Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for popping in. This blog will cover lots of crafty tips, tricks, ideas, projects, experiments and giveaways... among other things.
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Do you ever wonder if you're meant to create just for the sake of creating things. Call it passion, obsession, or whatever, but it's an overwhelming urge to just create something out of nothing. You know ... that pile that most people see as junk, but, for whatever reason, you brain sees a project in every item. Every item. Your brain sees things for what they can be, not what they are. You're compelled to create something where nothing  exists. And you will!!!  There are times I question whether or not I'm a hoarder. But I protest that fact. After all, my 'crap' is organized and labelled - in an OCD way - So it's different, right??? Yes!  It's okay. That's what I'm telling myself... for now. Meanwhile, I'm off to create more stuff... or reorganize AGAIN!!!!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gifting ...

Lowela insisted she get a photo of me with the Garden Fairy before she left my guardianship. Knowing how few photos I take, it's probably the only one I have of her.  
As the time approaches for me to move into a new home, after 10 yrs. in the same space,
I am gifting some of my Secret Keepers to my friends. This little Garden Fairy is the smallest of my Secret Keepers - approximately 6" tall. This one is made of recycled faux flowers, seed beads, ribbons and other things from 'other people's junk' piles.
Secret keepers have hidden, recycled, storage jars built within the doll.
This doll has a 1 oz. jam jar under her skirt.
It's just big enough for a ring, camera card or some tightly folded mad money.
This insistent fairy kept telling me she had to live with my new friend Lowela.
Luey, as we call her, was super happy to receive the fairy ... yay!
I love giving gifts for absolutely no reason!
It's so much fun!!!
It's even more fun when the recipient truly appreciates the gift and will be a fine guardian to one of my 'babies.' 
Although the act of downsizing is not my favorite thing to do, I'm making progress.
I'm excited about what new things will come into my life as I release things from the past.
I'm keeping my mind and heart open to what is meant to be, and trying to learn to accept life as it is... whatever it is. 
The deepest part of me hopes that my new life will include advancing my art.
Advancing could mean opening a business and selling my art, sharing my skills and love of repurposing with others, or allowing more opportunities to gift as I meet more friends.
During this life transformation of mine, I'm making a personal transformation, too.
I don't know exactly what is happening but I'm opening up more to people, the universe and learning to be more accepting of other - wherever they are in life - I'm kinder, and more loving to those I pass in every day life. Yes, I'm learning to be more loving to myself as well. I'm making the most amazing friends from the most unlikely of places. Each of them has their own experiences, and circumstances, to make them unique.
I'm blessed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Butt space and storage

Yep, this project was about butt space and storage. We needed a little more seating in the livingroom given we only had 2 recliners and a loveseat before this project began. When my dog, Jada, is on the loveseat most of the time there isn't anywhere for company to seat when they come over. The storage need comes from the same place it always comes from: Jim's ever-expanding, excessive collection of media. He's in training to learn the concept of one item in means one item out. I'm ever-hopeful he'll get the concept one day, just because I'm an eternal optimist! But when I keep it real, I'm pretty sure I'll have to keep creating multipurpose pieces like this one.
I started with a solid wood, structurally sound, ugly, low-boy dresser with 6 drawers. I cleaned the whole thing with a mild bleach solution and let it dry thoroughly. I used a Shellac based primer on the dresser simply because the finish was a bit glossy and it allowed me skirt an excessive sanding session (I hate to sand!). Then I painted it with Home Depot's Linen White semi-gloss so that it will match the trim in the room. Jim helped by cutting the foam for me. The foam was cut from a 4" mattress I bought, for $5, long ago - knowing it would come in handy one day! The cut was made with an electric carving knife, as I have seen that technique on home decor shows. It took forever, which is why Jim did it (I don't have the patience!) and it worked very well! Here is the project so far. The fabric on top is among my choices for a cover, however, I might turn the stripes the other way by sewing sections together. I haven't decided if I'll use this or not as it's my curtain fabric and I don't want to overwhelm the room with too much of the same print. I plan to simply fold the fabric under the cushion and pin, or use a few stitches, on the bottom to hold the fabric in place. That way I can take it off for cleaning or switch it out for another fabric if I change the room's decor - knowing me I will change it within 6 months to a year. I might also create a back for it, or repurpose a headboard (or something) for a back rest. Who knows!
I'm off to create... something!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Closet shelving becomes...

I was replacing old wooden closet shelves with the coated wire ones in order to get better ventilation in the closet. With a house built in 1954, when insulation in ciderblock homes was not required, this old Florida block house has moisture issues. Although I use a dehumidifier most of the year, the closets are better with a little more air flow than wooden shelves allowed. Once I took the wood out, it looks to be in pretty good condition aside from some flaking paint. You know what that means, don't you? Of course you know! I had to reuse it somehow.

Having recently built lots of cubbies for my desk (an earlier blog has photos and info.) and having a few cubbies left over my mind was spinning! First, I thought I would just make a vertical shelf. However, knowing I had fabric and foam waiting to be used up - bam!- a bench.
I used a putty knife to get a lot of the flaking paint off the shelves (it was flaking because latex was used over an oil based paint = guaranteed to flake!). And being as lazy, and opposed to extensive sanding, as I am I opted for a shellac based primer. That stuff sticks to almost anything unlike the water based primers. After priming the shelves, I popped in a few cubbies, equally spaced, and screwed it all together with wood screws (The wood you see behind it in the photo isn't a back to the bench. It's just propped up behind it to hide the 50+ projects in various stages of undone). Then I primed the whole thing with a based primer and painted it. Next, I cut a piece of foam to fit, used batting over the foam to soften the front edge and stapled it in place. Finally, I put the fabric on top and stapled it down. Tada a bench!

Peeling closet shelves

Assembled pre-primer and paint

Here it is all done. It's 52" long and fairly narrow at 14" deep. It's the perfect size of little bottomed visitors, putting on shoes and leashing the dog. I thought it would be nice to put all the Disney and child friendly videos in it for easy selection if we get little visitors . I have the option of adding some velcro and a piece of fabric if I want to put a curtain on it at a later date.

That's my latest - okay one of them - conversion of recycled materials. I hope you've enjoy today's project.

I'm off to create... somthing!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Carrousels? You ask. Yep, Carrousels. Many years ago someone got me a carrousel as a gift. Apparently, I was quite expressive about how much I liked it at the time because from that day forth it was determined that I would get lots and lots of carrousels as gifts. I don't think I've bought more than two carrousel related items in my collection of 30+ music boxes, statues, stained glass and pictures. The two things I bought were these prints which I framed over 10 yrs. ago. I've often thought of getting rid of my whole collection as it seems somewhat childish for someone in her mid 40s to have this collection. However, they've come to mean somethiing to me over the years. That something is that they represent life. How? Life is full of ups and downs every single day and the carrousels remind me that when life is in a full blown downward spiral and thing aren't going well at all that - in time - life will move back upward and all will be right in my world. Yep, that's why I keep them.
Over time these two pieces of fabric have gotten a bit sun bleached on the sides and the frames were too worn out to keep. I still really like the print so I took them out of the frames and cut off the border that was around them. I bought some blue cotton fabric for 25 cents at my local thrift store and a new shams started to be born. Initially, I was going to make pillows but I decided to make shams so that I could purchase pillow forms. That way as the pillows got yucky (that's a technical term), I can dispose of them and simply wash the shams. The plan is: once I get the print sewn onto the blue fabric, I'll put some lace or other trim around the image to clean up my cut lines. So far so good...
Thanks for stopping by!
I'm off to create ... something.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fabric and wood... lessons are good.

First, there's a little bit of an update. Do you recall the dog bed I made and posted on the last blog entry? Well, it turns out my dog, Jada, hates it! Yep, the fabric I used makes a funny noise and startles her when she starts to get onto the bed. So... I'll be chalking this up to yet another learning experience. It's all about learning, for me.

Onto other things. Last week I tried my hand at fabric painting for the first time. I tried fabric paints initially but realized I do not like them. They are too clumpy for my taste and it's hard to get the paint to flow smoothly. I quickly moved onto acrylic paints mixed with fabric medium. Here are my first projects.

The good news is that I was pretty happy with them overall.

The bad news? I ruined the Is It Shabbat Yet shirt! I was super angry with myself for ruining it!!! I washed the tshirt after a few days of letting the paint cure, and it looked great. However, when I put it in the dryer, the black paint smudged EVERYWHERE!!! As it turns out, I should have read the directions more thoroughly, as my Plaid brand textile medium required heat setting prior to washing and the label stated 'air dry only'. Another lesson learned! Read, woman, read!

I looked online for fabric painting pointers after my project was ruined and *several* blogs/sites advise one to cure the paint for up to 4 days, then heat set (it appears the iron is the easiest way to do it but there are other options) and let it cure again for up to 2 weeks. That seems like a really long time for an impatient gal like me, but considering how long it takes to paint the shirts it'll be time well spent. So I'll be heat setting the other two shirts, then resting them 2 weeks before I wash them. Wish me luck!

Want some extra cool tips1)
1) I used a Henna tattoo bottle filled with acrylic and fabric medium and it worked super well for making thin lines for letters and on the designs.
2) My designs started as very very loose sketches put onto the shirts with a Singer disappearing ink marker. I must admit I was a bit disappointed in how quickly the disappearing ink disappeared on the shirt and that it only gave me 3 shirts worth of designs before it died. The label stated it would last for up to 72 hrs. but it didn't last an hour at times. I'll be looking for another brand/type of pencil or marker to put my designs onto a shirt.

Next, some other projects I've been working on...

Here are some display shelves (for my sculpted and fabric dolls) I'm building with the wood I bought off Craiglist (CL). They are in need of a good sanding, primer and will be getting white paint to match the furniture in my office.

Yep, here's the desk I built from more of the CL wood I got from the scraps at the cabinet shop. It's unreal that I'm building all these things with $20 worth of wood. Cheap = Fabulous in my world!!!

Final piece all loaded up and ready for me to get to work. The blue boxes used to be another color and design but I used household primer and painted them blue to work better in my space. My office space primarily sage green, medium blue, soft/medium pink and white. Too bad the appliances are such an ugly black/gray... oh well.

Check out the secret cubbies in the back. They are perfect for seldom used programs I just can't get rid of yet.

This is the first desk I have ever built. I built it as I went along. No, I really didn't have a master plan. I just started building cubbies in the beginning; I actually thought I was going to make them as display shelves or for media in the livingroom. Then I realized those cubbies would make me a big girl desk on a budget. I had been looking for a desk I like, and that was in my budget, for months with no luck. My previous desk with a kid's desk I bought at auction for $3 but it just wasn't working for me. Suddenly, the plan came together to use the cubbies and scrap wood that had been in the garage for months. Magic! The best part? If I ever move, it's highly portable. Yep, I never screwed it all together so the shelves between the cubbies are not attached. The table top is not attached either, so it's totally portable but super stable and strong, too.

These are the cabinet shop scraps I started with before sanding them, adding wood glue, using countersink bits, and wood screws.

I'm off to create... something.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Using up scrap wood and other stuff - A Dog's Dream Bed

Today's project is a dog bed for Jada, my Dalmi.

Exterior fabric I bought long ago expecting to use it all on patio chairs. I had some left over so it was perfect for this project. The foam I used was a 2" foam mattress I cut down. Then I wrapped batting around the wood edges for extra cushion.

I bought these legs for $2 (along with about 12 more legs) at auction a few years ago. They are expandable/contractable for differing heights. As Jada gets older (she's around 6 yrs. old now but has a bad hip already) and her mobility decreases, I can lower the bed for her. It's at 17" now and is 48" from the corner to each end.

Scrap wood for supports

Leftovers from the roofing contractors - I'm not ashamed to say I pulled it out of the dumpster after they left for the day. Hey, it's good wood and wood is expensive. I knew I'd use it one day, I just didn't know what I'd use it for... until now.

The blog text should come first to lead you into an exciting project but this program won't allow me to move the photos around tonight, so I'm doing things in reverse.

I know it's been some time since I've blogged. That's because I've been dealing with fallen tree damage. The insurance company is still fighting us on the 2nd claim we were forced to file. Ugh. Hopefully it will be resolved soon; it's been since October 9, 2011!

However, I've managed to get some things moved around enough to get back to work, or play - it's all the same in my world. My goal for the week has been to use up a ton of scrap wood I have had in the garage for some time. I got most of the wood for free or at a very low cost, like $20 total for all of the cabinet grade wood used on my desk. It was my first big build ever (photos and info will be posted later given it's not completely painted yet) and I am super proud of myself for doing it all by myself! I admit I lucked out given all the pieces were already cut to the same size as they were a cabinet manufacturer's 'waste'.

Today I started another project. It still needs to be primed, painted and get some more fabric added to it but Jada's dog bed is nearly done. Yay me! The green padded cushion lifts off for storage underneathe it. I haven't decided if I want to put a wood faceplate on the front of it or create a dust ruffle like curtain to make it more feminine looking. I also plan to prime and paint it so it won't be bare wood.

What do you think of it so far?