Fabulous Frida: Dollar Store Decoupage

Beauty can present itself in many forms.  That is why I find the works of Frida Kahlo so intriguing.  The subject matter of her paintings are often grotesque and painful, but one can’t help being drawn to it.  Despite the many adversities life had to offer her, Kahlo never let it defeat her. She was a modern woman, ahead of her time, and created artwork that remains relevant today. Born in Mexico City around the start of the Mexican revolution,  At age 6 she contracted Polio which caused her to walk with a limp. As a young women, she was involved in a nearly fatal bus accident that left her with severe lifelong and painful injuries including her inability to carry a child.  Her heart was broken and this was reflected in many of her paintings, most of which were self portraits.

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Frida Kahlo pictured below with her partner and muse, painter Diego Rivera in 1932.

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My sister is also a fan of Frida.  She recently had a surgery that would take some time and perseverance to recover from.  I wanted to make her something special to lift her spirits and inspire her while she was convalescing. I thought something with a Frida Kahlo theme could do just that.  I had a small wooden box that was far from special, but would be perfect to store her medications in.

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First, I cleaned the box thoroughly removing dust and dirt that accumulated during storage.  I printed out a 4×6 Frida print, and applied Mod Podge to the box with a paint brush.  I then carefully applied the print to the box.

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I used black and golden rod acrylic paint to finish off the box redesign. Once the box dried, I used Mod Podge to seal the project.

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Make your own art inspired box Dollar Store Craft

Imagine the possibilities!

Materials:

Mod Podge

Print of choice for decoupage

Acrylic Paint

Scissors and paint brushes

Feeling the Frida Frenzy?  Check out these other On the Upcycle Frida Kahlo inspired projects

Frida Kahlo Decoupage TrayFrida Kahlo Decoupage Art Case

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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?

Ghosts of Furniture Past: Refinished Drop Leaf Table

My husband has very few mementos from his childhood, so for this project the pressure was on.   This round, drop leaf table was used for just about every purpose in my husband’s family home.  It had seen better days.  It survived over 30 years of wear,  dirty hands, spilled drinks and more.  If only a little table could talk!  I could only imagine the stories it would tell!

I wanted to restore this table to its original state before all its scratches, and dings, but it would prove to be my most time-consuming project to date, and also the most rewarding.

Cleaning over 30 years of dirt and grime is not easy, but a necessary step when preparing a table for restoration.  I cleaned it throughly with a damp cloth and used a scrubber sponge for tough to clean areas.  Once clean and dry, it was time to sand it and I did so by hand with sandpaper!  This was very messy and time-consuming.  I suggest wearing a mask, and doing this in an area you don’t mind getting dirty. Completing this part of the project outside would be preferable.  All the more reason to invest in an electric sander having one would have accelerated this process.  In between other projects I worked tirelessly to get the table completely sanded and ready for staining.

Round Drop Leaf Table

I chose Minwax  Jacobean 2750 for the stain.  I wanted a dark rich color, which would contrast nicely with the sandstone colored walls.  While working with oil based paint be sure to have a proper solvent nearby for clean-up.  I use Safer Paint Thinner which is more environmentally friendly than traditional cleaners.  I applied the Minwax stain with a brush, following along with the wood grain.  Unfortunately, for me,  I applied too much stain and due to the humid summer weather, the table took over a week to dry!  At this point, I was in no rush, and it rested quietly in the craft room locked away and out of reach from curious toddler hands.

Once the table was completely dry, I sealed it with quick drying Minwax Semi-Gloss Polyurethane.  I applied two coats, for a smooth finish.

Restored Family table

Finally!  After many weeks and many more pieces of sandpaper, the family table was complete and ready for its permanent place of honor in our family home.

Before and After Drop Leaf Table:

Before and After Refinished Drop Leaf Table

Watching The Paint Dry: 50 Questions With “On The Upcycle”

It has been hectic to say the least behind the scenes.  I have several projects to share, but this week, I have been working on a family table re-finish.  It has been extremely humid in my area, and it is taking forever and a day for the oil based paint to dry.  Not to mention, I added a little too much stain, which made the table a nice dark color, but only added to the length of time it took for the piece to dry!  In the meantime, I have been catching up in between projects,  and an increasingly busy schedule on my WordPress reading.   

Last year, I was invited by Elise at  Cheeky Geeks  to take part in her blog’s annual Geek month.

In the spirit of Throw Back Thursday, and for those who missed the original post you may want to check it out (especially if you are an “1980’s geek” like I am.)  I upcycled an old kid’s chair using an old Strawberry Shortcake record.

Upcycled Strawberry Shortcake Kids Record Chair

Be sure and stop by Elise’s blog for this year’s geek month.  If you are anything like me and have a “Geeky” side you will enjoy following Elise on her Geek Month journey.

Cheeky Geeks : Geek Month Celebration

Elise also had a challenge for me if I was willing to accept:  Answer 50 questions about myself.   It would seem that she is interested to know a bit more about the women behind the Upcycle.  Seemed like a great time to accept this challenge, while I quite literally wait for the paint to dry….

  1. What are you wearing?-Yoga pants and a rock tee. I am all about comfort!
  2. Ever been in love? Yes, and I love, love!
  3. Ever had a terrible breakup? I went through a divorce, what do you think?
  4. How tall are you? 5 feet 4 inches
  5. How much do you weigh? It’s never polite to ask a lady her weight!
  6. Any tattoos? Two black animal paw prints on the top of my foot
  7. Any piercings? 3 piercings in one ear, two on the other
  8. OTP (one true pair, favorite fictional couple)? Kristoff and Anna from Frozen.  My daughter is into Disney at the moment!
  9. Favorite show? Game of Thrones
  10. Favorite bands? Too many to list, but Rock N Roll is my first love
  11. Something you miss?- My Grandfather Vincent
  12. Favorite song? Right now? “I Got A Name” Jim Croce
  13. How old are you? 39 and holding on for dear life!
  14. Zodiac sign? Aries
  15. Quality you look for in a partner? No question sense of humor!
  16. Favorite Quote? “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” John Lennon
  17. Favorite actor? Peter Dinklage I love, love him!
  18. Favorite color? Purple
  19. Loud music or soft? Loud
  20. Where do you go when you’re sad? Unfortunately, inside my head.
  21. How long does it take you to shower? 10 minutes I have to be quick I have a toddler!
  22. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? 30 minutes
  23. Ever been in a physical fight? yes, but I was forced
  24. Turn on? Kindness
  25. Turn off? Elitism
  26. The reason I started blogging? I wanted to share my thriftiness with others, and I love to write!
  27. Fears? Not being able to see my daughter grow up
  28. Last thing that made you cry? My daughter
  29. Last time you said you loved someone? Today
  30. Meaning behind the name of your blog?It popped in my head one day. I kept thinking of the song “Little Suzi’s on the Up” by the band PhD.
  31. Last book you read? OMG embarrassing, All my reading is on the computer!
  32. The book you’re currently reading? Ummm refer to # 31
  33. Last show you watched? Big Bang Theory
  34. Last person you talked to?-My husband
  35. The relationship between you and the person you last texted? My sister
  36. Favorite food? Eggplant parm and Spaghetti
  37. Place you want to visit? Ireland
  38. Last place you were? At Work
  39. Do you have a crush? Do girl crushes count? Check out this awesome blog: AussaLorens.com
  40. Last time you kissed someone? Today
  41. Last time you were insulted? LOL probably every day, but most likely I don’t know about it!
  42. Favorite flavor of sweet? Sour Patch Kids
  43. What instruments do you play? I tried guitar, but could never catch on, I played the clarinet in elementary school
  44. Favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring
  45. Last song you sang? Heart “Magic Man”
  46. Favorite chat up line? I don’t have one! It’s whatever pops into my head at any given time.
  47. Have you ever used it? N/A
  48. Last time you hung out with anyone? Last weekend.
  49. Who should answer these questions next? I wanna know more about Daniela Joe If she’s willing to give it a go!
  50. LOL 50 Questions?  I think I am missing something here…

An Accident Waiting To Happen: Upcycled Pringles Can Lamp

              Decorative Decoupage Pringles Lamp

This project idea started out as a 99 cent purchase at Goodwill.  An adorable miniature ceramic lamp with a round base that would require a minor  fabric decoupage makeover to make the perfect table top night-light for our bedroom.   However; thanks to the toddler apprentice’s rather curious hands it was simply not to be.  She climbed up on the ottoman, reached out her arms, and knocked it off the shelf. It broke the ceramic base into a million pieces. More importantly, she was not hurt in the accident, just a bit startled and remorseful   Although I was initially upset,  my cross demeanor faded quickly as I thought of ways to reuse the unbroken pieces of the lamp and shade.  I searched the craft room for some recycled items I was saving for a crafting rainy day.   I searched and looked for what I thought would make great lamp bases. It then occurred to me…I had a fever for a Pringles can lamp!

Minimalist Pringles Lamp Upcycle

An Upcycled Pringles Can Lamp For The Minimalist

The Pringles can was a great choice because it didn’t require a glass cutter to feed the wire through like a glass bottle or jar would.  I used a box cutter knife to VERY carefully cut a cross through the plastic lid.  I popped the light in and it fit nicely.   Before I placed the lid back on the can I filled the bottom with a few decorative marbles I had lying around. This added some weight and stability to the lamp.  I cut a hole at the base of the can using the UPC on the can as a guide, so I could properly feed the wire through the bottom.  For those of you who are practical, and love Pringles, you may want to stop right here.  I call this the minimalist version.

How to Create An Upcycled Pringles Can Lamp That’s A Little More Decorative

Decorative Upcycled Pringles Lamp

For those who want to create a more decorative piece, You can use a little fabric decoupage to decorate the Pringles can and lamp shade.  I used some scrap Peacock inspired fabric I had lying around the craft room.  I used Mod Podge to apply the measured fabric to the can and cut out designs to place on either side of the lamp shade to add some symmetry.  Once dry, I applied more Mod Podge over the fabric to properly seal the lamp base.  I placed it in front of our fan to dry.   Now it was ready to be plugged in and illuminated.  The possibilities here are endless.  If you don’t have fabric handy you can also use scrapbook paper.  You can create seasonal cans and interchange them with the light and lid to transform the look of the lamp.

Upcycled Pringles Can Lamp

A lesson in life and living on the Upcycle, the greatest mistakes can have the greatest rewards!  That is how I feel about this project. If it wasn’t for my overly curious toddler, I would have never known the fun of this Pringles can craft.  Thank heaven for overly curious little girls!

Have you had any crafting disasters that turned into triumphs?  What was your favorite craft mishap?

Materials Used:

Broken miniature lamp

Pringles can with lid

Box Cutter Knife

Handful of marbles

Fabric or Scrapbook Paper Of Choice

Foam brush or Paint Brush

Scissors

Mod Podge

The Happy Card Project: Put A Little Love In Your Art

We all know how wonderful it feels when you have a chance to brighten someone’s day.  Sometimes, it is a simple gesture, lending a hand to someone in need, or a few words of encouragement when someone around us is feeling down.  Although many of us would like to contribute to those in need financially, there are times when this is not possible.  That doesn’t mean it is impossible to give.  One of the most precious gifts you can give is time.  This past July 4th weekend, the toddler apprentice and I put aside some time between bbq’s, fireworks and swimming, to sit down and make cards together.  I recently reconnected with an old friend on Facebook who brought a positive movement to my attention.   It was started by her daughter Corinne Mattia.  Corrinne is a psychology student and describes herself as an animal lover, and eternal optimist.  The idea is called  The Happy Card Project.

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The Happy Card Project’s mission and message is simple:  We brighten our own lives through brightening the lives of others.  They aren’t looking for money or donated goods.  Their motto? Some pursue happiness while others create it.  The Happy Card Project want your homemade, or store-bought cards you may have around the house.  These cards can then be personalized with encouraging words, stories, or anything  intended to brighten someone’s day.   Donated cards are then delivered by the Happy Card Project Team to local hospitals, pediatric facilities, homeless shelters and senior living homes.  Their goal is to simply brighten the spirits of others.

The first 200 cards collected will be donated to the Homeless Bus a charity based in New York City.  The  Homeless Bus, Inc. has made over a 1000 trips to Manhattan providing immediate needs to the homeless from a passenger bus every Saturday night since 1992.  To learn more about this wonderful example of what just a few people can do to make the world a better place, and for ways you can help please visit: The Homelessbus.org

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Continuing to follow along with the “On The Upcycle” tradition, I decided to recycle some old greeting cards.   The little toddler apprentice and I sifted through an enormous amount of craft scraps, old cards, stickers and scrap-book paper.  She enjoyed going through these items, and chose a few cards that she liked.

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This was my first attempt at making handmade upcycled cards.  I have seen some beautiful examples of card making on the web and in the WordPress community.  One such artist resides at  The Cobweb Emporium.    These cards are well crafted, elegant and detailed.  Please be sure and stop by and pay Cob Webs a visit.  Trust me, my card crafting skills pale in comparison!

The apprentice and I worked together using the hand over hand technique. She helped me cut the images we planned to use from the old greeting cards with her safety scissors.  I had some unused card stock and it fit the envelopes I had perfectly.

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We then decorated each card and added the words Hope,  Cheer and Love. She especially enjoyed gluing the various pieces on the card stock and applying stickers.   Once the glue on the cards was dry we wrote notes of encouragement inside.  The more “adult” cards we signed from the family, and for the others we told a brief story from our three year-old’s point of view.  On the back of the cards we wrote “Made with love and little hands helped.”  We created a total of six cards using materials we already had available at home.  The cost was minimal and consisted of the postage needed to mail the cards.   I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon with your kids then doing crafts, and at the same time brighten someone’s else’s day!

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If you would like to spread some good cheer and encouragement to those in need, The Happy Card Project will continue to collect cards going forward for various charity organizations.

You can follow The Happy Card Project on Facebook Here.

If you would like to get involved and have cards you would like to donate to the cause, please send them to:

The Happy Card Project

PO Box 3802

Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

We mailed our cards today!

On The Upcycle Restyle

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This weekend I decided to give “On The Upcycle” a much-needed reboot.  I felt the old blog layout was getting a bit stale. Last night I experienced an evening of insomnia, and decided it was the perfect time to explore new ideas. I hope you all like the new look!  Happy 4th of July weekend everyone!