Friday, September 19, 2014

New Storage Always a Plus!

This summer during one of our garage sale treasure hunts my husband and I found a great plastic drawer storage unit.  It is one of the large heavy duty units and we only paid $2.00 for it.  I wasn't sure exactly where I was going to use it but for $2.00 I could not pass on such a great deal.  My fist thought was I would combine some smaller units we have in my husband's area of our shop.  But once it made it home I quickly tossed out that idea for a better use in my area.

The drawer unit was the perfect size to fit at the end of my crafting counter.  Placing it on the end allows it to block off the end of the counter so you cannot see the mess (I mean projects in progress) on the rest of the counter.  I love it.  Covering up your messiness is always a positive.

The outside casing for the drawers is white.  Well, it was once a bright white now it is more of an ecru color.  It did have a few rust stains on the top where it looked like a can had been left.  But, a little baking soda to the rescue and it really cleaned up nicely.

The unit has some large drawers which is much more functional than only having the small drawers.

The rust stains on the top.

Dry baking soda.  The trick is to only us a small amount of water.

Stains all gone!

If you are not aware of the magical cleaning powers of ordinary baking soda you are missing out on an extraordinary product.  I have found that baking soda will remove almost any kind of stain or baked on yuk from most things.  Do not use it on painted surfaces because it can remove the paint.  But on any non porous hard surface it works wonders.  Now back to the storage unit.  I was able to remove the rust stains and it brightened up the plastic slightly.

The position I placed the drawers on my counter meant that the back of the unit was facing out.  It does not have a solid back so I covered the back with a piece of poster board covered with black and white contact paper.  The contact paper coordinates with my color scheme really well and I had it in the closet. 

The open back was not attractive.

The poster board cut to fit the back.

I have had the black and white contact paper for a while in my closet.

The finished back of the drawer unit.  Much better!
The next step was probably one of the most important steps, labeling the drawers.  I do not like to take the time to search for something when I am in my creative process  Although I seem to be constantly looking for something.  I am trying to get myself well organized so I can spend more time creating and less time searching for my supplies.  Maybe someday I will finally achieve that goal.  Once I decided what items would go in each drawer I then used my label maker to label the drawers.
Labeling is a must!

My label maker has borders so all of the labels in my craft/sewing area has the flower border.

One last addition and the drawers were fully functional.  After knocking the drawer unit off the counter onto the floor I added some shelf liner underneath to give it some grip.  Yes, after I filled all the drawers I caught the end one day with a book and it went sailing off onto the floor.  Thankfully nothing broke and I knew what would keep it in place.  Gripping shelf liner might just be as magical as baking soda.  It will keep almost anything in place.  Since adding the shelf liner the drawer unit has stayed in place.
I use my new drawer unit every day and I love the feeling of being somewhat organized.  Hopefully you can find the perfect storage accessory for your crafting and sewing area.  Don't pass it up at a garage sale just because it has a few stains.  Remember the magic of baking soda and a little elbow grease.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Finished the Last Few Projects - Planter Redo

You know how when you redo a room you are going along strong and then you get close to finishing the project and you totally run out of energy?  That is the scenario I have in my master bathroom.  Several years ago we redid our master bathroom.  We kept the same wall color but we painted the cabinets black, took off some doors to the upper cabinets and changed the theme of the room.

The overall project turned out great.  But there were a few projects I told myself I would get to later.  Well now, three years later I am finally getting around to them.  The first on my list was to repaint a metal planter that holds the silk ivy and sits on top of the upper cabinets.

Below is a picture of the before color.  It was your basic terra cotta color which is nice but did not coordinate with my black and pink color scheme.  I painted the base black and it made a huge difference in the appearance of the planter. 

See the terra cotta color. 

I used a grey primer coat since I was limited on the amount of black paint I had.

Here is the planter painted black.

The planter had some really nice raised embossing on the sides I have always wanted to highlight.  So I took some silver paint and brushed on a light dry coat.  By painting the silver on with a dry brush it really brought out the details of the embossing.

The raised embossing before I added the silver highlight. 

The embossing with the silver added.
You can now see the raised embossing on the planter.  I love the way it turned out.

The planter now looks like it belongs in the room.  I have a couple of other projects in this room I need to finish.  I am hoping they will not take another three years to complete.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Suitcase Revival

As you have probably figured out by now one of my favorite past times is to go to garage sales.  I love the thrill of the hunt for that hidden treasure and the unknown of what is in the bottom of the 25 cent box.  I carry with me a list of items I am searching for that will complete my arsenal for numerous crafting and sewing ideas.  Recently my husband and I were out on our treasure hunts and came across on old cosmetics suitcase.

The suitcase had definitely seen better days but beneath the rough exterior I saw the potential of a new revival.  The case was a medium brown and had some of the edging broken off.  My husband was a little bit skeptical about the possibility of the case being reborn.

I had several ideas floating around in my head of what the "new" case would look like and it took me a few weeks to figure out which one would work best.  I finally settled on using an old dictionary and Mod Podge to cover the case.  This would allow me to cover the broken edging pieces with the dictionary pages and you would not know they were missing.

The case in it's original form. 

The broken edges I needed to cover.

The inside of the case just needed a coat of paint to spruce it up.

The process of applying the dictionary pages is rather simple.  You tear your pages into smaller pieces and then apply the Mod Podge type glue.  I used a simple recipe of half school glue and half water.  Since the case was a larger project I did not want to use up all of my Mod Podge.  The watered down school glue works just as well.  When I had covered the whole suitcase with the pages I then did a final coat of the Mod Podge followed by two coats of polyurethane sealer.

Here are the steps I follows to revive my suitcase:

I first spray painted the hardware, edge stitching and the inside of the case black.  Since my pages were black and white I thought this would make the hardware etc. stand out.

There was no reason to paint the portions of the case that would be covered with the pages.

The handle I painted with black fingernail polish and sealed with a coat of clear polish.  I felt this would adhere better since the handle was plastic.

Next I started applying my dictionary pages.  I tore the pages into random sizes and applied the glue mixture to the back of each piece.  You do have a few minutes when you first apply the paper to move it around and get it in the perfect location.  For the edges around the stitching I wanted a clean line so I cut the edge of the paper that was up against the stitching.  This gives the effect of a clean edge and looks better.  The pages are not all straight but I did try to make the words on the pages go in the same direction.  Meaning I did not turn an of my pages upside down.  You could turn the pages any which way and it would give you a more random effect.

I mixed half water and half glue for my Mod Podge variation.

This was an old dictionary we had around the house.  It was one of three.

I loved the size and style of the type.

The bottom of my case is where I started.  This allowed me to perfect my technique on an area that would not show.

The first stage of my case is complete.

It took several hours to completely cover the suitcase.  I wanted to add just a small amount of color to the case.  A hint of color makes the black and white of the paper really striking.  In order to add the color I selected different pictures of various objects from the dictionary and colored them with colored pencils.  Using the colored pencils gave me the hint of color without saturating the drawings.  It is kind of like coloring the maps we did when I was in school.  I then randomly placed the pictures on various locations around the case.

The fish I colored so it looked like a catfish.

I liked all of the diagram labels on the fish drawing.

The Revived Suitcase!
The case revival turned out better than I anticipated.  I am pleased with the transformation and plan to use the case as a display at my next craft fair.  It will work well to fill with my handmade jewelry.  My daughter ask me what I would do if someone wanted to buy the case.  I told her most likely I would sell it, but you never know.  Some treasures you just can't let go of.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Filling Tall Doorways

In our house the doorways that lead into the hallways are 10 - 11 feet tall.  I love our high ceilings but have never been fond of the over sized doorways.  They have always looked bare at the top.  I wanted to fill in the top area but did not want to visually bring the height of the door down. 

After searching for ideas for several years I found some glass window panes and suspended them from the ceiling with large eye hooks.  The one that leads into our long hallway is a single pane of glass that was painted.  I bought the window at a garage sale for $3.00.  It already had the painting of the fern pot on the glass.  My original plan was to take off the painting and do another treatment on the glass.  But, once I got it home and put it in the doorway it fit perfectly and I liked the pop of color that the painting added.

The paint on the frame of the window is peeling and there is even paint on the top of the glass from when they painted the outside frame.  I love how these details adds just the right amount of character to the window.

The small window is etched with a simple design in the center.  It hangs above the doorway that leads into our kitchen and master bedroom hallway.  I found it at a garage sale for $2.00.  Below is what it looked like before I painted it and hung it in the doorway.

This window is smaller than the doorway but still looks good. I could not get a good picture of the etching since it hangs so high.  But when you come out of the kitchen and look up at certain times of the day the light bounces off the etching and is quite beautiful.

Here you can see the etching.  The frame was unfinished wood when I bought the window.  I wanted it to coordinate with the larger one since they hang across the room from each other.

Sometimes adding one simple element can really change the look of your d├ęcor.  Filling in the top of these doorways made a huge difference in the feel of our living room.  With the space open so high the doors felt like they had no top.  The windows provided a visual cap to the doors but still allows the light to filter into the room.

So if you are staring at an area of your home that feels like it needs to be anchored at the top look for an old window frame, it might just do the job.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Plate Flowers - I can't kill these!

One project I worked on this summer was a few plate flowers for my front yard.  I have seen several different designs and they are all beautiful.  I chose to use transparent glass plates instead of stoneware.  I wanted the light to filter through the plates to give a softer feel.  They turned out fantastic.  They add a whimsical feel to my front yard.

The plate flowers are against my garage wall, which before was a long boring space.

I like how the light filters through the plates.
The plates are really easy to assemble.  You will need the following supplies: 
Plates of various sizes
Small bowls or other ornaments
Small embellishments for the center of the flowers
E-6000 glue
PVC pipe that is threaded (I used one that was threaded on both ends and cut it in half)
Couplings for the PVC pipe (I found the ones that fit my pipe and were somewhat flat on the sides)
All of my plates and embellishments came from garage sales.  The cost to make the two plate flowers was about $3.00 for plates and embellishments, and $2.50 for the PVC pipe and couplings.
Starting with the largest plate stack your plates to create the look you desire.  It is best to do a "dry" fit and then unstack and glue.  I tried several different variations until I found the one that looked the best. 
I used the clear glass bowl to add some texture and dimension.

By adding the small blue plate onto the clear bowl it allows the light to bring out the color more.
Try out all kinds of things to embellish the center of the flowers.  Small bowls, plastic mirror flowers, buttons etc.  Just let your imagination run free.
The center of my large flower is the decorative top to some curtain tiebacks I found.  I paid $1.00 for 5 tiebacks. 

My finished large flower.

Once you have decided on a pleasing arrangement unstack the plates and use a fair amount of glue in between each layer.  Let the plates sit overnight. 

The smaller plate is the same size as the center blue plate in the large flower above.

I only added a small clear bowl to the center of the plate and then the embellishments.

I stacked the plastic mirror flower in the clear bowl and then topped it with a glass pebble.

I made two different size of flowers to give the area a more attractive look.
Once the plates are glued together turn them over and glue the coupling for the pvc pipe to the back center.  Again it is best to do a "dry" fitting before gluing.  Make sure that you glue the coupling straight or your flower will lean when you attach it to the pipe.  If you have used something that has a directional pattern make sure you line up your pattern before gluing the coupling to the back.
Let the glue sit overnight to set.
This is the coupling glued to the large flower. 

Be sure to check the direction of the coupling aligning the threads downward.
I purchased black pvc pipe so it would blend in with my brick.  Be sure that one end has threads and the couplings you buy fit the threads on the pipe.
To "plant" your flowers drive the pvc pipe into the ground about 6 - 8 inches.  My husband used a metal rod to create the hole first.  This depth may be determined by the size and weight of your flowers.  I did run a metal stake beside my largest plate flower and tied the pvc pipe to the stake for some added support.  Once the pvc pipe is in place screw the flower to the top of the pipe and your flowers are "planted".

I used a small metal stake from on old flag pole to add support for the large flower.
I hope you enjoy making these lovely flowers as much as I did.  The best part is they require no watering, never wilt and I can't kill them.  I am searching for some additional plates to "plant" in my back yard.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Using it up!

As you have probably figured out by now I get really excited when I am able to use up things I have in my sewing and crafting stash.  Well this summer I did a lot of sewing and used up several spools of thread.  My thread drawers were getting rather full and it was hard to find the exact color I needed let alone open and close the drawers. (Yes, drawers not drawer)  Since I did several "scrappy" projects I was able to use up several different colors and now the drawers are much more manageable.

My goal this summer was to use the items I already had in my stash to make my projects.  I only went to JoAnn's once this summer.  That might be a record for me.  Since I usually go once a week if nothing else to just walk down the isles and look at all the wonderful items they carry.  Some of my best ideas have been hatched in the isles of JoAnn's.  I am sure I am not alone in this habit.  Although I will admit I went to a friends house and purchased some fabric from her.  She was cleaning out her stash so it still counts since I was "helping" her eliminate her excess.  (That's my twisted thinking and I am sticking to it.)  I will post later some of the items I made this summer.

See I was busy.  Using up 11 spools of thread is pretty good for one summer.

It always feels good to use up supplies, it is like a breath of fresh air.  I still have very full thread drawers but at least now I can open and close them without breaking my back.  Now I have room to go and buy new thread right?  Oh wait, wasn't the goal to clean out no fill up?  I might need to set a new goal of staying out of JoAnn's until Thanksgiving.  Not sure that one is obtainable.  I will try to keep working on using up what I have and not bringing home new items.  If you know of any tricks for using up what is in your stash please post a comment below.  I need all the help I can get.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Where did the Summer go?

My, my how time does fly.  It seems like yesterday we were wrapping up the school year and looking forward to a much needed summer break.  Well, now we are back at school and the summer has gone.  I wish the school year went by as fast as summer.  Below is a sign I have on my porch written on my chalkboard tile.  Although this summer in our part of Texas was not bad.  We did not have a loooooooong string of over 100 degree days.  And we even had some days that were below 90 degrees.  That my friends is a RARE thing in Texas.

But, now it is Back to School time and that means setting up my classroom.  I used my owl theme again this year just tweaking some of the bulletin board boarders and themes.  I did add an owl banner that my Mom purchased for me.  It hangs in the middle of my classroom.  I love the colors and the owls faces.
My new owl banner in the middle of my classroom
On my bulletin boards this year I am going to add to them on a regular basis fun technology facts and tips.  One of the teachers last year did a Did You Know? Sign outside her door and she wrote random facts on it each day.  It was fun to see what information was presented and I learned some interesting facts.  So I thought it would be fun to do the same idea but use technology facts.
Here is my Did You Know  version

My first fact.  The first computer I ever saw was the size of my current classroom, it was a punch card computer.  My how things have changed.
One other change I made this year was I added some washi tape flags to the tops of the pencils I use at each computer.  I am hoping this will deter the disappearing of my pencils.  (A girl can hope for a perfect world can't she.)  I used some tape I purchased from the Dollar Tree.  It is a little thicker than regular washi tape. 
The pencils turned out cute with the flags.
There were not many changes to my classroom this year so I am thinking that next year I might do a bee or ladybug theme.  I am still working on those ideas.  I would love to see pictures of how you decorated your classroom.  Post a comment or picture below.