Found poetry

I posted a couple days ago about getting a Gelli plate, which I’m totally thrilled with.   I used my art journal to try it out and made a couple really neat backgrounds, which I used tonight.  Here’s my post about making them:  https://craftymadre.com/2013/09/11/gelli-madness/.  This month, Stampotique Designer’s Challenge is challenging people to “Try a new technique” (http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/sdc116-try-new-technique.html), so I did.

Not only was the gelli plate background new to me, but I also tried my hand at “Found Poetry“.   I first heard about it on this blog, http://slowdownsunday.org/2013/08/06/color-this-quote/, but have seen it a few times since and been really intrigued.  She kindly included this really great guide on how to write them, as well:  https://secure.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Books/Sample/18488chap1.pdf .  It’s basically taking words from an existing piece (a book, a newspaper article, a magazine cover, the bathroom wall) and rearranging them to make your own poem.

My first attempt at found poetry was on my new prayer journal, an idea I got from one of my favorite bloggers:  Molly Lolly Loo (http://mollylollyloo.blogspot.com/search/label/Art%20Journal).  I’ve been reading Jan Richardson’s “In the Sanctuary of Women” (http://www.sanctuaryofwomen.com/) in preparation for a retreat I’m attending that’s being led by her at the end of the month.  It’s such an inspiring book that I wanted a dedicated place to keep my thoughts as I’m reading.  So, I took a plain old Composition Book (thanks to the $1 back-to-school sale at Staples) and decoupaged some pictures from National Geographic on it as my “canvas”.  I used words from the catalogue of the retreat center to create “poems” on the front and back.  The whole process was really amazing.  Here’s what I ended up with:

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Well, I loved the process so much that I tried it again in my art journal on top of my gelli prints, this time with cut out words from “The Wisdom of the Hindus”.  (I created an altered book with it about a year ago but had several pages left over that I cut out to give myself more room for embellishments.)  Here are both pages in tonight’s gelli plate spread:

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I decorated them both with black Sharpie and White Pitt Pen after, and I really like them.  The sun was actually ANOTHER new technique.  I used my new brayer (gotta love 40% off at Michaels) to put yellow acrylic craft paint over a piece of scrapbook paper to kind of “alter” it.

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I cut out the sun and glued in on the middle of the page, pasting the cut-out word “grace” in the middle.  So simple yet so satisfying.

Kitchen Color!

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We have these grand plans of renovating the kitchen, building an addition to make it twice the size, and doing it all in Rachel Ray’s eggplant, orange, and lime green color combo (and by “we” I mean my wife).  Here’s Rachel Ray’s collection, if you can’t picture it:  http://www.rachaelraystore.com/Department/List/Bakeware/102-4294958180  I do kind of love the color combo.

That’s probably not going to happen any time soon (unless Rachel finds my blog and offers to pay for it all in a huge sponsorship/promotion extravaganza).  In the meantime, I’m trying to make things that help the wifey keep the tiny space we do have more organized and appealing for her to work in (thus motivating her to make more yummy stuff for me and the boy).

I picked up this little wooden Crayola crate at a thrift store in North Carolina when were on vacation last Spring and knew I wanted to save it for something perfect.  When she took an old spice rack off the wall (after realizing that the spices in there had likely been purchased when the first Clinton was in office) the spot it left was the perfect size for this box.

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I started off by putting a shelf it in from some old dresser drawer wood I cut down.  It’s just wood-glued in with two more pieces of wood as supports but feels pretty sturdy.  I painted the inside a vibrant purple, a little brighter than the purple from Rachel Ray’s collection, but it was similar to another accessory my wife made for the kitchen a week before (see below).  I  screwed in cup hooks before painting the outside because I didn’t have the right color paint for the outside yet and I was being impatient.  That was a silly thing to do, because then I ended up having to carefully paint and varnish around the hooks for every subsequent coat.

I only painted the top, bottom, and fronts with the green, because I really wanted to keep the sides with the Crayola logo on them visible.  It’s also a nice combo of her contemporary and my vintage aesthetics.  (Those sides are my favorite part.)

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It was still looking rather ordinary (as ordinary as a purple and lime green Crayola crate spice shelf can look), so I tore some pages from a second-hand Bacardi cookbook we picked up at a tag sale and decoupaged them in the backs of the shelves.  It’s kind of a nod to our honeymoon, which was in Puerto Rico and during which we toured the Bacardi factory.  I think they added the perfect touch.

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I also sanded the edges down a tiny little bit to distress it before slathering the whole thing with varnish (I won’t say it’s because my wife tends to be a little messy when she cooks so I wanted it to clean up easily because she took a wee bit of offense when I said that in my last kitchen post).  🙂

I’m also going to submit this to Make My Monday’s challenge this week:  Anything But a Card.   http://mimchallegeblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/midweek-motivation-anything-but-card.html  There are so many card and scrapbook challenges out there, it was nice to see this one deviate from that for this week.  (Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE me my card challenges!)

The other new addition to our slowly-becoming-colorful kitchen is a clothes pin recipe holder that the wife made at a super-fun workshop at my favorite local upcycle crafting haunt, Knack: (http://www.knack.org/).

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She and the boy worked on this one together.

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He helped us both paint (I was working on another one) and then he somehow found the most amazingly perfect glass fruit beads to decorate the clothespins.  A woman who had a huge bead collection was no longer able to use them because of arthritis, I think, and found it too hard to have them around the house so she donated them to Knack.  The collection was magnificent and this was such a great way to spread her love of beading far and wide, I think.

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These beads are so sweet- tiny little glass fruits- but my photos don’t do them justice.  Macey found the perfect glue to stick the glass to the wood (Amazing Goop) and so far the little suckers have held right on.  She also told me about this awesome web site, http://www.thistothat.com/, where you can select two different materials and it will tell you what glue to use.  It’s brilliant!!

I made one of these clothespin boards for my craft space, but I think I’ll save that post for another day.  School started today and the boy’s school this year starts a full hour earlier.  I was not happy waking up at 6am (and will probably not be happy doing it again tomorrow).

Upcycled chair planter going away gift

A close friend of mine is moving away, from where I live in Massachusetts (where she’d been for the past few years for grad school) back to Mississippi (where she was from). I’ve already got all the travel web sites set to e-mail me when there is a good fare from here to there, but, in the meantime, I had to make something as a going away present. She rented a truck to drive everything down herself, so what better, then, than a new piece of furniture to throw on board.

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But, seriously, this was really fun to make and it’s not too big- just made out of a kid’s sized chair. I’d actually been eyeing the chair for a long time and had finally decided that my boy had officially grown out of it. I started off by drawing around the top of the pot I wanted to use and cutting a hole through the seat about 1/4″ in from the circle I’d drawn with my handy jigsaw. Of course, the boards in the center that I cut all the way through then got a little wobbly because they were only being held on by a staple. So, I used the scrap pieces from the hole I cut and some wood glue to shore them up.

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This was my second attempt ever at using crackle, and I went with Martha Stewart’s (mostly because that was the one that came in the biggest bottle at Michaels). I started off with a nice, soft green acrylic, then did the crackle, then went over it with a deep blue outdoor acrylic. I applied them all with sponge brushes and a thin bristled brush to get into the cracks. It actually worked really well and I only had to learn once not to try to touch up the top coat after it had started drying (because the crackle effect only works on the first coat over it). I also had to learn that when you use crackle when it’s humid in a room without air conditioning it takes a REALLY long time to dry.

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I used my new white Pitt pen to do some doodling on it and write the phrase “Keep out of the Weeds”. It was kind of a cross between “Keep off the grass” and being “in the weeds”- an expression she uses when she’s overwhelmed with work (which was pretty frequent during grad school).

I lacquered the heck out of it with both brush on and spray on polyurethane. I’m hoping it will stand up to the elements outside. Part of why I made this is because she’s moving from the apartment she’s been renting back to the home she owns, so she’ll have some more room for outdoor decor.

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I did a crackle finish on the pot I put in it, too. The sad flower in the photo is actually just a seed I started not too long ago. I didn’t give it to her with a plant in it (I figured that would add insult to injury in terms of her packing responsibilities).

The finishing touch was the bottlecaps I attached with little brad nails I had pulled out of the dresser drawer I made into a shelf. We might have spent one or two nights drinking Mike’s hard lemonade in the past few years. Just sayin’…

Anyway, I’m really happy with it but really sad about the occasion for the gift. I heard Mississippi has a great St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Challenge entry for The Stampsmith Challenge (and my new favorite stamps)

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I LOVE when neatly decorated packages come in the mail.  It’s always the sign of a crafter sending me supplies or a piece I ordered.  This one from Estelle was no exception.  I’ve been starting to experiment with stamping and loving all the resources on-line (and, of course, at good-ol’ Michael’s).  I found this challenge and knew it would be the perfect excuse to get some new stamps:

http://thestampsmithchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/07/tsc44shabby-chic-or-vintage-grunge.html

The “shabby chic” and “grunge” themes certainly helped peak my interest!  So, here’s my contribution to this week’s challenge.  I’m thinking it ended up being more of a grunge look.  I usually start out envisioning shabby chic, but then I keep adding more and more layers, pushing things over into “grunge-range”.  This card started out with really pretty circles using a few different yellow acrylics and “floating medium”.  You can see it more than in my last post’s card’s background.  It works amazingly well with shading and blending.  Then, I used one of my new Stampsmith stamps to add this great Anais Nin quote (I love her).  I used the cute heart stamps that I’ve had forever and a Sharpie to make little flowers in the centers of the circles I had made.  Then, I added some roses with the “extra” stamp that Estelle threw in (I LOVE extras).  The coolest thing about her stamps is the intricate details in some of them.  I had no idea stamps could actually be photo-realistic, as well.  I know that I’m going to get better at using them- there’s quite a skill to stamping.

This is where I started venturing into “grunge-land”, I think.  I recently made some spray-ink with acrylic and rubbing alcohol so I thought a little spray would add some more interest.  (Oh, here’s my post in which I made spray-ink, in case you’re interested: https://craftymadre.com/2013/07/18/a-few-more-icads-on-the-home-stretch/)  Little did I know, but the not-yet dry ink in the quote stamp ran a little with the spray, but by then I was committed to grunge, so it worked out.  Then, I took quote stamp that still had a little ink on it and randomly stamped over the rest of the card.  The black hearts are actually a wooden heart that I used as a stamp.  So, there you have it!

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As a bonus, here’s another ICAD I made this week, I used torn up coin wrappers for it.  Funnily, I used the label from a sheet of letters I got from the Stampsmith to stamp the letters over the top and grunge this one up, as well.  (By the way, the letters are in these intricate nouveau art flower designs- be on the lookout for a project with them soon.)

So, there you have it.  What’s the most unique way you’ve used a stamp/stamps?  I think I’m addicted.

How do I use this thing? (and some ICADs)

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I came across this 3D stencil in one of my (many) boxes of craft supplies and thought… “What the heck?”  One of the prompts for last week’s ICAD Challenge was “ivy”, so what better time to experiment.  I recently started playing with gesso, and figured that would be as good as anything to stencil with, and then figured I could just paint over the relief for a cool design.  Not.

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The gesso (surprise, surprise) seeped under the stencil, despite at my best attempts at taping and holding it down.  I ended up with a bunch of big blobs.  So, I thought, maybe I can just trace the stencil on top of the gesso like any other normal stencil.  Of course, it’s not a normal stencil, so when I tried to trace inside the openings the foam kept moving and that was a disaster, too.  I tried a trusted Sharpie, but it didn’t work too well on top of the gesso, so I just resorted to painting inside the stencil as well as I could (given my level of frustration and disappointment at this point) with my handy-dandy acrylic paint.  I threw a random quote on it from my collection and was about to call it a day.  But…Image

I had all this paint left over on my plate and this frustrating foamy stencil that I still didn’t know how to use.  So I did a little more experimentation and used it as a STAMP.  And I LOVED it!!!  I made two more cards with it that way.

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And then I just wanted to use up the rest of the paint, so I did the one below.  I used the sewing theme again (which I love), and experimented with some new, metallic thread and a zig-zag stitch.  So, here’s the last one in this “series”:

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So, I guess that what started out as a big mess turned out okay.  It usually does.  (And, if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.)

And here are some other bloggers who are doing ICADs (it seems like the numbers are growing like weeds- really pretty, interesting weeds).

http://livingadreamlife.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/icad-25-happy-birthday-eric-carle/  – I had no idea it was Eric Carle‘s birthday… I’m seeing a Carlesque ICAD coming up in my future.

http://sitscrapandrelax.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/icad-20-24/  – I just came across this blog and love it.  This series is really neat, she calls it her “She Art”.  The last two are portraits she learned how to do by watching an instructional video on YouTube.  How cool is that?!

Oh… and how DO I use that thing???

Painted Jars

I love jars and paint so this post is my dream come true. I found a way to paint jars on Pinterest (from http://www.ohgoodiedesigns.com/2012/08/i-tried-my-own-diy-post-success.html).  They were similar to the orange and pink flower jars in inspiration pictures for the blog reblogged above and inspired me.  So… I tried it myself!  I think the striped bottles will be next on my list.

I have a ton of jars of all sizes that I collected for my wedding.  We tied ribbons around them and used them as vases on the tables.  (Photo by Brian Hale, http://www.halechannel.com)

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I put them through the dishwasher to make sure they were nice and clean.  After they had dried, I just took some acrylic paint and just poured it in.  I turned the jar all around to make sure the paint covered the whole inside.  I put the jars upside down on paper to dry and made sure to move them around periodically so they wouldn’t stick to the paper.  (I kept the papers with all the rings to maybe use in a future project).  I’m going to spray the insides of the jars with a clear-coat to make the paint more durable so it doesn’t scratch off when I put things in them.

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A couple of the paints covered better than others (maybe depending on their age or brand).  The blue needed a second coat because it didn’t all stick and left some blank spots.  I think that one seemed a little more watery when I was pouring it.  I would have also loved to use a baker’s cooling rack or something do dry them on (but my wife would have killed me if I’d used hers).  The paint kind of puddled around the mouths of the jars as they were drying and made them a little bumpy, but that wouldn’t have happened if it was able to drip all the way out.  I love the green because it has a little metallic sheen and the purple is a little pearlized, which looks beautiful.

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Being a crafter, I have tons of brushes and markers and pens, etc., and at this point they’re  just in random mugs and cups and containers. So… this is the perfect way to use my jar collection AND decorate my craft room.  I’ll post pictures when they’re all set up!

Update:

And here they are, in use!  (With a glimpse of me from a wedding photo- also compliments of http://www.halechannel.com- in the background.)

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And… if you want some for yourself (but don’t want to make them yourself), here they are in my Etsy store:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/130379318/painted-jars?ref=v1_other_1

SHOEBOX LIVING

Let me present Hong Kong’s own challenger to the Mason Jar – the Kowloon Dairy Milk Bottle! I have always liked this cute retro bottle + the chocolate milk is absolutely delicious ! Getting a good drink and a pretty bottle at the same time is pure double happiness and I love the fact that there still are companies out there using glass bottles – who doesn’t think it’s tastier to drink coke out of a glass bottle instead of a can? I have stockpiled these bottles and with a little bit of spray paint and masking tape, I created a striped golden version.

Time: Approx 1 hours (super easy & fast!)

You need:

  • Glass Bottles
  • Spray Paint – need to hold for glass
  • Masking tape – different widths

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How to:
1. Create-the-stripes: use the masking tape and create your own breton version. What you cover with the tape will not…

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