bridge in New Orleans.

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I will post additional information about my upcoming festival, Old Fourth Ward Park Arts Festival, next week.

With sweet Cooper, my 13 new chicks, finishing up teaching for the year, and prepping for four festivals, I have had little time to update my blog. I hope to get back to posting weekly this summer. I look forward to keeping in touch. Thanks for stopping by!


 

 

Craft Project: Baby Monthly Update Sign DIY

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Time goes by faster and faster the older I get. Now that I have a little boy it seems like time has hit warp speed.

Cooper is literally growing up before my eyes. By the time I wrap my brain around the fact that he is making a new cooing noise he is suddenly laughing, smiling, and wiggling more than ever. I can’t believe in a few short months he will be sitting up, crawling, and on the verge of walking and talking.

The time warp of motherhood has also overlapped into my projects. My spare time has greatly decreased and my productivity has gone down with it. I had no idea the amount of time this little guy would need. His unpredictable nap schedule was the only chance I had to work on my crafts, which is why this particular one is three months late. Better late than never, right? This is my new mantra.

While I was pregnant I began looking for the monthly stickers to use when photographing Cooper for his monthly pictures and update. Over the years I saw these stickers increase in popularity, and eventually they were clogging my Facebook wall and Instagram account. When it came time for me to select my own, I was over it. I had seen it too many times, I wanted something different. In my hormonal fog, pregnant state of mind I decided I would have plenty of time to put together a handmade sign to use for the photographs after Cooper made his entrance into the world.

Oscar

Once Coop arrived my time was gone. If I wasn’t feeding him or rocking him to sleep, I was half asleep trying to guess when he would wake up next and whether or not I had the energy to pick myself off the sofa and feed myself. This sequence would end with me ultimately deciding it was too much work to stand, I was more tired than hungry and the sofa was too comfortable to move. If I was too tired to eat, there was no way I was going to put time or effort into a craft project.

Once things began to settle down, and Cooper began to fall into a more predictable schedule, I started to feel like myself again. I was ready to do something other than binge watch TV. I started planning out his sign.

I had no idea what I wanted to create for his monthly updates. Everything I came up with I had seen before. I kept putting it off and putting it off out of lack of inspiration and time. One day while perusing Facebook I saw one of my friend’s post a one month picture of her sweet son, Oscar. Next to him was a beautiful sign with his name on it, made out of a tree trunk round. On the back she put chalkboard paint to allow her to change information about him has he grows. I was immediately inspired, and highly motivated. Coop’s three month birthday was on the horizon, and I was dead set on at least getting pictures for his 3, 6, 9, and 12 month birthdays.

Supplies

For this project you will need a wood round, sander, paint (the colors are up to you!), chalkboard paint, paintbrushes, chalk, and a sharpie (not listed and optional).  At the time my husband just happened to have three trees taken down on our property and he was hard at work chopping them up. I had him cut me a few rounds, approximately 1 inch thick. It took another week to start my project once I had my rounds cut, and when I finally set up to start I realized the rounds had cracked. I assume this happened because it was fresh wood. I chose the least damaged one and get to work.

Step 1 and 2

The surface of my round was pretty rough because of the way it was cut, so my step 1 was taking a power sander to it. I never got it as smooth as I would have liked, the chalk goes down a little rough, but I made it work.

Next, I painted the chalkboard paint on one side. I used the natural pattern of the rings as a guide for the edge of my shape, and I chose to leave a natural wood border around the edge. I applied two coats of the chalkboard paint, allowing it to dry in between layers.

Step 3

After the chalkboard paint dried I flipped the wood round over, and painted the back with a turquoise color. I wanted it to match his room, so I used leftover wall paint from painting the walls. Again, I used the natural ring pattern to create the edge of the shape and left a natural wood border.

Step 4

Using a pencil I lightly wrote out his name in cursive. If you are not confident in your lettering ability, all you have to do is print out typed letters and trace them onto the surface.

Step 5

I used a thin paintbrush and white acrylic paint to paint his name and outline the turquoise shape. It took a few coats to get the white solid enough to pop out against the background color.

Step 6

Initially I planned to outline everything in black acrylic paint, but the details were too small to easily add them using a paintbrush. I instead opted for a black sharpie, and it worked perfectly. Because I was able to control the application of the sharpie more than paint, I was able to clean up the edges of his name and add small details to the border.

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I used chalk to write “3 months” on the chalkboard for his first monthly photo shoot. I set up a white blanket over an arm chair and placed it near our backdoor where sunlight was coming in. I frantically shot picture after picture in between sticking a pacifier in his mouth, dancing around like a crazy person, and making odd sounds to keep him entertained.

Cooper 3 Months

I laid the blanket on the floor for a few of the pictures to allow him to move around more. I love that as he grows he will be able to start holding the sign by himself. I can’t wait to look at how the pictures transition with him growing and the wood sign staying the same size.

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Of course not every picture will be perfect, but I love this one just as much as the rest.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Keep checking back for more Cooper updates and hopefully more craft project how tos, as long as Coop and time allows. Help me spread the word about my blog by sharing on your social network site of choice. Thanks for stopping by!


 

Christmas Craft: Baby’s First Ornament

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November 12th, 2015 my sweet baby boy was born. Between the visitors, nurses, doctors, and mentally processing my new baby and title as mom, I barely remember our hospital stay. I do remember the excitement of packing up our things, trying to figure out how to put Cooper in his carseat the first time, and the mounting anxiety as we got closer to home. I walked in the door, sat down, looked at Nick and my creation, and felt terrified. We had a tiny human to look after.

Four and a half weeks later I still feel moments of terror thinking about the responsibility we took on. However, the fear is now mixed in with laughter, excitement for each new day and new thing he does, and unconditional love for this little man.

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Once things began settling down Nick and I realized Christmas was just around the corner. Coop’s first big outing was to our local Lowe’s to pick out our Christmas tree. The next few days were spent unpacking Christmas boxes and transforming our house into our own Christmas wonderland.

As I set out the stockings I came to the sudden realization that this was Cooper’s first Christmas and he needed Christmas things. He needed presents, a stocking, and of course, baby’s first ornament. I immediately went to my favorite shopping website, Etsy, to see what I could find.

After much research I fell in love with a polar bear stocking, handmade in Ireland, from Santa’s Sock Central. Despite being December already, the stocking was shipped out quickly and arrived in plenty of time. My first item was checked off the list.

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Next, I began the hunt for the perfect ornament. I searched through page after page on Etsy and found nothing that peaked my interest. I felt the majority of the ornaments aired on the side of cheesy. I wanted something sentimental, traditional, and interesting. I wanted an ornament Cooper would gladly take and put on his own tree one day.

After coming up empty handed I decided it was time for another craft project. I would find a way to personalize an ornament for him. I ended up finding a beautiful hand blown glass ornament from Grow Gallery, and knew it would make the perfect base. I decided to use glass paint to put Cooper’s handprint and his birth date on the ornament. It would be quick, easy, and exactly what I was looking for.

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To personalize the ornament all I needed was the ornament, glass paint (non-toxic), a paint brush, and paper towels for clean up.

We waited until Cooper was good and tired until Nick and I attempted the first hand print. We quickly painted his hand and tried to immediately press it to the ornament. However, as soon as the paint hit his hand, his little fingers curl into a fist that was difficult to uncurl. By the time we had his hand flat the paint was smeared on everything. By the time his hand made contact with the ornament half the paint had dried. It was a complete failure.

Three attempts later I decided the hand was too much, a footprint would have to do. Once again I waited until he was fast asleep and carefully pulled his foot from his onsie footie.

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At every stretch, groan, and deep breath I froze for a moment, hoping he wouldn’t wake up. Next, I applied the paint, and held my breath as I waited for him to wake from his slumber.

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Surprisingly, he stayed fast asleep through the foot painting, and didn’t wake up until his foot made contact with the ornament. The first try I got a clean print that only needed light cleaning up around the edges. I used a thinner paintbrush to add his birth date under this heel.

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After air drying for four days I baked the ornament in the oven for 20 minutes at 325 degrees to set the paint. I love the end product and how personal it is. Once I gave up on the hand print and opted for the “mistletoes” print, the printing process only took a few minutes from start to finish.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about my arts and crafts by sharing with others. I couldn’t do it without you! Merry Christmas, happy holidays!


 

Craft Project: Christmas Ornament Wreath

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The DIY Christmas ornament wreath is a project I have seen circulating crafting websites for many years. While this isn’t a new or innovative craft I loved the look, wanted to make my own, and share my experience with you. This wreath was made in preparation for Christmas 2014, and this year I rounded out the look of the exterior of my house with matching twig and ornament wreaths for my windows. Check out the pictures of that finished product below!

When I say Christmas is my favorite time of year, I mean Christmas is my favorite time of year. My mood begins a slow rise as Halloween approaches, it marks the beginning of the holiday season. I get another boost as Thanksgiving reaches the horizon, knowing Christmas is right around the corner. While I am a Christmas enthusiast, I am also a strict seasonal rule follower. No Christmas decor should appear until the day after Thanksgiving. This means when the time finally comes to go Christmas tree shopping and dust off my many boxes of nutcrackers, I need to make the most of it for the short stretch between turkeys and santas.

Because Christmas only lasts a month (or longer depending how long it takes me to de-decorate post Christmas) that month is jam packed with Christmas music, egg nog, shopping, wrapping paper, and holiday decor. It is very typical for my holiday season to also be filled with holiday crafts. I love making gifts for others and revamping my holiday decor. Last year I decided to finally take the plunge and create my own ornament wreath. Check out supplies, instructions, and tips below!

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This wreath appealed to me because it requires few supplies, the supplies are cheap, and the end product is beautiful. All you need to get start is:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Wire hanger
  • Round ornaments
  • Ribbon (optional)

I found the wire hanger in my closet and I purchased the ornaments and ribbon at Hobby Lobby during one of their 50% off sales. I loved the color and textures of the ornaments and they were an amazing price. However, the price did reflect the quality of the ornaments, and the tops kept falling off the ornaments as I strung them onto the hanger. Once I completed my wreath I spent the season collecting and reattaching ornaments that kept falling off. As a tip I would add a dab of hot glue to the top of every ornament (where the gold cap and hanger attaches to the base) to make sure they won’t pop apart.

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To get started, reshape your wire hanger into a circle. While reforming the hanger, leave the top intact, it makes it easier to shape while both sides are still connected. Once you are satisfied with your shape, unwrap the hook at the top to open up the circle.

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String your first few ornaments onto the hanger. Since my ornaments were all red, I didn’t worry about creating a specific pattern. If you have a variety of colors, pay attention to the pattern you are creating as you add ornaments. Make sure your colors are balanced.

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Push the ornaments all the way to the other side of the circle, until you hit the unwrapped “hook” of the hanger. Glue the first couple ornaments to the hanger to prevent them from sliding off the hanger as you add more.

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Continue to add ornaments until your hanger is filled up. Push and fit them together, make sure there isn’t much space between them.

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Once all the ornaments are added, rewrap the top of the hanger to create the hook. This can be used to hang the wreath or you can add ribbon. I used a wide, burlap style ribbon to hang my wreath. I wrapped it around the top, and hot glued it to the hanger hook for additional support.

I love the look of this festive wreath. It’s bold, modern, and can my seen on my door from down the street.

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This year, I decided to make a new set of wreaths for my windows to match the ornament wreath I made last season. I once again returned to Hobby Lobby during a 50% sale to collect my supplies.

  • Wreath base
  • Mini round ornaments
  • Neutral floral accents
  • Red berry floral accents
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue gun

I was ecstatic when I found mini versions of the round ornaments I used for the original wreath. They were the perfect way to visually tie the wreaths together.

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This wreath was a piece of cake to make. All I did was hot glue three mini ornaments to the front, then I intertwined the neutral floral accents and red berry accents into the wreath, no glue needed, and I was done! I am a brand new Mom with a brand new four week old at home with me, and I was able to put together four wreaths during his nap.

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I placed the ornaments and floral accents off center and added the same burlap ribbon I used for the ornament wreath to hang it. After adding the ribbon I realized I still needed a wreath hanger to hang them on my windows, but I was still able to use the ribbon in conjunction with the hanger.

Thanks for checking out my DIY holiday wreaths! Although Christmas is quickly approaching you still have time to put together your own wreaths before Christmas arrives. Help me spread the word about my craft projects by sharing with others on your social network of choice. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and thanks for stopping by!