Monday, April 20, 2015

Initial Boards and Craft Night with friends

I realized something the other night as I was hosting a craft night with some of my friends, there are a lot of last names that start with "B".  Earlier in the day some of us were at a little antique/consignment store and we saw a simple board with an initial glued to it.  I was so cute that we decided to have a craft night and make our own version.

We collected supplies, most of them we already had at our houses.  One friend had an old board that she cut into pieces (I love a girl that uses power tools).  If you don't have scraps of wood they are easy to get from the hardware store.  I like to have my husband dumpster dive where there are new houses being built.  It's like Christmas for me but free and I am recycling. I pulled out my collection of house paint samples and odds and ends burlap pieces. The colors were mismatched but we made them work.  I recommend that you only use house paint if there is a possibility of these going outside.  Regular craft paint does not hold up well in humidity or you can buy a sealer that is specially made for outside projects.  The only thing that really cost anything was the initials and they were a few dollars from the craft store.

They turned out to be adorable!  The plan is that sometime in the future, we will drill holes and run jute or burlap ribbon through the top so they can be hung.  Maybe that will happen, probably not. 

It was a great night with an easy and inexpensive project and lots of laughter.  I can't wait to see what we come up with next.

If you wondered, I have started the background on one but my scrap board is a piece that I have been saving.  It is a couple feet long and I plan to paint a mixed media painting on it and prop it against the brick wall at my front door.  I'll post a picture of it when I am finished.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Message Boards and quotes

My memory is awful.  There, I said it.  I don't remember faces, names, movies, actors, songs, and I frequently read books twice before I realize I've read it before.  A poor memory does not go well with someone who loves quotes.  Inspirational quotes and Bible verses often help me stay focused and not become the guest of honor at my pity party.  I write them down on scraps of paper and in notebooks, which I have scattered all over.  The downfall to this is that the quote or verse that I want to focus on isn't in plain sight.  So, I decided to try my hand at making a message board that is fun and beautiful so it can do double duty as a piece of art.

These have a lot of layers and texture.  You can reach out and touch them.  The cords/ribbons/strings are removable.  I have one that I think I will hang up as a picture for a while and then transform it back into a message board.

With or without a quote or picture, this is fun.

Count The Happies!  I will be using this sentiment on other paintings.  Just reading it makes me happy.

How often does the daily chores take over life?  Sometimes I forget to do just what this message board says - Take Time To Relax & Enjoy Life.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Oak Sleeps In The Acorn

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.
James Allen

 Pursue your dreams.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mixed Media Paintings and the military home.

This sentiment is so true - "Where We Love Is Home"

The majority of military families move A LOT.  People who aren't military (we call them civilians) ask me all the time how I do it.  These two paintings are the formula of a successful military family... we make where ever we are in that moment our home.  There is a familiar saying - "Home Is Where The Army Sends Us"

The little houses in a row represent military housing.  I hadn't added the words when I took this picture.
Don't get me wrong, I haven't been completely satisfied at every single duty station.  I can think of only two out of nine or so different addresses (I lose track sometimes) that I didn't love.  I am not saying that I didn't like them - there is always something positive in each place and that is usually the great friendships that develop.  The first place we were only there for 6 months but our youngest was born during that time so it has wonderful and exhausting memories.  The second place had a lot of old memories connected with it.  It was a place for personal growth and we made fantastic friends.  I never forget the places we lived when Gene was deployed... talk about spiritual and personal growth.  I couldn't watch a single redeployment commercial during the Super Bowl this year without crying.  It gets me every time.

I will probably add a sentiment to help complete the thought/meaning.

These two paintings represent that feeling of the military home.  It's not about the house we are living in or the weather or the stores or the schools (all these things can help) but it is about the people we surround ourselves with.  I grew up in the same little town on a cattle farm.  We made a lot of memories and learned how to work hard but I have loved the adventures the Army has sent us on.  So, these paintings have special meaning to me.  One has already gone home to another military family.  They are sweet reminders of our way of life that might be a bit different from others but loved none the less.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reusing Spiral Notebooks

Are you at the part of the school year when you child comes home and tells you that she/he needs a new notebook the very next day, so you run to the grocery store and pay twice the normal amount for a sad little notebook?  No one wants to be the bad parent who sends their child to school without supplies.  And then do you repeat the exact same thing the next week?   I know I can't be the only one.  Right?!?!  Please tell me I'm right.

Do you have a stack of partially used spiral notebooks stashed away in a closet that came home from school at the end of the year?  Do you try to talk your little angel into using one of those old notebooks before you pawn your wedding ring (okay, I may be exaggerating a bit) to buy the overpriced notebook at the grocery store down the street?

Do you have a box of odd and end scrap booking supplies that you can't get rid of but you probably won't use?  Or, are you like me and buy scrap booking supplies but never scrapbook?

If you answered yes to these questions then grab your Mod Podge because I have the solution for you!

This little gem was the result of  "Mom!!!  I need a new Science notebook for school tomorrow!!"  I wasn't about to leave the house without my bra on and I wasn't putting on a bra to go get another stinkin' notebook. Don't judge... the sun was down and my jammies were on.  I checked the old notebook stash and remembered that when we moved I painstakingly dismantled all the old spiral notebooks so they could be recycled... but I found an survivor.  I located a vintage notebook from when my husband was in college about ten years ago.  JACKPOT!  Take a look at what we made with a paper bag, scrapbook supplies, and Mod Podge.  She loves it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

steampunk/military messenger bag for the tomboy

We are still using those steampunk inspired pendants.  They were so much fun to make and I have set a few aside to use in my mixed media paintings.  I have so much "stuff"collected for paintings.  My previous post shows how we made them and then turned them into a banner Steampunk Banner.

Gigi is a tomboy.  She doesn't get why girls like to spend time fixing their hair, putting on make-up or worrying about accessories.  (I love all those things.)  I was so excited when I found out that her friends talked her into using a purse.  She refused to carry any type of bag that looked girly or pink or had flowers or had anything that indicated she could possible be a girly-girl.  I showed her a few of the Kavu bags, which are functional, durable, and fun.  I carry one.   She didn't really love any of them so off we went to look through my fabric scraps.

Gigi designed her own small messenger tote by using left over pieces of an Army uniform, chevron canvas, left over military patches and pins from her Dad's collection and some of her steampunk charms and pendants.  It turned out so cool.  Or should I say epic?  I can never keep up.   Now she's not walking around school with her pockets full of her phone, chapstick, pens and pencils, papers... her new steampunk/military inspired bag holds it all.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Discover - steampunk banner

It started out as Christmas craft with the kids...

I found a ton of cute paper clay sculptures on Pinterest and decided it was a craft I would have to try.  During down time on Christmas break I brought out the paper clay and gathered the girls around the table for some mother-daughter craft time.  Greta didn't last long but Gigi and I stuck to it and decided to make steampunk inspired pendants... and a few birds.

We started by rolling and cutting out the clay into mostly squares.  I had some adorable little "cookie" cutters in the shapes of squares and circles that I bought when I picked up the paper clay.  I also had a bunch of steampunkish bits and pieces that Gigi and I found on a late night trip to Micheals Arts and Crafts, and when I say a bunch I mean more than I will ever use in a lifetime.  

We made our basic clay pendants and arranged the steampunk pieces into the clay.  After that was finished, we took a break for about... two weeks.  In our defense, the clay had to dry and we all know that crafts dry better when they are left on the kitchen counter and forgotten.  Just a note, very few of the steampunk embellishments stuck in the clay and most of them had to be glued to the pendants after they were painted.

Then one day while cleaning, I decided that was impossible to truly clean my kitchen unless I stopped what I was doing and painted the clay pendants.  Isn't that how all crafty people clean?  So, I transferred all the tiny little clay and metal pieces to my art studio and started smearing paint on them.  I literally used my fingers and smeared them with watered down black craft paint and then started rubbing them with a dab of different colored metallic craft paint.  I love the outcome.

 When Gigi got home from school I had to have her remind me where the different steampunk pieces went on which clay pendant and then we glued them in place and enjoyed our accomplishment.  We had a pile of pendants that we loved but didn't know what to do next.

A bolt of lightening struck and we decided to make a banner.  So after the completed pendants relaxed on my desk in my art studio for another handful of days, I came up with an idea for a banner.  It only took an afternoon to put together and now it proudly hangs in her room.  All the pendants on the banner are the ones that Gigi designed.  It is absolutely one of the coolest things we have made together.  

We still have pendants left over for other projects.  I have a purse that Gigi and I designed to show you next... which uses more of her steampunk pendants.