Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Home Decor For Less That a Dollar- Acrylic Paint

Painted Wood Plaque
 We have all seen those bottles of colorful paint at Hobby Lobby or Walmart that cost about a dollar and admired the pretty colors. Next time you see them, pick up a few bottles. Even if painting is not your normal crafty medium, you can add a punch of color to your home decor for very little money, even if you are an amateur!

Remember, the shabby look is in; that means no worrying if the paint job is imperfect, rough, or chippy. In fact, there are many techniques that are popular right now that help you make your paint job look distressed and weathered. When selecting an item to paint, look at thrift stores and yard sales for inexpensive wood items and furniture. The shelf below took one bottle of paint to decorate. Buy multiple bottles or a larger size if you are planning a bigger project. Also keep in mind that acrylic is not good for outdoor objects. If you are painting, for example, patio furniture, look for weatherproof paint. Save the inexpensive craft paint for indoor items.

I like to scavenge for items to paint at secondhand shops and rummage sales, because I can find items for very little money to fix up and I don't have to worry if I mess up and ruin something expensive. Please beware of buying larger, more expensive items to paint- you might accidentally ruin an antique or something that is valuable with the original wood surface intact. I am not an expert in wood or antique objects, so I stick to painting small, inexpensive objects. Before painting wood furniture, I would recommend asking a knowledgeable person about the age and value of the object.

Shelf Before

Happy painting and don't forget to buy paintbrushes and a tarp to protect your painting area. Acrylic paint comes off your hands with soap and water. I like to use a gritty soap with coffee grounds, seeds, or sugar. Unfortunately, it doesn't come off clothes that easily, so wear a smock or apron and your work clothes.

Finally, remember to clean your object well before painting. You want to remove and dust and debris. This type of paint dries with a matte surface; however, you can buy a clear gloss top coat if you want a lustrous finish. I prefer the matte to get that understated cottage feel for my decor.

The 2 brands of paint I buy most are Apple Barrell and Folk Art brands. If you want to stamp designs over your wood with rubber stamps, use the ink brand Staz On. For outdoor projects, like a metal wagon I painted, I use Rust Oleum brand  spray paint from the hardware store.
Shelf After

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Decorating Clothing With Rubber Stamps

Hand Stamped Danskin Tshirt
Close Up Of Stamp
Yes, I have fallen head over heels in love with rubber stamps and all the artistic things to do with them. Here is my latest project, a hand stamped tshirt, and directions for doing it yourself. The only things you need are Fabrico ink, a rubber stamp, an iron, and clothing to stamp.

Fabrico brand ink and ink pads are available at all the major craft stores in the scrapbook supplies section. You can find it in many different colors and it also is good for stamping wood. This dye needs to be heat sealed with an iron to prevent fading from the material. Make sure to buy an extra bottle of ink with your ink pad- this project uses a lot more ink than stamping paper.

First, spread your tshirt flat and apply ink to the rubber stamp by gently pressing the stamp to the ink pad, until there is a thick, even coating on the stamp. You might want to have a practice piece of scrap fabric to test before stamping the clothing item. Now, stamp the impression onto the shirt. Make sure to let it dry a few minutes before doing the back. Fabrics absorb lots of ink, so you may need to re ink the pad often. After your work area and stamps are cleaned up, iron your creation and keep the heat over the stamped area for 30-45 seconds to seal the images. They will look slightly shiny after ironing.

Try stamping jeans or using multiple colors for some extra fun! You can even paint directly on fabric with Fabrico ink. Just make sure to iron and heat seal every project. Don't forget this ink works on wood as well.

Fabrico Ink For Rubber Stamps

Friday, March 23, 2012

How To Use Embossing Powder and Rubber Stamps

Greeting Card With Gold Embossing
Here is a greeting card embossed with a golden, sparkling globe that I made recently with my new Antique Gold embossing powder. I purchased the embossing powder for only 3.59 dollars; however, there were other accessories I needed to begin this project that cost about thirty dollars. The most expensive item is a heat gun, available at any hardware store and an embossing stamp pad.

To begin the project, open the embossing powder and have it ready- you need to work fast for the the next two steps. Then, select a rubber stamp of your choice and evenly coat the stamp, using your embossing ink pad. These ink pads can be clear or tinted, with the tinted variety easiest to use, since you can see where to apply the powder. Stamp your image onto the paper surface and, working quickly, sprinkle the loose embossing powder over the image so it is evenly coated.

Let the paper sit for about a minute for the powder to set. Now, shake off the excess powder into a tray and you will have what appears to be a glitter coated image. You want to be able to save the extra powder and put it back into the container to get the maximum lifespan for your supplies. The final and critical step for the project is to apply heat to the design, where the powder will be melted and completely bonded to the paper. In order to do this, you need to use the heat gun to expose the design to direct heat for about 20-30 seconds. Hold the heat gun about 10 inches from the paper and make sure that you do not overheat, or your paper will catch on fire. You may want to do this on aluminum foil in case of an accident. As you apply heat, the powder will become shiny. Remember, you can always heat the image again with the heat gun, so be very cautious to start and do not keep direct heat on the paper for long periods.

When the image becomes shiny, after 20-30 seconds, the embossing is complete. Remove the paper with the image from the heat gun area and let it cool down. Also, let your heat gun cool before storing it- the nozzle will be extremely hot! The directions I read to use the embossing powder said not to use a hair dryer, as it will not generate enough heat. Fortunately, I had a heat gun on hand that I use for my candles, and the technique worked beautifully!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18th Treasury Contest Winner, Liz K Zook

'Earthy Finds' by afteryourheartart

Flower brooch, fabric a...

deer print, woodland ea...

Live Moss Glass Hanging...

Sale - Leather Cuff Bra...

Lichen and moss eco res...

4" Moss Ball-Beaut...

ONE 20" Handmade M...

Modern Globe Manzanita ...

Money drawing charm and...

Preserved Roses, Hydran...

Ruffle Chiffon Flower s...

Ends of the Earth Silk ...

Earth Wreath - Green Ri...

Small Soldered Glass Te...

Artisan Handmade Earth ...

Wood Stacker Toy Wooden...

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Large Hole Beads: The Easiest Way To Make Jewelry

Large Hole Beads On A Snake Chain
Getting started with personalized jewelry couldn't be easier with using large hole beads. Also known as European style or by the brand names Pandora and Troll, these types of beads have large diameters and can be strung on special chains that have screw-off ends. Simply unscrew the end cap, place the beads you want on the chain, and screw the cap back on- anyone can do it!

Widely available at gift shops and jewelry supply stores, you will have no problem finding the chains and beads for sale. Many jewelers offer the brand name beads in birthstones and other special occasion themes. Unfortunately, most of the retail and brand name beads and chains are expensive. You can buy beads and accessories at craft stores or online from China, at a low price, but the brand name chains might be more durable. I have found no difference in quality between the brand name and craft store beads though, with the exception of the metal cores not being made of sterling silver. My preference is to buy the beads used, that way I can support small independent sellers that might need money. Ebay and Etsy are great places to search for used beads. Search for "destash beads" or look for lots of beads labeled, "Fits _____ Style Bracelets". There are also metal and charm beads available.

In Middle TN, I have seen the beads for sale at Reeves Sain pharmacy on Memorial. They also sell necklace and earring blanks for the beads. The average cost of one bead there is 6.00 dollars. Used bead prices range from fifty cents to about 3.00 dollars each bead, although you can score a real deal if you search the destash lots online. 

The End Is Removable

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How To Make Shabby, Fabric Ribbons

Wrapped Favor With Handmade Ribbon
Have some spare cloth and a rubber stamp? Well, then take five minutes and make some fashionable ribbons. Don't have these items? In that case, luck is on your side- plain muslin fabric and stamps are incredibly cheap. In fact, I got this the Eiffel Tower foam stamp block for 1.00 dollar at Michael's, and the cotton is free scraps leftover from a friend's sewing project. Any craft store or quiling supply should have a good rotary cutter for around 10.00. They are very sharp; be careful!

Simply lay out your cloth and use a stamp and ink to cover the muslin with images. Smaller stamps work better for this. You can use multiple stamps or colored inks. Then, take your rotary cutter, and cut the cloth into 1/3 inch wide strips. There you go!

Pile of Ribbons

Foam Stamp, Ink, Rotary Cutter, Dye Ink

Stamped Muslin Strip

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rockvale Art Barn- A Must-See Local Business, Serving The Art Community

Recently, I visited The Art Barn, an amazing haven for the arts and crafts in Middle Tennessee. It is a rustic home and studio where classes are offered and there is a wide variety of handmade goods and artwork for sale. It is run by the resident artist, Dawna and her husband, the "head engineer", Joe. There will be an outdoor fair and live music on March 31st; however, there is fresh coffee and tea available everyday- just make sure to leave a donation to support the arts! The Art Barn is located 10 minutes outside Murfreesboro, on New Salem Hwy. See this link below for directions, class schedules, and much more:

Dawna has 2 Etsy shops as well for purchasing her items online:

Now, let's get to the fun stuff and look at the homey interior and some of the arts and crafts available for sale! Please note that Dawna, the owner and artist in charge of The Art Barn, is the creator of many of the works below, but there are many other local artists represented.

The Art Barn Outside Murfreesboro

Look For The Metal Sculpture on New Salem Hwy.

A Variety of Classes Available
Churp Birdhouses

Polymer Clay Decorated Table
Ma Belle's Goat Milk Soap
Decorative Tray
Sewing Lesson Area
Girl In Ski Har
A Local Jewelry Artist, Mary Santos Bailey, Takes a Sewing Lesson
Old Bar From Bell Buckle With Complimentary Coffee
Fabric Owl
Handmade Wine Rack
Hats and Hair Accessories
A Work In Progress Upstairs in Dawna's Studio
Children's Mural on Storage Container

"The Poet"- A Painting Available For Sale

Portriat of Joe, Dawna's Husband

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's For The Birds...Errr, And The Squirrels! Get Your Spring Feeders Ready

Kitty Watches Nibbles at the Feeder

The weather is getting warmer and all the stores are putting out the gardening products and seeds- that means it is time to start thinking Spring! This short post is inspired by a window feeder I put out last week. I all ready had a visitor the next day, and one VERY happy kitty. Now, I am thinking of building  or assembling from a kit, a new, wooden feeder or birdhouse. There are plenty of designs to choose from; even ones that are supposed to thwart the squirrels (HA!). I think I am going to choose an unpainted one I saw at the hardware store and paint it. If you want to be adventurous, you can also find hummingbird feeders, squirrel snacker stations, and gourd birdhouses. Whatever you decide, start working on your project soon, to get ready for Spring.

Ktty Wants to Eat Nibbles