A Blizzard of Ideas: Basket Makeover

Getting snowed in has its privileges.  The family and I had a great weekend, despite being completely snowed in, during the East Coast blizzard of 2016. When mother nature gives you lemons, what else can you do but make some lemonade?  It was a perfect time for cooking, baking, and crafting, and the toddler apprentice and I did just that!

I picked up a lovely wooden basket at Goodwill about two weeks ago.  When I made my purchase, I was unsure on what I was going to do with it.  Some items I pick up are best left alone, while others benefit from a bit of “sprucing up.”

I decided to find a middle ground.  The lid needed quite a bit of TLC, but the inter woven wood on the basket looked great, so I did not want to alter this part in anyway, only try and compliment it.

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I decided to decoupage the lid, and accent the handles with black paint.  I struggled a bit with choosing a fabric that I thought would go well with the caramel colored wood.  I finally decided on a swatch of fabric that I purchased some time ago at a thrift shop.  It had earthy tones that I felt would mesh well with the original design elements on the basket.

I turned the basket upside down and used a black, fine tipped market to trace the lid on to the back of the fabric.  I then cut fabric tracing out with a pair of scissors. I painted the lid with white paint.  Once dry,  I generously applied the Mod Podge to the lid surface with a paint brush.  I applied the fabric, and smoothed it out with both hands.  This helps minimize wrinkles and air bubbles.  Once dry, I applied three more layers of Mod Podge on the top of the piece, and allowed it to dry between coats.

Once the lid was dry, I lightly sanded the areas I planned on painting.

I took a narrow bristled paint brush and painted the handles, and some of the detailing with black acrylic paint.  I applied three coats of paint total.  Once the paint was dry, I applied a layer of Mod Podge to the painted areas to seal it.

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In the winter, this basket will be a perfect place to store hats, scarves and gloves, and in summer it will be the perfect picinic basket or an accent piece with storage.

Materials:

Wooden Basket

White and Black Acrylic Paint

Mod Podge

Fabric of choice

Scissors/Sharpie marker/Paint Brushes (various)

 

 

Decoupage I Must: Star Wars Inspired Laptop Made With Mod Podge

In the spirit of the recent release of Star Wars, The Force Awakens, I thought it would be fun to share a craft for those of you obsessed with the force as of late. Due to the movies recent release there is a HUGE amount of merchandise in stores these days . The fabric used in this project is courtesy of Joann Fabric, but their are MANY images, decals out there to choose from. Be sure and check out some other Star Wars projects I have done in the past, including Star Wars Kids Chair and Star Wars Decoupage Candles. Have a great weekend and may the force be with all of you!!

On The Upcycle~

With the new Star Wars Episode VII set to be released in 2015, the franchise is more popular than ever. I am sure not even George Lucas himself, could have imagined just how big Star Wars would become. The wise Yoda said it best, “Impossible to see, the future is.”

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The husband and I are children of the 70’s and 80’s and remember a time before CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and digital effects came of age. For it’s time the original Star Wars was innovative and visually impressive compared to other science fiction movies.  It touched many aspects of pop culture, and was heavily marketed toward children with action figures and tons of merchandise.  It is the third most popular movie franchise in history according to The Numbers.com.  Is it any wonder that when I came across Star Wars Fabric at Jo-ann Fabric, I couldn’t resist buying…

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Help Me To Help Joe: A Families Story Of Life With ALS

I struggled a bit with the words on such an emotional subject, so please bear with me…

In 2014, The Ice Bucket Challenge invaded every aspect of the World Wide Web particularly in the realm of social media.  Everyone was inspired to raise awareness and more importantly money for ALS. (Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. As of today even with all the money and awareness raised we are still without a cure.  While much funding was raised through such an effort, in reality many people with ALS struggle with the overwhelming financial burden placed on themselves and their families because of their illness everyday.

Just imagine little bits of your life being chipped away and the body which once carried you through life’s journeys begins to betray you.  You require constant care and help from others.  That is the reality of ALS.

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This wicked disease slowly deprives a person of the things that reap quality of life.  The arms you hug with, the hands you write, and create with, the legs that carry you through your life.  Even the lungs you breathe the air with.  To have just one of these things taken from you is hard to accept.

2015, proved to be a difficult year for me.  I suffered a severe shoulder injury and loss the use of my right hand, and arm for a period of about 4 weeks.   I had just a small taste of what it was like to lose just one of those things.  I am a fiercely independent person and I struggled emotionally with the fact that I had to depend on others to do certain tasks.  My life and daily routine became severely disrupted.  I was in a state of constant anxiety and worry.  I didn’t handle things as well as I should have.  It was a lesson I had to learn.  In life things don’t always go as planned.  It really is about how you react to all those curve balls.  It’s about the spirit in which you carry yourself and fight on and face the challenges.  No one has done that with more strength and courage then my friend and colleague Donna and her husband Joe.    Joe was diagnosed with ALS in 2012.  The disease progressed fairly rapidly and as of today, he has very little use of his body from the neck down.  It severely affected his lungs and early on he required a ventilator to breathe.  This requires around the clock nursing and care.  Despite the most severe of challenges Joe and Donna continue to create a life with what has been dealt to them.  Always pleasant and kind Donna approached everything with a smile despite all that she was going through.   Joe is thankful he got to see his 11th grandchild even though he couldn’t reach out his arms to hold her, He was still there in the moment with his family.  His mind is still vibrant and alive.  He is able to communicate with his loved ones.   Appreciating every moment despite the tragedies he could have allowed to break him.  I wish I had a just a morsel of that kind of strength.   For Donna and Joe the everyday challenges are overwhelming.

Just when it seemed it couldn’t get any worse….it did.  In 2013 the union that Joe worked for and received his benefits from decided to change its plan.  Despite promising Joe that his 27 year career would be enough to guarantee a lifetime of healthcare they cut his benefits for his nursing which would require him to go into hospice.  Donna and Joe fought hard and had their case go before a federal court, and lost.  The judge agreed this was deplorable, and promises were clearly violated, but the union broke no laws and subsequently there was nothing that could be done.

But that is where he was wrong.  There is something we can do.  Just like the Ice Bucket challenge, the internet has proved to bring people together in large numbers and sometimes even for the greater good.  I am hoping this can happen here for my friend, even if writing this can generate just one more dollar to help Joe reach his goals, or one person willing to share his story with others through social media it is all worth it.  In his own words, he just wants the opportunity to make more memories.  It’s also important to fight against the unfair elements of his story and so many others faced with life changing health issues.  No family should have to be forced to give up their life even more imprtant quality of life.

No one expresses this better than Joe himself.  For that reason, I urge you to watch this video.  In it Joe tells you in his own words what his life is worth to him as it is to all of us.  It means EVERYTHING.

Because where there is life, there is still hope.

If you can help, there is a Go Fund Me  site set up on behalf of Joe. Even if you cannot donate at this time, I ask that you spread the word.  A lot of good things can happen when things go viral.  Please help me help Joe to reach his goals.   He deserves to bask in what we all tend to take for granted everyday our memories.