Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Mantel Project

When the Hunnie and I moved into the condo, this is what the cute little fireplace area looked like.  I enjoyed it, I really did.....but it was a little small to set anything on.  So, I got an idea to change it! 
I had the Hunnie measure it, and we once again ran to the Home Depot to get a piece of wood that would fit on the little ledge, but hang over enough so I could decorate!
Because all of our furniture accessories (tv stand, coffee and end tables) came from Ikea and were a beautiful brown with a nice black glaze on top, I had to figure out a way to make the wood piece we had cut match what was in our living room already! 
So, I basecoated the wood piece Folk Art Dark Brown, and let it dry and season a bit before I went on to my next step.
I used a palette knife to add quite a bit of Folk Art Glazing Medium to Licorice acrylic paint.  I mixed it well......

and brushed it over the Dark Brown color quickly.  I let it set up just a couple of minutes and wiped it with a soft, clean cloth.  I went back after it was dry, and re-applied the glaze mixture where it had been rubbed a bit too much, or hadn't adhered the way I wanted it to. 
The Hunnie attached it to the little mantel ledge with large screws for me. 
And this is what I ended up with when it was finished!  I'm so happy with how it all turned out.  I can set some candles on the mantel now without worrying that the man upstairs will walk too hard and they will fall on the floor causing probable disaster!  I'm a worrier, what can I say?  What do you think?  Easy project to do, and easy to remove when the Hunnie and I find another place that we can make our own. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Beachy Inspiration

My youngest son made me this easy box from scraps of wood.  He's gotten himself a new job, here, in California, where he's learning carpentry.  Nice.  The Hunnie and I are still decorating the condo here, and ever since June, when I made this project for Paint Me Plaid, I've been wanting to make something with the same theme.  So, I did!
I started out painting the entire box with Butter Pecan, by Folk Art (of course).  Inside and out, and added a second coat where necessary.
I waited for it to dry, and used my favorite distressing tool, my paraffin wax, to rub along the outer edges of the box and, scattered randomly, over the sides.  I took a soft cloth and lightly rubbed away the little flakes left.  Easy Peasy!
I squirted out some Wicker White, Light Blue (my favorite Folk Art Color), and Medium Blue paint on my palette and used a large, flat brush and added a bit of each color onto the bristles.

I painted over the Butter Pecan with quick strokes, being careful not to muddy the three colors together.  I think it looked a bit like the beautiful blue sky outside that is a constant here in Long Beach.  Then, I sanded the entire project lightly, letting the Butter Pecan show in the areas I rubbed the wax.

After a bit more drying time, I grabbed my jute and wrapped it around the middle of the box.  I didn't measure here, just started wrapping.....and kept wrapping until I liked it!  Keeping it centered, and making sure it didn't slant was the hardest part here, but it was certainly easy enough.  I started and ended the jute with a drop of craft glue, the real tacky kind that holds quickly, but I finished it off by applying a generous coat of Mod Podge over the entire thing.  Thankfully, this will hold it for just about forever!
Then, I looped and looped a bit of jute, until I liked the look of it, and tied it in the center with a knot.  I also applied this with a big scoop of Mod Podge.  When it was dry, I clipped the ends of the loops with my craft knife.

I used craft glue to apply a big sand dollar in the center of the jute loopies, and let it sit for the rest of the day til I was certain it wasn't going to fall off when I turned the box right side up and shatter!  I picked this little shell up myself, on a trip with my big sister to HER condo in Destin, Florida. 

And, here it is, all finished and at the foot of my fireplace.  So happy!  I got some beautiful hydrangeas to go inside....hopefully, they'll last a bit, I've never been a great "gardener" myself.  I'm known as the black thumb in the family, but I keep trying.  Hope you like this project, and please, check out the one I did on Paint Me Plaid.  Have a great day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Crafty Backgrounds

I'm a sucker for a good background for any project I make.  I debate with myself which is the best background to use, or whether I should try to create something new, something no one has ever created before.  It really is a big decision for me. 
And so, when I found out my great niece was turning two, and loved Aurora from Sleeping Beauty more than any other of the Princesses, my decision of what to paint her was a no-brainer.  What to put her on, what background would showcase her true beauty, and what to actually make that would be useful was the hard part!  I decided to paint a pretty canvas with her name on it that could be hung on her wall. 

I started by painting the 12" x 12" canvas with two beautiful Folk Art Colors, Turquoise and Patina.  I double loaded a large, 3/4" flat brush with the two colors and slip-slapped them around until the canvas was covered. 

When all areas of the canvas were dry, I used a really trendy Peel & Stick Painting Stencil from Plaid to stencil through and around with Folk Art Jamaican Sea.  Over and over again.  Randomly.  I tried to be hit and miss with the pressure on my stencil brush in this step, giving the feel of clouds, which turned out to be really pretty.

To add a little more interest to the background, I watered the Turquoise paint down to an inky consistency, and with a liner brush, I added swirls from some of the flowers.

This is what I ended up with. 

I painted the princess and some wood letters to spell out my beautiful grand niece's name, and I added a hanger on the back.  I hope she looks at it over the years and remembers her Aunt loves her very much.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Chalkboard Solution

The Hunnie and I love our condo close to the beach.  But, as with most things, there are things we're not so pleased with.  One of those "things" was the side of our pantry that faces the living room and us, and anyone who visits, with it's ugly remnants of adhesive left-overs where the last tenant removed whatever it was that they had stuck there.  Not so pretty.
Because our home accents are black and red, I thought it would be a "crafty" idea to paint that small 11" wide section with some Black Chalkboard Paint.  So, instead of really wrecking that area completely with black paint we could never get rid of when we leave, Hunnie thought it would be even "craftier" if we painted some thin board and attach it to the side of the pantry. 

After a trip to our local Home Depot, we came home with two boards, cut to fit perfectly!  Of course, I had a jar of Folk Art Chalkboard Paint, so I got to work rolling.  I rolled on three coats of Chalkboard Paint!  I also rolled the backs of the boards with Folk Art Licorice because I've learned over time that when you're painting thin board, it's best to paint both sides so the board doesn't warp.  This worked well.

I used some blue painters tape to tape off the borders I wanted and painted them Folk Art Lipstick Red.  Two coats worked well.

Hunnie used black screws to attach the board to the pantry.  He's so handy!

I'm so happy with the way this turned out.  I love Chalkboard Paint! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Epic Windows

I love Gallery Glass.  This wonderful product from Plaid Enterprises can do so many things.  I've worked with it alot over the years and have used it in numerous different applications.  But painting my windows is my all time favorite. 

The windows in my craft room are huge.  Seriously.  8' x 6', to be exact.  And the natural light coming through those windows is the reason why I put my workbench in front of them.  But, when I open the blinds, from across the street there is another building, and it's occupants, staring straight at me while I work.  It didn't make me very happy when I realized it.  Gallery Glass is a simple and beautiful solution to this problem. 

So, I made a little daisy pattern and used Liquid Lead to trace them onto a Leading Blank, all part of the Gallery Glass line!  I made a zillion, at least, of these little daisies, not really knowing what my windows were going to look like at this point, and how many I would need.  It's always a good idea to get all the leading done at the same time because it takes about 6 hours for the Liquid Lead to dry and cure, and be ready for the next step. 

I also made some "castings" out of the Gallery Glass Window Color.  This is so simple and really makes a window look absolutely like it has real stained glass in it.  Here, I squirted Aqua and Lime Green Window Color on a large Leading Blank and used a palette knife to mix a little and flatten it out into one full sheet.  This also takes several hours to dry.  I put my sheets, and I made several in different color combinations, on the floor in the craft room right in front of the windows overnight and was ready to go.

The next day, I used some Snow White for the petals and Sunny Yellow and a new color, Gilded Oak, to paint in my daisies. 

Then I got to work on the windows.  I took some Redi-Lead strips, also from the Gallery Glass line, and sectioned things off the way I wanted them.  I measured and divided like Math was my favorite thing to do.  (it's really not)  I got the windows "leaded" in about 4 hours!  Whew!

I applied the dry "casting" sheets to the window and cut them to fit.  Easy Peasy! 

And where I cut the sheet a little short, I filled in with Window Color straight from the bottle.  I applied the daisies into the design and used my absolute favorite, Crystal Clear Window Color, to fill in the sections surrounding the daisies.  Applying Crystal Clear straight from the bottle, I squirt and swirl until the dry effect is something like bubbly-glass!  This is so beautiful when the street lights come on outside the window!  

I also used a little Gallery Glass Etching Medium, applied with a large stencil brush, to add to the design.  I did this on the upper portion of the window that will likely be covered by the blind most of the time. 

And here is the finished window!  I'm so glad to be finished with this project, you wouldn't believe.  I can finally put my workbench back in place and get back to makin' the paint fly from my brushes! 
What do you think?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cubby, the Pirate

This is Cubby.  He's my "almost" three year old grandson.  And I miss him like crazy.  Cubby is not the name he was given when he was born.  I was talking to him the other day on the phone, and he told me he had a new name.  I said, "a new name"?, "yes", he said, "my new name is Cubby, because I am a pirate".  So, I now call him Cubby, because he is a pirate! 
My daughter had to tell me about the new show he's been watching on Disney Junior called Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  He just loves it.  So, I looked the show up and had a great idea for my favorite little guy's birthday in a little over a month.  I was in the middle of getting ready to snazzy-up the windows in the craft room but cleaned that project right off my work bench and got to work!
I printed off a couple of colored pictures of Jake and his friend Cubby, and a silly bird named Scully, who I loved immediately.  Then I pulled out my paint chips of all my Folk Art Acrylic Colors, and I got together a pretty nice color palette to make my new friends come to life.  I grabbed my paints and brushes and got to work!

I had three 8"x10" canvas boards stashed in the craft room surfaces pile and thought it would be a cute idea to stripe lightly behind the characters as the only background.  To me, it looked a little nautical, and with the characters being my main focus of the projects, I didn't want it to be too busy.  I striped Cubby's background horizontally, and the other two canvases for Jake and Scully I striped vertically.  I used my all time favorite color, Folk Art Light Blue, to lightly dry brush the color on in between the tape lines. 

I printed the images from Disney Junior's site where they have coloring book pages for kids to print off and color.  My grandson and I have been using this sight for all of his favorite characters since he could hold a crayon.  We've done every single character from Cars, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc.  (just a few of our favorites)  I cut the image out loosely, and centered it on the canvas, and placed a sheet of transfer paper underneath.  I traced the lines and had a perfect image to fill in. 

I painted the image using small brushes and tried to "color in the lines" as best as I could.  I thought it looked a little flat when I was finished, so I went in and shaded and highlighted where necessary.  This took several trips back to the computer where I could view full episodes of this adorable cartoon, and reference the characters again, and again! 
I just used a wet brush and side loaded into the shade color I wanted to use.  I followed the lines and added shading where I liked it best.  Then I outlined it all in Folk Art Licorice that I thinned down with a bit of water. 

Here they all are!  I think "Cubby" will be very happy to get these in the mailbox this week.  I wish I could deliver them myself, but this will have to do for now. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Simple Puzzle Project

My sister is a Scottie Dog fan.  A big fan.  She has a collection of these adorable dogs that she's been adding to for years.  It always makes me smile when I see them, some are beautiful, some are old, some are wearable, but all of them bring a smile to your face no matter how grumpy a day it is. 
She received, as a gift, a wonderful wood scottie dog, cut into several large puzzle pieces.  Adorable.  Very clever.  And, a definite original for her collection. 

Of course, I had to paint him. 

I painted the large dog with Folk Art Wrought Iron, and the little guy with Folk Art Licorice.  I painted the base Apple Red and then dotted it with Wicker White.  Easy enough.  But, I wanted to make him look like he had fur and I knew just how to do it! 

I used my rake brush, a little water, and some Folk Art Battleship Gray.  I love this rake brush.  The bristles, at the end, are clipped far apart, so when you just use the tip of the bristles and drag them along your surface, you get these great detail brush strokes.  It took quite awhile, I'll admit, to paint fur on both sides and the outer edges, but I think it was worth it! 

I sealed him and his little buddy with Mod Podge Gloss Sealer and left him to cure for a bit so the pieces didn't glue themselves together while he dried, and glued a little red bow to his "good" side.  He's ready to be shipped back home to my sister now.  I'll be a little sad to see him go.  He's been sitting on the windowsill in my craft room all week.....making me smile.