Sunday, 1 March 2015

Free Printable and Clipboard Frame

This project hardly counts as a project but I love it and couldn't resist sharing.

Several months ago I went to Costco and printed a beautiful free printable from Leanne at Organize and Decorate Everything. As a perfectionist, the words are ones I need to remember and I thought a visual would be a good addition to the shelf in my office / craft room. After printing it, I laid it on the chair until I got a frame and kind of forgot about it. 

Fast forward to this afternoon. I was putting away some piles in my office / craft room and came across it. I dug out my stash to see if I had a picture frame that would work and came across my clipboard. Lightbulb moment.

Now I have a beautiful new addition - with an important message - displayed in my office / craft room.  In case you're wondering about the other things on the shelves, the abstract artwork was made by my two year old nephew and the prairie sky was art class number four, which I still haven't shared with you. The wedding pictures are in little frames that were place card holders and I have a lot of Willow Tree Angels around the house. The "home wasn't built in a day" printable was free from Krista at The Happy Housie, and is another important message for me to remember.

Also, I need to apologize if I haven't been responding to your comments recently. Typically I respond to all comments, except those that are from no reply bloggers, but lately I'm not getting notifications for some of the comments. Please don't think I'm ignoring you. I love comments and appreciate you taking them time to leave a few words!

Shared at: Sew Much Crafting, The Kolb Corner, Kathe With An E, A Stroll Thru Life, Sugar Bee Crafts, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Painted Mirror

You know those projects that you put off for a very long time, and then once you finally do it wonder why it took you so long? This was one of those projects. 

I've wanted a mirror over the top of the closet / ledge in our living room / entrance for several years but couldn't find the right one. Then a few months ago I found one that was the perfect shape. As an added bonus, it was cheap and not heavy. The only problem was the colour but that's easy to change. And yet, it sat unpainted for months. Honestly, it probably would have stayed that way until summer (aka spray paint season) but the other night I decided it needed to be painted and hung up right away.

One thing I was dreading was taping the round edges but I saw an awesome trick that was responsible for my need to paint it immediately. I wish I knew the blog where I first saw it but I didn't pin it and can't find it again. If you happen to see it, please let me know. So what's the big trick? Instead of taping the mirror, rip pieces of cardboard and tuck them underneath the frame. Quicker and easier than taping, and it worked pretty well.

Now's the point where you should not do what I did. Instead of priming or finding paint meant for plastic, I used cheap white acrylic paint and a foam brush because that's what I had on hand. After several coats I achieved good coverage but the paint did not adhere well. It's fine for my purposes because the mirror is up high and won't be touched but if it was going in a high traffic area, the paint would be chipped and damaged very quickly. Be sure to use the proper kind of paint for your project.

Back to the cardboard trick, once I'd done my final coat I carefully removed the cardboard. The line wasn't as clean as if I'd taped it but, like I said above, this mirror is up high so nobody will be looking at it that closely. If I wanted perfection I could have cut around the edge with a sharp blade before removing the cardboard but I didn't bother.

Thankfully, J was willing to hang it the next morning, as I don't think I could have reached, even on a ladder. It's not placed exactly where I wanted it (slightly more to the right) but I'm not about to complain or ask him to move it. Even though it's not perfect, I'm really pleased. I love the clean look of the clean white frame and it helps break up the large, odd wall in our living room.

Shared at: Sew Much Crafting, The Kolb Corner, A Stroll Thru Life, Sugar Bee Crafts, Kathe With An E, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Funky Trees: Art Class Number Three

Are you sick of my paintings yet? I hope not because I'm hooked! I've actually done four already but am a little slow in posting them. Just in case you're wondering if I've abandoned all other crafting / DIYing, I haven't. I did a real project last night so I'll share that some time this week. Anyway, a couple weeks ago we painted crazy trees.

First we made our textured background. We used white glue and plaster crack-filler, and spread it around with a pallet knife. Then we had to dry it using a hairdryer because we didn't have enough time to just leave it.

Once the texture was dry, we painted the entire canvas, leaving some gaps sort of where the trees would be. We then added the different texture to the bottom. I feel like it's meant to be water or a reflection of some sort. I chose to use orange, turning to yellow and red, which were very close to the colours in our sample picture.

Next came the trees. We started with the top, which used several similar shades of blues with some greens and purples -  colours opposite on the colour wheel from my background. I love the texture under the paint. Then came the trunks and branches. I was really nervous I would wreck the painting when I added the branches but I think they turned out ok. 

After standing back and looking at my painting (something I need to do more often), I could see some gaps and details that needed to be fixed or tweaked. A few minutes adding more details and it was all finished.

This was definitely the easiest on yet and I think it's the best one of done. With that said (or I guess typed would be more accurate) my painted flowers will always hold a special place in my heart because that was my first and my three ladies is still my favourite. What do you think - do you like this one better?

Shared at: Sew Much Crafting, The Kolb Corner, Life on Lakeshore Drive, A Stroll Thru Life, Sugar Bee Crafts, Kathe With An E, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Fluster Buster, Ginger Snap Crafts, A Creative Princess

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Valentine's Bulletin Board

Are you big on Valentine's Day? I'm pretty neutral about it but thought it would still be fun to spread some love on my bulletin board.

The inspiration for this board came from two separate posts: this church bulletin board from Homemaking With Monica, and this picture that doesn't link to a blog.    
I bought almost all the hearts at The Dollar Tree last week. The only exception is the package of felt hearts I bought on clearance at Michael's last year and hadn't used.

I left the blue paper up (mostly because I was lazy) and turned my printed border backwards to use the white side. I then drew a wave with chalk and randomly placed my hearts along the line, starting with the largest and working my way down to the smallest. Once it was done I used my finger to wipe away any visible chalk.

For someone who doesn't really care about Valentine's Day, I am in love with my bulletin board!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Three Women: Art Class Number Two

I was going to call this post "1930s Asian Pilgrims in New York" but thought I might scare you off. That, however, is how I lovingly refer to my painting from my second art class. All those words are ones used by other people to describe my picture. This painting didn't go nearly as smoothly as the first one, but I feel like I learned more from fixing my mistakes than I did from the parts that went well.

I know last time I said I'd take pictures during the process but I didn't. I just get so into my painting that I forget. Sorry.

We started by doing the background. I chose paint that was various shades of green, thinking it would look nice and earthy. The reality was more of a 1980s neon paint explosion. It was bad. Really bad. So bad I totally painted over it, or at least that was my intention. I switched colours and re-sponged my canvas with colours were much more the feeling I was going for. However if you look closely, especially between the women, you can still see little bits of green which I actually really like.

After the background we moved on to the girls. We had mini lessons in proportions and shading, and then got right to it. I started with the face and neck, moving on to the black hats/hair and lacy, ahem, area below the neck. (As I type that sentence, I'm fearful what searches I may end up appearing on if I word it more accurately. Anyway...) Once that was done it was time for painting the skirts, which was my favourite part. I've discovered I love painting big, sweeping lines.

Then it was on to the details, which I find nerve wracking. I worry that by that point I get to the details I will totally ruin the painting (and all my hard work). I was terrified about making the faces actually look like faces and making the accessories look realistic. Guess what? I messed up. Several time. Fortunately the instructor was able to show me how to cover up my mistakes and I think the details turned out quite well. My favourite is the silver heard necklace.

To finish the painting, I added the black beside the ladies. Then I used a circle stencil and added some blue/green dots around my page. They may look random but were strategically placed to hide some of my errors.

Even though it's unlike anything else I own and uses colours I'm not normally drawn to (or perhaps because of those things) I love my 1930s Asian Pilgrims in New York. So which painting do you prefer: flowers from lesson one or women from lesson two?

Shared at: A Creative Princess, 4 You With Love, Glitter Glue & Paint, Creatively Living, The Kolb Corner, Sew Much Crafting, A Stroll Thru Life, Sugar Bee Crafts, Kathe With An E, Made in a Day, Life on Lakeshore Drive

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Book Club and Cookies x 2

I was sorting picture the other day and realize I haven't posted my recipes from the last two book clubs. Oops. 

Back in late November we met to "discuss" One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. The reason I say "discuss" is because not a single one of us had actually finished the book. I've since finished the book and, although it took me a while to get into it, I can appreciate why it's a classic.

I brought Pomegranate - Oatmeal - Carob Chip cookies that I shared a couple years ago but this time made them gluten and dairy free. I simply replaced the flour with a gluten-free blend (Cloud 9) and the butter with a soy spread. Also, I realize pomegranates are out of season right now. That's what I get for taking so long to post this.

When I made these using non gluten-free and dairy-free ingredients they froze really well, but that wasn't the case this time. They tasted best fresh out of the oven or after sitting on the counter for a few hours. After they had been refrigerated, they got soft when put back out at room temperature. I solved the problem by eating the leftovers straight from the freezer but wanted to give you a heads up. Despite the softness, I still love these cookies!

Our next meeting was in early January to discuss The Dinner by Herman Koch. What a book. I was really into it at first but my interest fizzled as I continued reading. Despite that, it was one of my favourite books that we've chosen for book club. The questions we used to guide our discussion led to some very thoughtful, engaging conversation.

For this meeting I made Banana Bread Cookies. I used this recipe from The Rebel Chick and followed it quite closely. I swapped out things I can't have (flour, butter, chocolate chips) for gluten and dairy free alternatives (gf flour blend, soy butter, carob chips), but other than that I followed the recipe exactly. These were delicious and I'll definitely make them again.

My book club ladies are always open to suggestions so if you've read any great books, I'd love to know about them!

Shared at: Sew Much Crafting, The Kolb Corner, Sugar Bee Crafting, A Creative Princess, 4 You With Love, Glitter Glue & Paint, Creatively Living, A Stroll Thru Life, Kathe With An E, Made in a Day, Life on Lakeshore Drive, Petite Allergy Blog

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Essential Oil Furniture Polish

Have you jumped on the essential oil bandwagon yet? I started using Doterra oils a couple years ago but I've only recently been really exploring their many uses. Lately I've become so in love with them that I've even signed up as a distributer. Seriously, I'm hooked.

But back to the point, one of my new loves is my homemade furniture polish. 

I actually don't need to polish my furniture. My coffee and end tables are cheap pressed wood and aren't in great condition. The whole reason I do is to help repel the dog hair, which seems to take over my house within 48 hours of cleaning. With store bought polish I would polish the furniture at least every two weeks. With this I easily go a month between polishing and it's still (relatively) free of dog hair. It's easy to make and smells deliciously clean. Plus it has no harmful chemicals to worry about. 

One warning about this polish - it's really oily. It takes a little while to sink in (my furniture feels slick for a day or two) but to me it's totally worth it. 

1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
25 drops Citrus Bliss essential oil (any citrus oil would work)

Measure your ingredients. Pour them in the spray bottle. Label. Done.

Give it a shake before each use.

Please test a small, inconspicuous part of the piece you plan to polish to make sure it doesn't damage your wood. I haven't had any issues but I'm not responsible (and would feel horrible) if this somehow ruins your furniture.

One last thing - it's not recommended to use plastic bottles for essential oils. However, I live in a small city and have very limited shopping selections. I originally made this in a mason jar and dipped my cloth in it but wanted a spray bottle. This was the best I could find. When I make my next trip to the city (or get around to finding one online) I'll switch to a glass bottle.

Shared at: What Meegan Makes, Creatively Living, The Kolb Corner, Kathe With An E, A Stroll Thru Life, Sew Much Crafting, Sugar Bee Crafts, A Creative Princess