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.

TV Tray before

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!

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)

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?

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)