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)

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Hot Summer Nights: Paradise By The Back Porch Light

This past memorial day weekend, my husband and I were determined to get the yard ready for summer.  My daughter received an Easy Set Intex Pool from her Uncle and Aunt for Christmas and we could not wait to get the pool setup and operational.  My daughter’s 4th birthday this year will have a pool party theme, and the date for the party is quickly approaching.  My husband and I leveled out the ground in the area the pool would be placed.  We laid down a tarp and spread the pool out.  These inflatable Easy Set’s are great starter pools, and in our case the simpler the better since this is our first attempt at putting up a pool.

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We inflated the ring with a pump, and from the inside smoothed out the lining.  It took all day to fill.  The next day, we hooked up the filter, placed chlorine tabs in the floater, and assembled the ladder.  The water was very cold, so I hopped in to the pool for a test run.  For the most part everything went great and the set up was easy.  I was disappointed to find some parts in the lining that were not as smooth as we had wanted.  I can’t stress enough the importance of making sure the ground is clear of any debris and level.  Even after all our careful work, what seemed smooth at the surface was not always the case.  Once the weight of the water pressed the ground flat, some rocks and roots underground seemed to appear out of nowhere through the lining.  That being said the only way to remedy this would be to drain the pool and remove the debris from the area to smooth it out.  Until it is necessary to do so, we are going to take our chances.  I would feel guilty wasting all that water!  Luckily the pool came with plenty of patches if needed.

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We purchased a few fun summer signs from Dollar Tree and lined the fence with them for added decoration.

I  also accomplished a few smaller projects.  I had a decorative metal star that I picked up at Christmas Tree Shop.  It was on clearance and I was never happy with the tan color.  I surmised that this was most likely the reason why it was on clearance.

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Since it was Memorial day and the house was decorated in Americana….

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I had some extra Rust-Oleum red spray paint, and I sprayed on a quick coat.  I like the star better now that it is red and I purchased it for half the price!

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The other area I wanted to address was the corner of the yard by the pool. There is a rather large tree stump in this area.  Some time ago, I blogged about ideas here.

I struggled with what to do with this stump for some time.  This weekend that changed.  I decided to make it a fun project for my daughter and I to do together.  I had an old broken wooden TV tray.  I removed the table top from the legs and screwed it on to the tree stump surface.  My neighbor had given me some decorative, shells, glass pebbles and decorative rock. I thought it would be fun for us to create a mosaic table top for it.  I used some old tile grout and glue in one and spread it onto the table surface evenly.  The toddler apprentice and I then applied the rocks and glass pebbles.  We wiped off any excess grout and allowed it to dry overnight.  I used the unused legs of the TV tray as a garden trellis, another great re-purpose!  My goal was to use as much of the table as possible. Mission accomplished!

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I placed the shells around for decoration.   Now Mommy has a place to put “her” sippy cup and relax by the pool, while my daughter has fun exploring and playing with the various sea shells.

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Since this spring has been a bit sparse in the rain department, our grass took a hit and much of it died.  Once all the yard work was done, we raked the yard and spread out grass seed in the hopes of bringing our lawn back to life!  Once the grass grows under our feet, our little backyard oasis will be complete!

What do you have planned for your backyard oasis?  Do you have any summer projects you are eager to complete?  How do you like to kick off summer?

Sultans of Swap: Flea Market Fun In The Sun

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to participate in my first ever Flea Market.  The sale of spaces benefited my daughter’s school, so of course I jumped at the chance to get involved.  I was a bit nervous.  It was the first time I have attempted to sell my projects.  I also had some additional spring cleaning items to sell as well and anything I can do to create additional space in my overloaded craft room is a definite plus.

Let me start off by saying, I have been to a lot of swap meets, yard sales and flea markets as a buyer, but never as a seller.  It is hard work preparing, pricing and hauling your goods to the sale location.  I have a new respect for those who can make a living at it and participate in sales on a regular basis.

I am in no way an expert at this, but I thought I would share with you all what I learned from this experience.

So, How did the modern flea market get its name?

The first flea markets were in Paris and they were called marché aux puces which translates to ‘market with fleas’. Flea market first appeared in English in 1922 as a translation of the French market’s name.

When Preparing, Take Care of as much as you can the night before

Since most flea markets start bright and early, and I am a night owl by nature,  I loaded the car and any other items needed for my sale the previous night.  This allowed me to get a good night sleep and wake up and leave the next day without scrambling at the last-minute.

Show up on time or early for set up

This was the fun part.  Setting it all up so it is pleasing to the eye.  Leave yourself enough time so as to not feel rushed.

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Mark all prices clearly and have a backup plan

I devised a color coding system.  Also when marking your prices, keep a mental note of how low you are willing to go with price.  I marked my prices a little higher so that I had some “wiggle” room.

Plan for a long day in the hot sun

If you have a canopy or beach umbrella, it is a good idea to bring it.  Make sure to bring plenty of sun block, dress accordingly (avoid dark colors that attract the sun) Wear a hat and sunglasses and bring plenty of fluids and a snack.

Bring tables or other items to properly display your merchandise

I found that items more visible, and that didn’t require a lot of effort to look through sold better.  A clothes rack, table or even a sheet or mat placed on the ground is essential when displaying your items.  If people have too put a lot of effort in they will move on quickly to a competitor’s table.

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Don’t Just Sit There… Get up and Sell!!

I found I gained more interest in my items when I talked to people and said “Hi”  Sitting their idle watching people come and go doesn’t sell stuff, but being a social butterfly DOES even when the turn out is low.

Talk about what you do and PROMOTE

I created plenty of business cards, and even sign explaining what Upcycling is.  People’s curiosity would get the better of them and they would stop to read the sign.  It was a great conversation starter!

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Bring Singles and 5 dollar bills to make change and wear a fanny pack!

I brought about $40 dollars in cash.  I used 25 singles and four 5 dollar bills and found this to be enough to make change.  It is better to wear a fanny pack or apron to keep change, pens and tape in.  Leaving money unsupervised in a box even for a minute, creates a potential for theft.

Make Friends and Connections!

Even though the turn out was less than spectacular, I still managed to socialize with other vendors and make personal connections.  I met a really nice woman who runs a local consignment shop, and my flea market neighbor and I helped each other when the other had to take a bathroom break.  The nice lady next to me even helped complete a sale while I walked away for a moment!

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Oh and Don’t Forget to take a Flea Market Selfie!

What are you doing to prepare for this Flea Market Season? Do you have any tips for sellers not mentioned here?  Do you have willpower when it comes to buying things at a flea market when you are there to sell?

Two Years, One Sale- On The Upcycle

This April 27th 2015 marks the two-year anniversary of this blog and my creative mission to reuse, re-purpose and restyle.

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For me, Upcycling is all about having fun and being creative with items that would otherwise be discarded.  The biggest challenge for me has been the writing. I love to craft, but I struggle with writer’s block from time to time.  The ideas for projects often come but the words to adequately describe them do not. Although I am not blogging with quite the same frequency as I once was, I am still happy that I was able to continue and complete a few larger and more challenging projects this past year, like my Lane Cedar Hope Chest. After two years of creating I am inevitably left with too many items and not enough room to keep them all. I was excited to hear that my daughter’s school is sponsoring a flea market in early May.  This seemed like a great oppurtunity to have my first “flea market experience.” I have never tried to sell my projects before, so this is a huge first step for me.  What better way to re-energize and make room for new projects?

It’s spring cleaning time for On The Upcycle. That being said, it’s also a fun time to squeeze in a few smaller projects in the days leading up to the sale.

I love wooden boxes and picked this one up for 99 cents at Goodwill.  I didn’t care for the boxes original design, but the box itself was in great shape.

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I used a spray on white primer to properly cover the previous design on the box.

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I had a nice celestial print.  I have been in a colorful mood lately and wanted to utilize a design with a lot of color

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I applied Mod Podge with a brush, and placed the print on the box top and front.

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I painted the box blue and pink to match colors contained within the print

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This whimsical celestial themed box is one of the items crafted specifically for the sale.

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Here are a few photo’s of previous projects I have agreed to part with for the upcoming sale:

Peacock Table
peacock table before and after

Star Wars Kid Chair:

Star Wars Themed Fabric Decoupage Chair

Strawberry Shortcake Kids Chair:

Upcycled Strawberry Shortcake Kids Record Chair

Kids School Desk:
Upcycled Kids School Desk

Happy Earth day to all of my friends!! How are you celebrating today? Do any of you have experience with Flea Market sales? I would love to hear from you! Any tricks of the trade or friendly advice?

My Neighbor Let it Go: Disney’s Frozen Wooden Toy Chest and Bench

My neighbor approached me one Saturday morning last spring. He was cleaning out his garage and asked if I wanted to look at a few items before he put them out on the curb. One of these items was an unfinished toy chest/bench that had been sitting in the back of his garage taking up precious space.  It had been purchased with good intentions, but he had never gotten around to finishing it. I immediately jumped at the chance to own such a wonderful piece of furniture.  It was unfinished wood, so this meant no scraping, stripping or priming.  My kind of project!

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I am always amazed at the generosity of people.  When it comes to neighbors, I am truly blessed.  I thanked him profusely and happily took in the unfinished item. It immediately filled a dire need. My daughter had accumulated many toys, and this was a great way to store and organize them.  So, there it sat unfinished and full of toys for almost a year in our daughters playroom.  I had no idea how I would finish it. I entertained various ideas that went nowhere.  Sports themes, traditional refinishing, Disney Princesses, just to name a few.  Then it hit me one day after my daughter had viewed the movie Frozen for the 50th time!  Why didn’t I think about it until now?  I emptied her toys out and placed them in bags.  I went online and looked up a Frozen color palate.  I chose 4 colors from Joann Fabric and Craft Stores Craft Essentials acrylic paint collection. I ended up using three bottles of each color, except for the pink (I only used 2) I went online and printed out some Frozen graphics that I wanted to use.  I set my printer to the largest setting possible.

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The toy box needed about 2 coats with some minor touch ups after drying. Once the final coat was applied, I allowed the piece to dry thoroughly overnight.

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The next day, I applied Mod Podge to the front and lid with a foam brush, and carefully applied the prints.

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The piece needed some “pop” so I decided to purchase some wall decals from Babies R Us to use as accents.  If you do not have access to a printer some of these images would also work great for decoupage.  I decided to apply the left over decals to my daughters bedroom wall.

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I then applied Mod Podge to the entire piece to seal it. For the majority of the toy box I used a foam brush to apply the Mod Podge, on the lid I used a “fluffy” mini paint roller which gave a snowy effect when the Mod Podge dried.

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I was happy how the piece turned out, and it looks great in the playroom!  When my daughter saw it finished the smile on her face said it all!

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Materials:

Wooden toy box

Mod Podge

Paint/Brushes large and small

Foam craft brush, scissors

Frozen Prints Or Decals

(Colors used from Craft Essentials sold by Joann Fabric)

Mediterranean Blue

Panic Pink

Caribbean Coast

Sailing Sky

Length of project: 2 days (total)

Smells Like Team Spirit: Decoupage TV Trays

Writer’s block is a terrible thing!  I have been inflicted with a horrible case, which explains my lack of posts in the month of October. Despite my loss for words,  I have still managed to stay busy and continue crafting. It has been the healthiest and most productive stress reliever for me to date.  I am always searching the crevices of my brain for new ideas, and it keeps me going.   Quite surprisingly it is the familiar ideas that get revisited most often due to popular demand.  One such project is the decoupage TV Trays. The themes for these tables are endless.  I have posted various tutorials on how to make these TV tray tables more fun and decorative.    Various family members have expressed interest in having one, and I love to make others happy.    My two young nieces are involved in school sports and what better way to show team spirit than with something unique and functional at the same time?

Look familiar?  Everyone has a set of these trays, and  they make frequent appearances in thrift stores for just a few dollars.   All you need is a graphic that can be enlarged without becoming distorted, and a printer.

TV Tray before

Add some paint, apply the Mod Podge and you can create unique, spirited gifts that the other kids at school will want to have!

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Sports, Music, Art, Personalized the possibilities keep coming.  As long as there are boring TV trays left in the world, this project will live on.  How would you redesign your table?

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Decoupage College Football Chair

This Saturday, two impressive college football teams will square off in what proves to be an epic battle.  # 2 Florida State is favored over the 6-0 5th ranked Notre Dame.  The Fighting Irish are clear underdogs in this matchup, and the history behind these two teams and prior matchups, seem to support this fact.  Looking for the upset, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly will surly be put to the test.  They will need to play their best football yet. They will need to…..

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My husband grew up watching Notre Dame and rooting for the Irish along with his father.  Like many teams Notre Dame has had its share of ups and downs through the years, but despite this my father in law’s love for his Irish never waned. Every game win or lose.. it didn’t matter, It was a celebration. It was Notre Dame Saturday!  If you root for and follow a team you know that it becomes a part of your life and present during many important memories.  My husband and I often think of our father fondly, and though he passed many years ago, Watching the games and following his favorite team brings us closer to him.  I wanted to make my husband a special gift, and it never seemed like a better time than for one of their biggest games. I picked up a lovely solid maple ladder back chair at Goodwill that had seen better days.  It was priced under five dollars, and I was drawn to its design immediately.  The chair has a stamp from a furniture company under the seat: Louis Albert and Company, Philadelphia PA.

Thrift Store Ladder Back Maple Chair

It seemed the perfect project chair, and with that the Fighting Irish Notre Dame chair, was born.  If you have followed my blog, you know I have a special place in my crafty heart for chairs.  I am drawn to functional pieces of art and to me a chair embodies both these elements nicely.  I printed out the college decal of choice on my printer. I then cleaned and prepped the chair with a white spray on primer.

Primed Chair

I applied Mod Podge to the seat with a foam craft brush.  I then added the print, gently smoothing out any air bubbles with my hands.

Apply Mod Podge

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I added a thin layer of Mod Podge over the top of the print to seal it.  Once dry, I began the lengthy process of painting the chair.  I used the team colors, gold, blue and green for the color scheme.  It took several coats to obtain proper coverage.  I carefully painted the area around the image, and although time-consuming, it made the image appear to flow with the seat. Because of the small areas, I decided to paint rather than to cut the image out.  Adding Mod Podge before painting the paper prevented damage and curling.  Two coats of Mod Podge over the painted area, properly sealed it. I decided to give the feet of the chair some character by adding the gold dipped legs. Once the paint was dry over the span of about two nights, I covered the entire chair in Mod Podge to seal the acrylic paint.

Decoupage Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Sports Chair

Notre Dame College Football Chair

Now my husband has a special chair to sit upon and watch the game this weekend.  Another Notre Dame Saturday of family memories with our own daughter, and a Fighting Irish college football chair to enjoy for many years and games to come!

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Before and After:

before after

Not a fan of the Irish?  Make your own college football chair:

Materials:

Decal or Team Print Of Choice

Old Wooden Chair

White Spray On Primer

Mod Podge

Acrylic Paint (Team Colors of Choice)

Craft Brush, Paint Brushes

Scissors