Sunday, June 21, 2015

I haven't lost my marbles yet...

I have LOTS of these glass half stones...
I bought them years ago to fill several glass vases and bowls around the house. I dumped them into this basket a short while later because I really didn't like the way they looked. We have a very eclectic decorating style here and the vases didn't blend with the look like I thought they might. But as per my usual, I refuse to throw stuff like this away. Sooner or later something will hit my brain and I can go through my craft closet and come up with some way to get where I want end up. ;)
I ended up here...

I started here...

And used this to get to where I wanted to be...

Our window in the kitchen and the french doors to the patio both have these small windows above the normal ones. I could never decide what to do with the windows due to where they sit and how long they are. They let a lot of light into our home so I really didn't want to put up traditional curtain panels (and I'm not very traditional like that). 
Once I started looking through my closet, I realized that I had a whole basket of these stones sitting around just waiting to be put to good use. I had all of the tools, wire and crimp beads on hand but needed to find a glass friendly glue that wouldn't come loose with the Florida sun. And you know what that means?? I just HAD to make a trip to JoAnn...for the glue you know...I didn't buy anything else...OK...well maybe I did but I'll save that for another time. (All I can say is thank goodness for an understanding hubby!)
So here's how I put it all together:
The window measures 71"W x 15"L. I spray painted an old spring rod with black spray paint so it would blend in with the window frame. (NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY...as soon as you do, you're gonna need it! I keep stuff in my craft room closet and de-clutter it probably twice a year.) I did open the rod to be longer than the 71" measurement just in case I was off with my measuring and I wanted to make sure that once I hung the rod there would be no brass color showing.
I cut the jewelry wire into roughly 24" strands to account for the wrapping and crimping the wire onto the rods. I tried gluing the stones directly onto the wire but the wire wouldn't lay flat on the back of the stones. Since the wire is steel it has a tendency to stay curled without some weight on it.  My next attempt came with the help of scotch tape. I taped the wire to the back of each stone and then placed glue in between the tape strips.
This worked like a charm! Yes it's time consuming but it's one of the mindless steps of a craft project that keeps us from having to concentrate too hard and you can watch tv at the same time ;)
The stones ended up looking like this:

I let the glue dry overnight and took the tape off the next day. I strung each strand onto the curtain rod and hung this one in our kitchen window.
They look really nice with the morning sun coming in the window and add just enough oomph without having to hang a full curtain and loosing all that light. The stones turned the window into a giant suncatcher that we really enjoy.
I still have to make one for over the back door. Lord knows I have lots of these stones to still use. I think next time I'll crimp the strands onto the rod before I glue the beads which will save a step in the end. It would also prevent any of the strands getting tangled up while drying. I didn't think about that until afterwords when I was trying lay out the color order and lengths. It could've prevented the rearranging of the strands and kept me in line with the lengths. I ended up trimming the wire after the rod was hung because I didn't want all of the strands the same length.
The strands range in length from 12-14-1/2" and I used a total of 19 strands. I think the other window could use a few more strands. 
I do suggest that you periodically check the weight of the strands on your rod in the window. Every 3-4 strands I hung on the rod, I placed the rod back in the window. I didn't want the rod to fall and I wasn't sure how much weight the spring rod would be able to hold. Since we have tile floors in the main living areas of our home, if the rod falls...glass would be flying...not good...not good at all...

My fence project was published here - http://diyready.com/fence-with-mason-jar-lights/ They have some really cool projects on the site!


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Change up your dog collar!

I made a collar for Penny a while back that looked like this

The hardware and instructions came from Country Brook Design. They carry everything you need to make collars, leashes, etc. 
My daughter suggested trying to make an inter-changeable collar. After giving it lots of thought, I bought some 1" black webbing and 2 rolls of 7/8" ribbon. I made the collar base using the instructions from Country Brook but added velcro in 3 spots on the collar, one on either end and one in the middle. I sewed 2 pieces of velcro at either end and one in the middle. I cut the ribbon to the length adding about 1/2" to each end to turn under and add the velcro. The one attached to the collar in the photo below matches her new coat ;)
Here's a photo of the first two "covers" that I've made. I also have a purple tiger print for football season too! Making the collar this way will not only save me money but will also allow Penny to have "party collars" just like I have my "party glasses". (I have a glass for almost every occasion and love them!)
These are incredibly easy to make and will save a TON of money!
A huge "thank you" to my daughter for the idea!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Penny's coat

The weather here in Florida is normally warm. Once in a while we catch up with some of the other Southern states with cold temps. When we adopted Penny we realized that she didn't like the cold. I HATE being cold...so does Penny. So I started looking for a coat pattern. I lucked into the instructions for measurements on Pinterest here http://www.sewdoggystyle.com/2012/09/diy-pet-coat-pattern.html. The worst part of this whole process was trying to get a 65lb boxer to stand up still while I measured and tried to fit the coat as I sewed. I used some flannel with some thin batting in between so the coat wasn't too hot but would be enough to keep her happy outside. (And yes, she has a matching collar!)
This is also the first time I tried free motion quilting. Man...I need to practice that one a LOT more! But over all the coat turned out well. I quilted around each heart and used velcro for closures so if she happens to catch the coat on something, it will come off fairly easily without hurting her.

Here's a couple of close ups of the stitching.


And I did figure out a way to make interchangeable collar covers. I made one collar with the hardware and so far we have 3 covers. One that matches this coat and 2 for football season! Pics soon to come!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Me and the fence post

My hubby says I have a problem with clutter...maybe...maybe not. This time he said he was wrong! ;)  I found this piece of picket fence in our "back forty" as we call part of our yard. I brushed it off and kept it on the porch for weeks while I tried to work out in my head exactly how I needed to go about getting where I wanted to be. Sometimes the ideas come right away and sometimes not...

 Here's what I used to get to my end result:
I found the wicks and glass holders for the mason jars here http://putitinajar.com/store/. They have just about everything I could think of that I might want to convert any mason jars laying around the house. They even have conversion kits for wine bottles!
The fence section originally had 6 pickets but I had only ordered 5 wicks and holders. Soooo while the hubby was gone, I pulled out the circular saw and cut one of the pickets off. (First time using the saw and will definitely be doing it again! How come men don't tell you it's fun?) Then I measured the spaces for the jars. And my version of measuring is normally eyeballing it, laying a string (ok I used my tablet cord to string across the boards) and marking dots with a Sharpie marker. Then I pulled out the power drill (first time for that too and just as much fun!) and drilled a hole in each picket.
Once the holes were wide enough for the zip ties I started on the jars. I bought 5 pipe hangers that were 3-1/2" each to attach to each jar. I filled each jar with some children's play sand and some shells I had from the Charleston beaches. I added some glass beachy charms on wire around the neck of each jar. Once that part was finished, I attached the pipe hangers to the fence with the zip ties, screwed the hangers to the lids of the jars making sure to tighten the screws so they stayed put. I added oil to each jar and then screwed the jars to the lids. 
Here's a photo with 2 jars completed and the other 3 hangers attached.
And a close up of one jar


Here's the completed fence section lit with one of my coffee can lights. Start to finish, it really only took me about an afternoon. I love that it wasn't something that I had to stop and come back to because of time.
 I'm trying to come up with a way to attach hangers on the back for "legs". That way, I could move it out into the yard depending on the nights we in the yard versus on the porch. It would also make it a little safer for the porch. Right now it's just leaning against the wall. I was thinking about maybe those old fashioned drawer pulls that are coming back in style or maybe I could find some hinges that would work. Maybe I need to go wander the hardware store.
I think that it turned out very nicely for one of my "winging it" projects. And the hubby now understands a little better my obsession with "NO...don't throw that away yet!"

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I finished lots of stuff this weekend!!

Here's a pic of one of the completed tile photos. They're both now dry, framed and ready to gift! I hope they like them and hopefully, they will be a great remembrance of pets that have become necessary family members for both my niece and our friend.
(My apologies for the photo...I'm not good at that part and my sister who is lives in SC while I'm in FL. Go figure!  :)  Maybe one day I'll figure it out and they'll get better for you.)

I also finished Penny's coat (now that's been hitting the mid 80's here. Thanks to my hubby to explaining that part to me yesterday after the coat was finished. But I'm hoping for one more chilly day so she can wear it at least once.) along with a new collar that now includes the ability to change her look without owning 25 collars. I love this idea and many thanks to my daughter, Emy, for the idea. She is creative in her own right but on a way different level than I am. One day I'll walk around the house and take some photos of her work and post them for you. 
Pictures and instructions for the collar and blanket to come later...maybe even good photos!


Friday, March 13, 2015

Tile photos

One of our friends has a rescue dog that has been diagnosed with cancer...actually, they have two rescues...one for her and one for him :)   They have been driving him to chemo once a week for treatment and spend a lot of time with him. I thought that it would be nice to give him a remembrance photo for him that would be, hopefully, just as special for him later as Chi (the dog) is now. I hope he likes it!
I'm going to try to explain the process but if you have any questions, let me know and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
I start these with a black and white photo that has been re-sized to 8" x 8". The photo is then cut into 4 4" pieces. With paper formula ModPodge, I glue each 4" square to a piece of ceramic tile from the home improvement big box store. These tiles usually run less than 25 cents each so keep a stack on hand...you never know. And this really is one of those projects that never fails to come out perfectly every time as long as you measure and cut the 4" squares carefully to begin with.
So...here's what I started with:
I converted the file to a black and white photo in Microsoft Word. I guess you could use Photoshop or something else more "serious" but this project is easy and Photoshop makes my head hurt trying to figure out all of the tools.
Once your photo is printed (I use my regular inkjet printer), cut the photo into 4" squares. This part is important because the tiles come 4-1/2" x 4-1/2". You need that 1/4" inch overhang on each side to make the tiles look nice.
I cleaned each tile with alcohol to make sure the store dust and body oils are gone. (This prevents any issues with the glue later.) I used a sponge brush to spread the ModPodge onto one tile at a time and place each piece of the photo into place. If you make any mistakes, like laying down your photo squares crooked, now is the time to correct it. You can run the tile under running water and the paper and glue will wash off and you can start over once the tile is completely dry. BUT remember these tiles are ceramic and they won't dry right away. I have reused them in the past to correct errors but like I said, you have to allow for the water to dry before trying again. And you also have to print a new photo ;)
The ModPodge needs to dry for at least two hours before you go on to the next step. Once the tile is dry, you start adding top layers of the ModPodge. My personal preference is 3-4 coats. I think that it helps smooth out any bubbles you may have missed and will make sure that the photo is completely adhered to the tile. If the top layers aren't heavy enough you may run into an issue with the paper trying to "lift" off the tile. Now...ask me how I know this!
And this is what you will end up with at this point:
I love these photos done this way! Once the tiles are fully dry, use a shadow box type frame for the tiles. I normally buy mine at Michaels...the kind with the black velvet background when they're on sale and I have a coupon ;) I use E6000 glue to adhere the tiles to the velvet and place something heavy on top of the tiles to hold them down. (This is why it's important to let the photo completely dry before going on to this step.) I've tried letting them dry on their own and the glue and tiles are happiest with a book on top until the glue dries....it squishes the glue into all the spaces on the back of the tile. I've made 3 or 4 of these (including a sonogram photo for my daughter) and as long as I don't rush the drying time, no problem! They hang on the wall beautifully without any worries about the tiles coming unglued.  These can be made in a day including overnight drying time if you start first thing in the morning and are careful. So they would also make a great (and I'm told very impressive) last minute gift for someone special.
This is one I've started for one of my nieces. She introduced us to our rescue, Penny, who is an absolute joy to have around and I thought it would make a great thank you. 
Those are her dogs and she does some incredible agility training with them. She also works at a vet's office as a tech and does animal rehab work as well!
I should have both of these framed tomorrow and will try to remember to post pictures of the finished projects then.
Here's the very first one I tried. I made it as a surprise for my husband on his birthday several years ago. It's a photo of the clock tower at Clemson that I took on one of our many trips up there. (He's a die hard Clemson fan.) The only difference between this first one and the ones after is I figured out that I didn't have to go through all of the trouble of tissue paper fighting with my printer...regular printer paper works just fine. The original directions using tissue paper can be found on instructables.com. The tissue paper is a BEAR to get through the printer. You need to add double stick tape to the tissue paper, stick it to the printer and pray really hard that nothing goes wrong. If the tissue isn't taped down absolutely correctly, it will tear and lead to many curse words being uttered!




Thursday, February 5, 2015

Marbles are not just for the kids!

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/e3/96/5b/e3965bab10e0c694dbccbda897540d69.jpg

I have this frame sitting on the night table in our guest bedroom. It was made with some leftover glass marbles and a simple glass frame. I used:
E6000 glue (LOVE this stuff!!)
Glass frame
Glass marbles/stones from the dollar store left over from other projects

I started by cleaning the glass to remove any oils and/or finger prints. I did a practice run to make sure I was happy with the design before I started gluing. Once you have your design in place, DON'T REMOVE THE GLASS STONES! You can glue them down one at a time as they lay on the glass. This stopped me from having pieces rolling everywhere as well as forgetting where I originally had them placed.
I used the E6000 on each piece of glass and kept the frame flat on the table while I waited on the glue to dry. I left the frame flat on the table overnight (min. 24 hrs for dry time). I "shook" the frame the next day to make sure everything was secure before I really stood the frame up.
I haven't hung this...the frame came with one of those stick posts that allows you to stand the frame up and still see through the glass. I'm not sure I would hang this on the wall due to the weight of the frame and glass but it looks great on the bedside table when the light shines through it.