Saturday, February 23, 2013

Faux encaustic mobiles

These mobiles (for lack of a better word) were inspired by an "encaustics on the cheap" class I took a few weeks ago. Instead of using wax or resin, I used Utee (ultra thick embossing enamel) powder to coat them with.

And since I can't figure out how to add labels to my photos using my iPad, I will not add the pics and tutorial I had planned.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Paint Swatch Paper Balls

 Want to make some paper balls out of paint swatches? They're totally free, & oh, so cheerful!

I saw these in a magazine called MADE (that I'm pretty sure isn't even in production anymore) years and years ago. I made a couple years and years ago and they've just been sitting around my house. I came across them the other day and decided do something with them and make more When I make enough I'm going to make them into a mobile to hang in my daughters room somewhere to cheer up a dull corner. (I'll make that tutorial when I get to making that mobile)

Aren't these fun?

Want to make some? Here's what you'll need:

  • scissors
  • paint swatches: depending on the size ball you'll need 3 or 4, maybe get 5 or 6 to be safe. These are free at any store that sells paint. I got mine at home depot, I also bought a couple gallons of paint though so I don't feel as guilty for taking so many.
  • x-acto knife (Sorry, I have no idea how to spell that)
  • something round to trace. Note the smaller your item is the smaller the ball is & the more difficult of is to make & keep together. I prefer a silver dollar or babyfood jar lid. The smallest I'd go is a half dollar size. I tried to make a tiny one with a quarter and I got mad, frustrated and quit.
  • glue stick
  • ruler
  • paper clips (not shown in picture)
Ok, let get to work. First pick out your paint swatches you want to use......pick a color. Paint swatches are perfect because they give you perfect color combinations. I suppose you could use a card stock if you want with a design on it, I haven't tried that, but it has to be thick & you'll see why later.

In this tutorial I used photos from 2 different balls. Trace out 21 circles on the BACK of the paint swatches. Depending on the size of the object you're tracing you'll need more or less swatches : Half dollar = 2 or 3, baby food jar lid = 4 or 5. After traced, cut them out. Just grab a bunch, nothing worse then not having enough of what you need.
Ok. here's a slightly tricky part. Not tricky, but precise. You need to pic a sacrificial circle and make an equilateral triangle on it. As in, it has to be equal length on all 3 sides and it has to fit perfectly in your circle. This is really important so take your time and do it right. It it's not right, it will throw off your whole ball.
Use a ruler!

Now trace this onto the backs of all 20 circles. Next, you're going to pull out your x-acto knife and your ruler. Put your ruler along the lines you just drew and you're going to slice down along the lines against the ruler. IMPORTANT: DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH!!!!! You're only cutting it a little tiny bit, so don't push hard. You're not cutting it off, just slicing into it about 1/2 way or through the 1st layer of the paint swatch. This is why the paper has to be thick.
 See how I didn't cut all the way through? Fold up each side of the triangle so it folds up sharply.
            (ignore my finglernail polish...I was painting and I'm messy)
Soon you'll have 20 of these cute little guys. Only sliced on the back side and folded up toward the colored side so it's a nice sharp fold.

 Time for assembly!!!! Pick you're first triangle and glue one side of it to one side of anothe one. Like this...

Keep  doing that until you have a circle of 5. Do this twice, one for the top or the ball, one for the bottom.

TIP: As you glue them together, put a paper clip on there to hold it in place until it sets up and it keeps it from sliding around as you assemble the rest. You want these to stay where your put them. Paper clips work awesome.

The next 2 steps didn't get good photos of because, well I don't know why. It was just hard I guess. They weren't working out to show anything helpful so I ommited them.

Flip one of those puppies upside down so you see the inside. You're going to glue one row at a time. There's only 2 rows so don't panic. You see the flap that's asking for glue? Hint: It's the only one that hasn't been glued yet. The same on all 5 pieces there. Glue a new piece to each one of those flaps. Thats 5 new pieces. They will all be glued so the top of the triangle is pointing up. It will look like you're original base has 5 spikes sticking up.

Once you've glued those 5 pieces in place and paper clipped them snug you're going to do the next row. It's easiest to glue 2 sides of the new piece and stick it in between each spike. So these pieces are pointing down and are flat on top.

Hopefully this picture helps. You see how they are alternating up & down triangles? Do all the ups first (row 1) and then add in all the downs inbetween all the ups (row 2) Geez, I hope this makes sense. Sounds confusing, but it's really really not!

You're end result is 5 flat pieces on top waiting for that last big, already assembled piece to pop right on top.

 So grab that remaining original piece you glued together in the beginning. put glue on all 5 flat sides that are exposed and stick it to the ball. Paper clip in place and admire it!

 These are easy, inexpensive, and once you get the hang of it fairly quick. I can whip one up in a nap time now. Set them in a bowl, put them in big vases, hang them with fishing string, whatever! I wouldn't exactly let my kids play with them, they are just paper & glue afterall.

I hope this wan't too confusing . Just try it. As you start glueing it's much easier to see how they fit into place. Try it! You'll like it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

My DIY Tufted King Headboard

Yes! I finally made my headboard!  

Last summer, the hubster and I decided to upgrade our bed. Thankfully because of a great sale, we were able to purchase a king size bed! (Which is awesome because now when the kiddo's sneak into the bed in the middle of the night, it's not so cramped in here.)  However, that meant that we had to get rid of our previous, well loved, and adorable headboard/footboard combo.  Thus began my quest for my next piece.  I decided that I would have to make a headboard once I saw how freaking expensive king size headboards are....I mean really!  I've been searching for a LONG time....if you follow me on Pinterest, you know.   

I was going to make a door headboard, but the catch is, the way my walls/windows/closets are placed, the best placement for the bed (in my opinion ofcourse) is angled in the corner. It just seemed like a wasted area behind. I don't know.  I really like the bed in the corner, but every tutorial I came across was for the headboard no matter what it is made from, to be mounted on or just simply leaned against the wall.  All is well and good, except that didn't work for me. Bummer.  And I was sick of the pillows constantly falling off the end of the bed. Time to get my own wheels going.... 

After exploring blog after blog, pin after pin, and sorting through all of the amazing ideas out there, I finally settled on making a tufted headboard.  I came across this blog (Little Green Notebook) that was highly recommended and had the clearest instructions.  

I can totally do this.  

Here's my journey: 
We were already tearing the room apart when I decided "Wait! I've got to get a before shot!" So my room doesn't always look like this! Eh....who am I kidding....
When I decided that I wanted to tuft a headboard, I needed a frame to mount it on since it's going to be in a corner.  I am always one for practical, additional storage, so I really wanted to make a trip to IKEA to buy another of this amazing shelving unit that I have for fabric storage.  It would be perfect! Except IKEA is 3 hours away and I don't have a truck.  We ended up going to Home Depot and purchasing 4 of these cubed storage units and bolting them together securely and then using several L brackets and bolts and all that to mount it securely to the bed. (In all honestly, I'm not sure how it got hooked onto the bed frame exactly since my DH did that part while I entertained the kids...that is AFTER they helped us build the cubes. Ha!) 

Okay. Now on to the really fun part!
My pictures and steps are hit and miss because I get into the zone and forget to take pictures.  Refer back to the blog I mentioned above for the missing pieces! 

I measured the bed (72" I think) and went to JoAnns and bought some:
3" thick green foam (I bought a few inches extra because I was afraid of mis-measuring), some cotton quilt batting, fabric, a long dolling needle, upholstry thread,  and a few buttons to cover.  I wanted it nice and tufted and cushy, so I wouldn't do anything less than 3" foam.  

I then sent the DH to Home Depot for staples for our staple gun and a piece of pegboard that matched the width and length of the piece of foam - and the associate there cut it just right!  

I collected my supplies for the first step:  The pegboard, the foam, a measuring tape, chalk, a sharpie, a paring knife, and some spray adhesive. 

1 - Find the center of the board and circle it with chalk. then measure out evenly to the spacing that you like.  I wanted a lot of tufting, so I did them sorta close as you can see.  
2 - Continue evenly spacing your circles out all over the pegboard visualizing where your buttons will be. 
3 - Lay your pegboard directly on top of the foam making sure it is squared up on all sides.  Then grab your marker and mark the foam at all of the circled holes and you should have marks left like pictured in picture 4

The next step is one I forgot to take pictures of and I definitely recommend bouncing over to the Little Green Notebook.  You're going to dig out the foam at the marker points to make a little hole making easier and prettier tufts.  I just kinda stuck the knife in, twisted it around, and pulled the foam out.  I realize now that I made mine a little too big because my buttons went in a lot further than what I would have preferred, but it's still really cool none-the-less. I think that if you are not doing multi-colored fabrics, but rather buttons of the same fabric as your headboard, the depth of the holes wouldn't be a big deal. I don't have a solution here. 

Once my holes were all cut out, I went outside (well, to the garage - it's a wet and cold winter in the northeast!) with the foam, pegboard, and spray adhesive and stuck my two pieces together being as sure as I could that I'm lining up the holes correctly.  (This part was the hardest for me and I have NO idea why.) 

Once it is dried according to the directions on the can, carry that puppy inside and wrap and staple down your cotton batting over top of the green foam. 

I then gathered my button making supplies and set to making all 43 covered buttons.  I actually made more since I was complicating beautifying things by making my buttons out of lots of different fabrics.  I had buttons leftover from a previous project, so thankfully I didn't have to buy a lot at JoAnns.  I recommend purchasing in bulk rather than buying small packages (that can really add up).

Finished buttons!! 

When finished, I laid out the buttons in the order that I wanted them.  I had to balance out three rows of 9 and two rows of eight buttons. It's trickier than you think! Thankfully I covered a few extra buttons just in case I needed a color that I had ran out of. 

Threading.  This was the most confusing thing for me to figure out!  Out of all the directions that I found online, there wasn't anything that told me exactly how to do it! I pieced pictures and words together and eventually figured it out.  I hope this is easier for you:

I am using Coats & Clark Upholstering thread.  It is made for this. It is heavy and sorta waxy and you need it. Don't skimp.  

1 - I used two arm lengths of thread for each button, that I folded in half and then in half again so that there would be four pieces of thread going through the button.  
2 - As hard as it was for me to remember every. single. time.... thread the button first.  
3 - Then even up the ends and thread through your big long needle.  I bought a dolling needle. It is about 5 inches long.  

This is how I had my board set up.  I used two chairs that had wide seats, and laid the board over it with the fabric centered.  It was easy for me to get over and under the board and flip it to staple and all of that - all by myself.  

No, the fabric is not centered here.  I wish it was so that I wouldn't end up having to do this ---------------------->

I was almost done with an entire row before I realized that I ran out of fabric on one end and had to take out all of the buttons I had just put in. 

Speaking of fabric, I bought 3 yards thinking that was plenty for a 72" was JUST enough.  I almost bought a lesser amount and I'm so glad that I didn't. 

But anyways....

1 - Find your first hole.  Everything I read said to start in the middle.  I had a flaw with my fabric that I had to make sure was in a certain spot of the headboard, so I started in the middle on the top row and it worked out really well.  (Also, instead of going in a straight line, I worked in diagonals, making a chevron shape all the way across the top.  Then I did the middle row, straight.  Then I did the bottom two rows in the chevron pattern same as the top.  I just felt like I could manipulate the fabric better since this linen really had no stretch at all.) I shoved my finger into the first hole, straight down to the pegboard to find the hole on the other side - giving me a better idea of what angle to aim my needle.
2 -  Manipulate the fabric in the hole, creating the diamond folds. (Granted, you can't do that on your first one, but after that, be sure the pay attention to the pull and tension of the fabric.  I had a couple that I had to take out and re-do because a button connected to them wouldn't work because I tufted too far or used too much fabric.  Not a big deal really.) 
3 - Thread your needle and button into the fingered mark and pull through tightly, but not too tightly, on the other side. 
4 - Once I had hold of the needle on the other side and the button pulled through to where I wanted it, I flipped the board up against the back of the chairs and stapled one way, then back the opposite way, then ended up making a star.  I don't know why, but I like it, and it's holding it, so it works. If it makes you feel better about not knotting it, take a hammer and gently tap the staples so they are flush with the board - I did.

And celebrate because there you have your first button!!

See how the buttons are being done in a chevron pattern? It helps with the fabric tension.
Some shots along the way...
Once I got the hang of it, I could put the buttons in in just a few minutes.  The longest part was threading the button and the needle since I could never remember to thread the button first and I'd always have to re-do it.  

Aren't they pretty?!  This picture is actually upside down.  The folds should face down so they don't catch dust and become pockets for fairies, trains, or army men.
I didn't get any photos of the process of finishing the edge.  Basically, you can either try to continue the diamond shape (which I did, and it was really tough.  I don't even have folds in some of my edge places where there should be), or you can just fold it up straight and staple it (which I think would also look really good and finished).  Then staple the heck out of it. 

I decided that since I would see the back of my headboard that I would use some scrap fabric to cover the staples, threads, and the edges of the fabric. 

With a level and some help, I mounted the tufted part of the headboard to the shelving part of the headboard with 6 L brackets - two on each edge, two in the middle.  This baby isn't going anywhere! 


I am so happy with how it turned out.  It was so much easier than I thought it would be.  It was also a lot cheaper than any headboard that I could buy in a store that would even compare to this - are there any?  

Oh yeah!  And check this out!  I have my very own 'dressing room' behind the bed!  And check out that storage!!  Since we did have to push the bed out in order to make this space behind, we opted to lose a dresser and I use this instead because this was just so much more of a better use of our space.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cookie Cutter Birdseed Ornaments

As I've been floating around the internet looking for something to do for valentines day for Elli's class, I came across something that got my wheels turning and decided that I needed to try it out.  But I couldn't find one recipe that was the same as another, so I blended a few together and made up my own (adding to the birdseed ornament confusion). The best part?  If you decide to use them as a valentine, it lasts a lot longer than a lolipop or fun size bag of m&ms  - and it feeds our little feathered friends too!

Follow along with me :) 

Cookie Cutter Birdseed Ornaments
This recipe makes a lot....seriously....way more than I thought it would, but if your giving them away and your kids want to keep a lot themselves, it probably be the right amount

1 1/2 cups water
3 envelopes of Knox gelatin
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter (optional)
1 1/2 cups flour 
10 cups birdseed
nonstick cooking spray
various cookie cutters/ muffin tins/ plastic tubs/ anything you can find to make a mold from   
drinking straws (I cut them into thirds)
wax paper

Bring the water to a boil.  In a LARGE mixing bowl, add the gelatin, water, corn syrup, and peanut butter together to make a sloppy mix.  Add the flour and stir until it's combined.  Then add the birdseed - I'd start with 8 or so cups, but if it is still a little too wet feeling, add more.  I used 10 cups.   

Place your wax paper out on a surface that you wont be using for a while.  You could also put it on cookie sheets that you can just move out of your way if you need.  Now, spray down your cookie cutters and molds down with the cooking spray.  You don't want the birdseed sticking! 

Grab your help and start filling!  We just added a spoonful at a time and pressed it in really well.  

Once you've filled your molds, grab your straws and stick them into the ornaments making sure to press through completely. 

Now we wait.  A long time.  The gelatin needs time to set up, so give them three hours or so to get firm enough to pop out of the mold. 

Three hours later....

Pop the birdseed out of the mold, remove the straw, and flip them over to dry out completely. (They should just slide out of the mold).  Leave them to dry out overnight.  

Once you have shown enough patience to wait overnight, you can grab your twine and start stringing! We used a floss needle threader as our 'needle' because the bakers twine I used was a little tough to put through on its kept getting stopped on seeds...annoying. 

You can make some card boxes or get some goody bags to put them in to give to the class for Valentines (how cute that would be to make a bunch of hearts to give away!), or run outside and stick them all over the yard!

 I think next time, I will half the recipe somehow.  It's really a simple enough recipe that you could adjust the ingredients as necessary. 


Added note:  We have had a few days of rain and wet weather and the bird seed ornaments did not hold up to the rain well.  So before the birds could eat the whole thing while hanging in a tree, they fell off the twine.  The birds will still enjoy them, only this time, from the ground. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pecan Caramel Cheesecake Cookie Cups

 Did you make a New Years Resolution to eat healthier?
....Yeah, me too. That's why I made these!!! And you need to, too! Ha!

Seriously, These. Are. A-MAZ-ING!!!!!


I don't remember the blog I got this recipe from (sorry) but whoever you are, Great job on this recipe!

Ok. Here's the recipe. It's super super easy.

  • 1 package (16oz) Nestle Toll House Ultimates Pecan Turtle Delight Refrigerated Cookie Dough. (Found them at WalMart)
  • 2 packages of 8oz Cream Cheese at room temperature
  • 1 14oz can Sweet & Condensed Milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Caramel Ice Cream Topping (about 1/3cup? I didn't measure. Put it on till it looks good)
  • Semi Sweet MINI Chocolate Chips ( about 2 TBSP? Didn't measure. Chopped chocolate would be fine, but the minis are too cute to pass up.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Preheat oven to 325 & line 24 cupcake cups. Cut each square of cookie dough in 1/2 (I did it diagonal so I had 2 triangles per square) Put one triangle in each cupcake cup.
  • Bake those for about 12 minutes (or until they spread out to fill the bottom of the cupcake liner.)
  • While that's baking, beat the cream cheese with the sweet & condensed milk, eggs & vanilla until it's smooth.
  • When the cookies are done spoon a good 2 TBSP of the cheesecake mixture into each liner on top of the cookie. Careful, I ran out of cheesecake to early, but I did 3 TBSP. Stick with a heaping 2 & then add in the extra if you have some
  • Bake for an addition 15-18 minutes. 
  • Cool on a wire rack, then chill in refrigerator for an hour. Peel off the liners AFTER they are chilled!!!!!! Important!!! Sprinkle on the pecans and mini chips. Spoon your caramel on and admire how pretty they are!

You're going to love these. I kept mine in the fridge because I liked them cold the best. But these are seriously delicious. Really! I mean it! Go make them! Now! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tired of limp elf limbs?

I know I am. Ha!

I was getting so frustrated at this whole Elf On The Shelf thing because I was so limited! This stinking elf wouldn't pose the way I wanted her to or the glue dots I would use wouldn't stick. By morning she'd just look limp and silly.

Tonight I had a moment. A real moment of genius! 

Granted I have only two more nights of Lilliana Roxelle Josette (yes, that's the name my barely 5 year old gave her), so I'm a little slow, but it is amazing nonetheless! I decided that what this elf needs is wire in her limbs! 

Yes! I know!! Why didn't I think of it sooner!

Here's how I did it.

I grabbed some paddle wire because that's what was in reach. 

I pulled a long piece of twisted it and twisted it to itself to give it strength and folded it the twisted a little more to get it the right length. 

I'm sorry Lilliana....this might hurt a little....

Then I snipped a teeny tiny hole in the bottom if Lilliana's arm and at her leg seams.

Then I stuck the wire in, gave her a little stitch, and away we go!

Hey, hold this for me, would ya? Because now you CAN!

Poseable!! Yay!!!

Look! She can hold a crayon!   

And pop her little leg! Yes!

You're welcome :)