All I Needed Was A Little Patience: Gone, But Never Idle For Long

So, it’s been a quiet year for the “On The Upcycle” blog logging in this evening for the first time in a very long time.   I have genuinely missed my form of “art therapy” It helped focus my mind in a positive way during some truly challenging times.  I also miss all of you in the Word Press community who are so wonderful and supportive of all kinds of unique creative endeavors.

As is always the case in life, matters shifted, priorities changed and you find yourself one year older and looking back thinking where did all that time go?  If you know me personally you also know that I dip my proverbial toe into many different projects at once without having much real time for any of them!  Somehow insomnia my curse as well as my gift, is mostly all the time that I have, so when I am sleeping well sometimes projects suffer.  It seems a bit ironic.  Not to mention my constant battle with writers block and finding myself with nothing to say, to make an interesting read.

So what have I been doing while I have been gone? I have worked on some of my other interests including genealogy,  music and nostalgia (I have been digitizing my VHS catalog from the 80’s, 90’s and uploading to You Tube), and I have a continued focus on my health and wellness like never before.   Finally my biggest priority and most important, sweetest project of all, my little crafting apprentice who just turned six and is showing autism who is boss.  Nothing can stop this little girl!

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2016 was also a great year for me as a music fan.   A few days before my birthday last year, my favorite band of all time Guns N Roses reunited with three original members including Slash (If you know the band’s history,  you understand what a big deal an Axl and Slash reunion is) After over 20 years they decided to bury the hatchet and get back together and tour again.   I took advantage and saw them twice during the summer last year, and plan on seeing them again this year.  The band has matured and sound great. The show clocks in at almost 3 hours,  It’s an amazing performance by all involved and I highly recommend it!

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So to roll up my sleeves and pick a project to get me back into the upcycle world again if not just part time, I decided to create a decoupage TV tray with the famous GNR bullet logo.  A gift for a friend and fellow fan.

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Last year, before the show I also created a tray table with the classic Guns N Roses logo to commemorate the reunion.  This one I kept for myself and is pictured below:

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Have a different favorite?  That’s OK! check out my tutorials below and you can make any custom TV Tray you like:

Custom TV Trays Made With Mod Podge

Other Ideas For Custom Trays

It will also be the 30th anniversary this year of Guns N Roses iconic debut album “Appetite For Destruction”  I had a copy of the LP, that had been unfortunately damaged by a bad record needle.  You can make cute side tables using old LP’s and a small round metal plant stand.  The link is below:

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For The Record Upcycling Vinyl

Thought I wouldn’t be back in this Lifetime?   Think again.  : )

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)

 

 

The Opposite Of Spring: Halloween And The Day Of The Dead- My Fascination With Sugar Skulls

Autumn has always been one of my favorite times of year.  Although you may not agree, In my world everything tastes better when mixed with pumpkin.  There is nothing more refreshing than a cool breeze after months of summer heat and most of all it is host to one of my favorite holidays: Halloween.  As much as I hate to admit it I have a macabre side. (Many of us do or holidays like Halloween wouldn’t exist) Halloween hosts many ghouls and goblins and makes fantasy come to life for a day.  It’s a fun time but an even more interesting cultural tradition that coincides with Halloween is The Day of The Dead.  For those of you who may not be familiar it is a Mexican Holiday celebrated all across the world. It was originally celebrated in Summer but was moved to Autumn in more modern times and coincides with the Roman Catholic triduum festival of Allhallowtide: All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day. A three-day celebration beginning on October 31st, It is celebrated as a tribute to departed souls and to show respect and remembrance for deceased family and loved ones. According to Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature author

” On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations”

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Representations of Catrina, one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico

© Tomas Castelazo,www.tomascastelazo.com / Wikimedia Commons

One such decoration placed on these alters are called Sugar Skulls.  I have always been fascinated with the sugar skull image.  Each are unique much like the soul itself.  An image of a skull adorned with colorful flowers and hypnotic eyes instantly fascinated me.

In the spirit of Fall and the Halloween/Day Of The Dead tradition.  Here are three fun sugar skull decoupage projects:

Sugar Skull Mini jewelry Tray

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I picked up this miniature wood jewelry tray (unfinished ) at AC Moore.  I hand painted the piece with acrylics and matched the primary color to the greenish-blue color on the print. (yellow, pink or black would work also) It looks great for Halloween or keep it out all year-long on your dresser. Great for holding various jewelry, rings or change.  Cut print to size, apply Mod Podge and then the print. Carefully smooth out with your hands.  Once dry  seal with a few layers of Mod Podge allowing to dry between coats.

Day Of The Dead Miniature Wooden Suitcase Trinket Box

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This adorable wooden mini suitcase also purchased unfinished at AC Moore follows the same decoupage process as above. I used the suitcase to trace the image on both sides of the piece to assure it was cut to proper size and shape.  Hand painted inside and out, this would sit beautifully on a day of the dead alter filled with flowers or trinkets. The bright color captures the spirit of both Halloween and The Day Of The Dead.

Sugar Skulls Light Switch Cover

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I am a firm believer in the fun a decorated light switch cover can bring to a room.  I like to think of them as “little canvases”  It can be fun switching them to reflect the holidays as well.  Decoupage light switch covers are both easy and fun to create.  First ,you trace the cover with a pencil, including the area that the switch passes through.(You can use prints, scrapbook paper, napkins, old gift bags just to name a few) Using an X-Acto knife carefully follow the tracing.  Apply Mod Podge to the plain light switch cover carefully smooth out the image you want to use.  Apply multiple layers of mod Podge and allow to dry thoroughly between layers.

Decorative, and full of color Sugar Skulls are full of life certainly Ironic considering it is a celebration of the dead.

Stay Safe and Have a Happy Halloween!

What’s Old Is New Again: Decoupage TV Trays Are Back!!!

The wooden TV tray.  A functional piece of furniture.  Although I think we can all agree these tables are useful, but they lack the design qualities seen in other pieces of furniture.

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Way back in 2013, I came up with an idea to turn these boring tables into something fun.  My first tutorial Decoupage Team Sports Trays explored the option of decoupaging these trays with Mod Podge.  It was a huge success and since then, It remains one of my most requested items.

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They also make wonderful gifts for the sports fan in your life! Recently I made two new tables. Both were gifts, one for a friend’s birthday, and the other was presented as a Christmas present.   Nothing new here, but thought I would share the new additions so you know what I have been up too!

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Philadelphia Flyers TV Tray

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New York Giants TV Tray

Want to See more?  Check out these past blog entries on Decoupage TV Trays!

Have a special someone on your gift list that is a sports fan?  Then this is the table for you…

Sports Trays…Revisited!

Yankees Decoupage Sports TV Tray

Washington Redskins Decoupage TV Tray

Want to show off your school pride?  TV trays are great for doing homework too!

Smells Like Team Spirit! 

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Not a sports fan? No school spirit?  No Problem!  There are many other themes you can use to create a personalized tray table.  LP liner notes make great decoupage and are unique!

Rescued Vinyl TV Tray Decoupage

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Take These Broken Wings: Fairy In A Jar Kids Craft

My dutiful husband was mowing our front lawn the other day, and accidentally broke one of our plastic solar lights.  The top of the light still continued to function, and when day turned into night, it glowed as if to say “don’t throw me away, I am not done yet!”

I often struggle to find new ideas for projects, but I have come to realize the best ideas come to me without even trying. I began to think about a way I could re-purpose the light.  Then, my mind wandered off as it often does, and I also pondered a separate incident that occurred during a trip to Joann Fabric earlier in the week.  My daughter picked up a small ceramic yard fairy. She wanted to carry it around the store.  It was small enough, so I allowed it.  She accidentally dropped the fairy and it broke in two. Exercising the “break it and you bought it moral policy”, I paid for the item hoping I could glue it back together when we got home. Then both memories collided and an idea to merge these broken items together was born. I would make a “lighted fairy in a jar” A paradise for a convalescing fairy with a broken wing.  I didn’t have a jar handy, so I used a glass vase I had lying around.  I also had some decorative marbles and sprinkled them on the bottom of the vase.

I then began to create a suitable home for our little fairy.  I used artificial flowers, trimmed and glued them inside the vase to create a suitable habitat for our little broken friend.

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I carefully placed the fairy inside the glass vase.  Before dropping her in, I used hot glue to cover the bottom of the statue to properly set her in place.  I intentionally applied random droplets of glue to give the appearance of condensation thus providing a drink for our little “pet”

Now that the scene was set inside the glass, I  began to come up with a way to use the solar light to illuminate the vase,  I had a plastic lid handy, and decided to use the hot glue gun to adhere the plastic light to it.  I traced the light with a black sharpie onto the lid and cut a hole in the top to expose the solar panel. I glued the modified light and lid to the top of the vase, allowing the solar light to drop in place and illuminate the jar.  I added some additional blue marbles around the top rim of the jar for decoration.

It all came together something like this:

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I would recommend this project is done under strict adult supervision due to the hot glue involved.  I actually dread using the high heat gun, because I always manage to burn myself with it at least once no matter how careful I am!

When I showed my daughter her fairy jar gift she loved it and decided to give it a kiss.  My heart just melted!  What little girl wouldn’t love her own “pet garden fairy”

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As the night turned into day her fascination only grew as the jar began to glow.  Then it occurred to me all the possibilities and jar themes you could come up with.  Let your imagination run wild and create a wonderful garden keepsake.. and remember broken things are beautiful!!!!

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Materials needed:

Jar or Vase

Plastic Lid

Solar Light (top)

High Heat Hot Glue Gun/Glue Sticks

Decorative items for your Jar:

Child’s toys figurines

Rocks, Plants, Marbles:

Create any scene you wish!

On The Upcycle Shop- Now Open On Etsy!

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This Month, “On The Upcycle” has launched a small shop on Etsy!

On The Upcycle Shop will feature small decoupage items with additional items coming soon!  Each item is handmade and priced to sell!  Be sure and check us out and check back often!  Items will be featured as they become available. This month I am featuring various stained and painted wooden trinket boxes.

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These lovely boxes have metal hinges and magnetic enclosures.  Sizes and styles vary.

Stay tuned: On The Upcycle has a few interesting projects on the horizon. I have picked up a couple of really nice chairs,  and a beautiful early century window with multi colored glass I am eager to start. Hope everyone is enjoying there summer so far!

To visit the OntheUpcycleShop on Etsy—-Click Here!

Where is Summer? The Birds Are Angry: Decoupage Kids Craft Bird House

It hasn’t felt much like summer over here.  The pool is up, the flowers are planted and beginning to blossom, but it is 52 degrees and the rain is cold! I am left to ponder the question, where is summer?

The good news: Rainy days are a great time for kids crafts.  All the more reason to plan a project the toddler apprentice and I could accomplish together.  The little one loves to watch The Disney Collector on You Tube. The DC Collector has become a bit of an internet phenomenon among the five and under crowd, and my daughter is no exception.  She enjoys watching those carefully manicured hands opening and revealing various toys and treasures. It was while watching these videos my daughter discovered her love of Angry Birds.  The birds must be angry that the weather has not been cooperating!  They could sure use a house I thought to myself!

I also thought decorating a bird house would be fun project to do together. I purchased an unfinished,  wooden bird house at Joann Fabric.  They were on sale for .99 cents.

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I then went online and downloaded some Angry Bird images.  You can use character stickers if a printer is not available.

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I cut the images out with a pair of scissors and placed them aside.

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We painted the bird house together using red and blue acrylic paint.  It required two coats.  We then placed the painted bird house aside to dry.

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Once it was dry, I used Outdoor Mod Podge to apply the images to the bird house.  I then added a layer of Mod Podge over top of the image. Although Outdoor Mod Podge provides added protection from the elements, if left out it will eventually weather.  I added a coat of polyurethane to provide additional protection and prolong the life of the bird house.

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Once the bird house was dry we used a “C” Shaped hook like this one to hang it.  Lets hope that now that our little backyard friends have a place to call home, they won’t be such “Angry” little birds anymore….

Materials Needed:

Unfinished Wooden Bird House

Angry Birds, images or stickers

Outdoor Mod Podge

Red and Blue Acrylic Paint

Clear Polyurethane (optional)

Paint Brushes/Scissors

C Shaped Hook (For Hanging)