A crafty tale: Unframed

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This is one of the sewing projects I currently have going. It’s a Sublime Stitching patten I have had for a long time and have always wanted to sew. For some unknown reason I have been saving it for a special, magical time and I never knew what I wanted to do with it. Well, that special, magical time is apparently now, and I’m going to hang it on a wall. You can see where this decision took a few years. I’ve got bare walls in the hallway upstairs and at the bottom of the stairs. I cannot stand these bare walls any longer, so I’m working on things to fill them up! Framed color photos downstairs, embroidery & misc things upstairs. I’m debating black & white old photos. We have some really good ones. Yeah, I think I’ll frame them, too…

Saturday silhouettes

Spending a quiet Saturday on a long Labor Day weekend cleaning, crafting, cooking and taking it easy ahead of what is sure to be a superfuntimes night tomorrow — my boss’ wedding! I love any excuse for a party, and I especially love weddings. But, I digress ….

A couple weekends ago when we were out visiting my in-laws in eastern PA, we spent Saturday at the Warren County Antique Fair  — it was a great fair with lots of vendors.  I wouldn’t say there were tons of bargains, but there was a lot of variety and I would definitely recommend it as a worthwhile stop.

Chris spotted a small pair of silhouettes for $6, which we of course purchased for my burgeoning collection.  I found some miniature scenes on eBay last week, and we finally got everybody hung up last night!

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This, in turn, inspired me to paint one of my $1 AC Moore wood frames with metallic paint and add a cut-out from some scrapbooking paper that I’ve been hoarding…

 

 

As I type, I’m still letting that one dry.  But once it’s set, it will join my wall!  A forthcoming project is to try to create my own silhouettes using photographs.  Stay tuned …

 

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(also, that’s my new chair).

Weekend Update: SO productive!!! (with a little more help from our friends …)

When we could tear ourselves away from watching Mamma Bird feed her babies, we worked with our friends Antonia and Anthony (aka Anthonia) on all KINDS of things around the house.  Progress is being made!  The upstairs bathroom is thisclose to being done, and we have used the shower!!!  For anyone who has been to the house, this is a major victory.  We also found time to hit the local farmer’s market, drink margaritas, play a little Mexican Train, visit with our friends Connie and Woody, who stopped by for a quick visit on Saturday,  and wish my Dad Apple a very happy birthday on June 30.  How was your weekend?

Crafty Tale #7: Stenciling a pot

In addition to attempting to not kill all my plants, I’m also trying to get in some plant-related craft projects.  On a rainy day off, I took this plain terra cotta pot:

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and turned it into this:

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First I sprayed the pot with a little acrylic sealer.  Then I coated it with two coats of white paint (I have TONS of paint samples left from when we were testing/ buying paint for the interior and I’m trying to put them to good use!).  I let that dry overnight and then I stenciled in the design.  The stencils are Martha Stewart brand and the paint is Sherwin Williams.  One thing I have definitely learned as I am trying to become a better (neater!) stencil-er, is to use the right tools and use VERY LITTLE PAINT!  I got some little stencil daubers– they are like lipstick tubes with sponges at the end and they work beautifully.  Once it all dried, I sprayed the whole thing again with a little acrylic and the pot was done!

In my “I’m still learning to properly care for plants” file, I have noted that snapdragons (the light yellow flowers) are lovely and marigolds (the dying, shriveled up orange flower) hate me.

Here’s a photo of the pot in its place!  The plants on the steps are NOT cabbage, they are Gerbera daisies that I’m hoping will re-bloom.  If they do, you can be SURE there will be photos!

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Crafty Tale #4: The Silhouette Project

Inspired by my silhouette fabric in the fireplace room, as well as a framed silhouette we have of Chris when he was little (it’s so cute!!), I’ve decided to embark on a silhouette collection mission.  I want to find various silhouettes and eventually hang them in a collage on the wall in the fireplace room.  I’ve been keeping an eye open at flea markets, but haven’t had time to hit too many flea markets lately.  Last night, I was not in the mood to strip paint (as Chris will testify, one REALLY has to be in the right head space to scrape and sand and chip away or it gets real sisyphean real fast) and honestly, my hands felt too crampy to sew.  I thought of my silhouette rub-on transfers (gifted to me in a box of cast-off crafts by the divine Julie Fei-Fan Balzer) and some cheap frames i had in the attic and decided to do SOMETHING while I watched (yes I know I’m late to the game, but it’s my new favorite show) “Mob Wives.”

I dug out some craft supplies and got to work.

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Using my new paper, an inexpensive frame from Ikea, a $1 wooden frame from Michael’s, some paint and a paint scraper for the transfers, I made my own silhouettes!

These are not “officially”framed, and I will probably paint over the yellow/ gray stenciled frame so it it all one color– the stencil looks ok in the photo, but up close it looks more like a left-handed first grader was forced to paint it right-handed.  (btw, anyone have any stenciling tips?  Mine go all blobby and smeary and out of shape.  I think I need better brushes but I can’t find “stencil” brushes at the local craft shop.  Is there such a thing?  How does one get good at stenciling?!?)

But all in all, I think they’re not bad for a little Tuesday night project, and I can’t wait to have more so I can get the collection on the wall…

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I’m on a podcast!

Yesterday I sat down with he very talented and fun Julie Fei-Fan Balzer to record her Podcast, “Adventures In Arting.”  I’ve known Julie for a long time — she has directed many of my plays and is the person who got me into paper crafting and scrapbooking.  I have a link to her terrific blog on my blogroll.  We talked about all kinds of things, from standing by your artistic choices to digging post holes.

about the podcast

You can hear the podcast by visiting http://balzerdesigns.com/arting/renovating-this-old-house/

Please leave your comments here or on Julie’s page.  Thanks for listening!

Crafty Tale #3/ Lamp Makeover #2

We interrupt all this roofing talk (oh, but don’t worry, there will soon be more!) to bring you this tale of a bargain lamp, a new technique attempt and a (mostly) happy final result.  And now, I bring you another lamp story ….
I found this lamp at Pier 1, marked down to $27 from $60 and sold “as is.”  I made sure it worked and asked someone working there why it was marked down.

cute little lamp, right?

I was told that it was marked down because the shade was so stained.

I don’t think that’s SO stained, but I also like a bargain ….

I decided to attempt stenciling, which I am very inexperienced with.  This is really only the third thing I’ve ever stenciled, and the other two were flat.  So armed with some Martha Steward craft paint in colors I thought would go with my new pillows (see my “Thank you, Antonia” post), I got to work.

metallic silver and pearl yellow

on the instruction sheet, they didn’t cut the stencils apart, but I really saw no other way to tackle this ….

I mostly wanted to paint over that stain with silver, which I did.  I eyeballed the spacing of the stencils, so they are a little off and on weird angles, but overall, I’m happy with the result.  And, as discussed yesterday on a podcast with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer (to be posted shortly) — artistic mistakes will happen.  I can always buy a new lampshade, and now I basically know how to stencil!  What do you think?

the finished product!

Crafty Tale #1: Lamp Makeover

To hold me over until I have some real news to report (hint …. it has to do with sanded wood that’s getting stained, a fireplace and an entire ROOM about to magically come together! … in the next few weeks …) I’d like to tell a crafty tale….

There was some weird stuff left in the house when we moved in.  Like, dumpsters full of weird stuff.   Don’t get me wrong– there was some GREAT stuff (a piano, old trunks, a set of very deco-looking dishes) … but lots of weird stuff.  Like old, yucky lamps.

Behold — a dirty, old lamp!

So, this lamp is pretty ugly, right?  It’s also cheap (weighs nothing) and the shade is busted stuff.  BUT, it worked (and when we first moved in, we had no light anywhere!) and I liked the shape of it.  I had also just read an article about the magic of spray paint….

Blue! Because I thought they might work on our bedside tables in our blue bedroom. Well, someday our bedroom will be blue.

I added a crisp, white shade from Bed, Bath & Beyond (I think it was around $24.99, something like that) and behold!  New lamp!  What do you think?

posing by the turntable while waiting for the bedroom makeover …