Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The First Cuts

My new Cameo arrived on Monday. Darin didn't want me to open it. Something about it being a Christmas present and I couldn't play with it until then? I don't know. Anyway, I've been experimenting with it and am pleased as pop (is my family the only one that uses that expression?) with it.  See, happiness ->  :)

Yesterday I used it to finish a project that I have been stewing over for a while. I saw this at Ikea and was totally inspired. I decided to do my own version for my little sister for Christmas.
After figuring out how the Silhouette Studio software works (which you can download for free here, by the way), I put together this little number in barely anytime at all. A little cardstock; a sheet of patterned pink, scrapbook paper; a $6 scrapbook frame from Walmart; and I was in business. Not bad for a first project.

When I first conceived this idea two months ago, I was planning on doing a simpler design and cutting it by hand. I am so glad I waited! I was able to get so many intricate details with the Silhouette Cameo and it is so pretty! I especially love how the fairy's wings turned out. I really hope my sister likes it. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Perpetual Birthday Calendar

My hubby and I were talking to his sister last night, and we got on the subject of birthdays. It dawned on me when she mentioned that her husband's birthday is coming up, that I need a birthday calendar.

I thought about designing my own, but why do that when there are plenty of cute ones out there that I can download for free? I have other things to do with my time today than spend hours deciding on a scheme, searching for clip art, and designing my own calendar.

After a quick Google image search for "perpetual birthday calendar free," I settled on this calendar by Elephantshoe Stationery Studios at The Pretty Blog.

After printing on cardstock and cutting with my Fiskars paper trimmer, I decided to hang it on the wall next to my calendar (so I don't lose it). I used a small hole-punch to--you guessed it--punch a small hole at the top of each page. To keep things simple, I chose to hang the pages on a small nail. At the beginning of every month I'm going to have to take all twelve pages down to rotate to the new month, but it's a small price to pay since I am doing this on the cheap and not having my calendar spiral bound.

Super easy and the whole project probably took no more than half an hour! Love it! Now to track down all of those birthdays and fill it in...

Are you in need of a perpetual birthday calendar? Got any super simple paper projects in the works?

PS. In case you are wondering, I cut one page then used it as a guide to cut the other eleven so that they would all be the same size. Then I used a scrap of cardstock as a template to ensure that all of the punched holes would line up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quick and Pretty Dollar Store Project

I've been preoccupied lately with making file folder games for my toddler, but I did squeeze in this little project.

I bought a little vase and candlestick on my last trip to Dollar Tree. I had already purchased the Glass Bond for another project (I looked for E6000, which seems to be the most popular adhesive for projects like this, but I think my Hobby Lobby was sold out), so I would say that the grand total for this project was $2.

I simply adhered the vase to the candlestick, following the directions on the Glass Bond. It was so simple, but I think the finished product is quite pretty. Of course I'm a sucker for clear glass.

I'm excited by how versatile this little piece is. It's not very large, but I can use it as a vase for a small bunch of flowers, a votive candle holder, a candy dish, or serve plastic silverware or condiments out of it at a party.

Have any quick and inexpensive projects you've been working on? Any guesses for what I'm going to fill it with for the holidays? (I don't know the answer myself, but I'm looking forward to discovering it!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

One More Thing for the Wall

By now you are probably all sick of reading about my gallery wall, but I did have one more project in the works that I decided to finish after posting about the wall. It is now finished and hung with all the others.

It all started, like so many things, with Pintrest. I saw this and completely fell in love.

It's black, it's shiny, it's contemporary, and it sparkles. Basically, it's everything that I love in decor.

I had a necklace rack that I made about fifteen years ago, with my mom's help, that I wanted to repurpose as wall art. I had incorporated it in the original gallery wall layout, but didn't know how I wanted to decorate it. After seeing this centerpiece, I decided to do an interpretation of it on my old necklace rack.

I started by purchasing a length of crystal garland, some large crystal drops, jewelry chain, and a package of jumprings.

I attached the large drops to sections of the crystal garland and chain (this will make a lot more sense in pictures below), and I spray painted the necklace rack with black gloss spray paint left over from the canvas piece I did a couple of weeks ago. Once the paint was dry, I attached the lengths of crystal with jumprings.

It was looking mighty fine at this point, but was still a bit plain. I decided to try something that I had been pondering and Google searched about. I decided to try using contact paper to add some text to the piece. Ideally I would have used vinyl, but I'm working with what I got.

After settling on a font and size, I printed the word "Family" and taped it to my self-healing mat on top of a piece of white contact paper (also known as adhesive shelf liner). Then I got to work with my craft knife. (Have I mentioned that I want a Silhouette?)

After cutting out each letter, I tried a tip I had read about in blog land--using drywall tape in lieu of transfer tape. I cut a length of drywall tape and placed it over my whole cut piece, then carefully removed the pieces I didn't want (the outside pieces, if you will) so that the letters will still lined up straight. I flipped the whole thing over and removed the backing to expose the sticky side of the contact paper.

I stuck the whole thing on my painted former-necklace rack and thoroughly rubbed the whole thing to make sure it was good and stuck. Then carefully peeled back the drywall tape, making sure that I didn't pull up any contact paper with it, rubbed the letters again for good measure, and stepped back to admire my work.

I think it actually turned out very well. You can't even tell it isn't vinyl from a distance.

And with it hung on the wall as it is, no one is likely to take a close look at it; just stand there and admire it. Oh, am I the only one who does that?

Anyone have some brilliant (and cheaper) alternatives they would like to share? Any new crafts that you sit back and lovingly admire? Have you been inspired lately to reinterpret something you have seen and love to fit your needs?

PS. This project was updated on 1/13/2012 at Updates to "The Wall" with Cameo.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Let It Snow! Coffee Filter Snowflake Tutorial

Is it too early to be thinking about Christmas? Absolutely not! But this post isn't about that. This post is about the fact that I have 200+ coffee filters cluttering up my space. They need to get out of the plastic bag I corralled them in and start doing something useful!

While skimming along in blog-land trying to find a use for these freeloaders, I noticed that quite a few people making the most extraordinary things from coffee filters--flowers, wreathes, bats, spiderwebs, and snowflakes. I, like you, thought it was too early to start making snowflakes; then I thought about the sheer number of coffee filters I have, waiting to be used. I quickly changed my mind. If I start now I might be done by December (or January).

Here's how I do it:
Step 1: Fold & Cut
Fold the coffee filter into twelfths (for a six pointed snowflake), then channel your inner kindergartner and cut those snowflakes! (The one I cut here was supposed to look like a spider web in honor of Halloween; but I didn't like how it turned out, so I didn't post about this back in October.)

Step 2: Starch
... and Dry
I wanted to give my snowflakes a little stiffness since coffee filters are the weight of heavy tissue paper, so I sprayed them with heavy starch and let them air dry on an old towel.

Step 3: Iron
You may notice that the snowflakes look a bit crumpled after being starched. Once they are dry, iron them flat. I used a medium-high setting on my iron. (Tip: Be careful not to accidentally fold over a piece and iron it down. I almost did this a lot.)

And here is the finished product!

At this point, you are free to put them wherever you like--on a window, the inside of a vase, taped on a package, under a clear glass cookie or pie plate. Wherever your imagination leads you!

I chose to tape mine to the wall.

I find it very fun and festive. And it's fascinating to me to see how many different patterns I can come up with!

Have you been channeling your inner kindergartner lately? Are you gearing up for some winter festivities? Have any Christmas decorating plans in the works?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

For Christmas this year I would like a Silhouette CAMEO.

It is a fantastic personal cutting machine that will slice through anything from vinyl to fabric. The best part? No cartridges! I can choose to either download images from Silhouette's online library, or I can design my own patterns! I can even print out an image then cut it out. Not to mention that I can import any font on my computer into the Silhouette software. The design possibilities are endless!

Thanks for understanding, Santa.

Love, Heather

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gallery Wall: Part 6, The Big Reveal!

Yay! Not only am I finally getting around to the big reveal, but I can also cross this one off my to do list now!

So before getting on to the juicy goods, let's take a moment to remember how the wall going up the stairs used to look.

Yeah, pretty bor-- *yawn* ZZZzzz...

Huh? Oh, sorry. I must have dozed off there. Yeah, as I was saying. Pretty boring.

And now... Behold! The gallery wall in all of it's finished close enough glory!

A home is a work in progress. A gallery wall is an extreme example of that.

I plan to add to it over the years.

There is still plenty of wall before I reach the ceiling! (Even then, I'm sure I could start branching out on the adjoining wall.) Yay! Happiness. :)

Anyone inspired to try their own yet? Good luck, my fellow peeps with blanks walls!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Let Them Eat Pie

I don't know why, but now that our Stake Conference is over, I'm ready to dive into Thanksgiving and Christmas. Weird, but there it is.

In that spirit, I saw this on younghouselove.com a few minutes ago, and it reminded me of a particular holiday.

Years ago, we were having Thanksgiving (or Christmas, I forget now) at my Grandma's house. The bird wasn't done yet and everyone was hungry, so Grandma declared that we were going to eat pie before dinner. It was the stuff of legend. I would like to make it a tradition. (Honestly, who wouldn't want to make it a tradition?)

When I saw this, it reminded me of that holiday. I am totally inspired to make a similar poster for my grandmother that reads "let them EAT PIE".

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Random Ramblings

So I spend all this time on the wall going up the stairs, and now that it is near enough to being done that I can finally close out my "Gallery Wall" series, I am too burned out to take the stinkin' pictures and post about it! (Life is so unfair.) Perhaps I'll summon the willpower to do it tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gallery Wall: Part 5, Canvas Art II

As mentioned in part 1 of the post, this project is taking way longer than it should. What can you do?

As you recall, we left our brave little canvas at Step 9: Apply the First Layer of Paint. Our hero endured it well, and we join the canvas now at Step 10...

Step 10: Apply Second Layer of Cut Masking
(Continue to use the large sheet of cut wax paper as a guide.)
Step 11: Apply Second Layer of Paint
(You'll notice that I propped the canvas up on a box so that
I could paint the edges, too.)
Step 12: Remove Masking
(This is my favorite part. Let the paint dry to the touch,
usually at least 20 minutes, then carefully peel off all of
the masking.)
Step 13: Stand Back and Admire!
For all of you lovely people out there who might be wondering about the paints, I used Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch in Flat Black for the base undercoat (step 9a), Rust-Oleum Metallic in Titanium Silver for the base coat (step 9b), and Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch in Gloss Black for the Top Coat (step 11). If I were to do it over again, I would only use the flat black. It's a little too shiny with the gloss. Oh well. Live and learn! The metallic silver came out really nice. :)

So, what do you think? I'm quite pleased with it myself. I can't believe it took four days to finish! ...until I think about all of the interruptions I had to deal with (thanks, boys), then I totally believe it. Do you ever have projects that take much longer than you think they will? Do you have too much short help in your life? Are you totally inspired to try your own DIY canvas wall decor? (Probably not, right? lol.)

Have a good one and happy crafting!

Psst... if all goes well, we might have some full wall shots tomorrow!

Gallery Wall: Part 5, Canvas Art I

You might want to grab a blanket and a nice cup of tea. (I prefer peppermint or raspberry, myself.) It's cold and this could take a while.

I had an idea for a piece of wall art for the gallery wall. It went something like this.

Easy, right? Just some text and a tree. No, not easy. We are on day three now and it still isn't done! There are two hurdles that it making this project take so long. (Three, if you count the children and other life stuff like sleeping. Whatever.) First, the scale of this project is on the big size. I am making it on a 16"x20" canvas that I had in the craft supplies corner of my closet. I would say that's bigger than a bread box. Second, I do not have a Silhouette CAMEO. Oh, how I want one! But that is beside the issue here. Since I do not have a nifty cutting machine, I am cutting out masking for the design and painting this project in layers. Can you say time consuming? Yes, this method takes a while, but one does what one has to with the products on hand.

This is what I got so far.

Step 1: Make a Template
(Yes, I used Excel. It is a surprisingly useful program.)
Step 2: Print and Outline
Step 3: Tape Template Pieces Together
Step 4: Cover with Wax Paper and Retrace Outline
Step 5: Mask Template
Cover everything you just traced onto the wax paper with
masking tape. Just so we are clear, you are applying masking
tape to the wax paper, not the plain paper template.
Step 6: Turn Masked Wax Paper Over, Get Comfortable,
Start Cutting
(For detailed work, I recommend using a craft knife and laying
your project on a self-healing cutting mat or some sort of
protective surface. When working on a less detailed project,
scissors work just fine.)
Step 7: Carefully Lay Cut Masking Right-Side-Up on Canvas
Step 8: Apply Cut Masking to Canvas
(Carefully pick up each cut piece, remove the wax paper
backing--your craft knife can be helpful for this--, and apply it
to the canvas using the full piece of wax paper as a guide. Be
careful not to  move the wax paper as you work so that
everything comes out straight!)
Step 9: Apply First Layer of Paint
(Here I first did a layer of black spray paint...)
(...followed by a layer of silver spray paint. I once heard a tip
about putting down a layer of black before silver to help the
silver finish look right. I thought I would try it.)
So that's where I am with this project. I was hoping to have it done for this morning's blog post, but I suppose this will just have to be a two-parter. :(

Stay tuned!

PS. You can find the rest of this tutorial here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gallery Wall: Part 4, Anniversary Calendar

I had an empty 8"x10" matted to a 5"x7" hanging on my wall without any idea what I was going to put in it. Then a few days ago, as I was traipsing along on Pintrest, I saw this:

What an interesting and unique way to display a special date! I had initially assumed that I would make something like "Nelson, Est. 2005" as we have seen so many times. I actually like those and wanted one, but I already had our family name represented on the wall and I didn't want to over do it. But with this calendar, I could take down two birds with one stone. Brilliant!

I got to work on my computer designing how this calendar would look. First off, let me say that deciding on a "perfect" design is a pain and hardly ever happens. This would be one of those times that I settled for "good enough." Second, I really wish that my printer was calibrated to my screen.

Anyway, after toying around with a few different options, I landed on this design.

After printing it out, I turned my attention to phase two--framing it.

The biggest thorn in my side about the calendar that I had designed was that it had no pattern. Ugh! But I wasn't willing to put in the extra effort to try to add some, so the pattern came into play in the mat. Inspiration at its finest here, folks. (Seriously, it's not me. After mauling over a problem for a while, ideas just pop into my head. I take no credit for them.)

I pulled out a piece of patterned cardstock (that I had initially intended to use for a background when framing Darin's Eagle, but had decided against) and cut it to the dimensions of the afore mentioned mat. Then I cut the inner rectangle slightly larger than the mat's opening. For a little artistic definition, I traced along the inside edge of the opening with a black marker. Patterned top mat: done.

Finally, I taped all of the layers in place and slipped the whole thing into the frame, and voilĂ . Here is the finished product.

Do you have another idea for a creative way to display a date? Are you longing for a "Family, Est. <Year>" sign? Do quirky ideas pop into your head from time to time?

PS. This project was updated on 1/13/2012 at Updates to "The Wall" with Cameo.