Category Archives: Artsy Crafty Stuff

Easy Chair

002004I found this old chair at a flea market for five bucks.  Other than the seat and back needing repair and the bolts tightened, it was pretty sturdy.  So I thought I’d “gussie it up” a bit.  After a good cleaning, I removed the seat and used it to cut a new one from some scraps in the woodpile.

007025The back was in a little better shape, so I just drizzled a little gorilla glue in the bad spots, clamped it together and let it dry for a couple of hours while I worked on the seat.

024026I threw a little glue in the loose joints too.  Gravity worked its magic to keep the joints in place while the glue dried.  No clamps needed!

 

006023Rusty bolts were loosened and cleaned with a spritz of WD-40 and then tightened so the poor little thing wouldn’t be so wobbly.

Rather than painting it, I thought it might look nice in a “shabby chic” style.  So I just roughed up the old white paint with a sander and finished out the tight spots by hand.

chair project009chair project014Sitting on a hard wooden seat didn’t seem very comfortable, so I cut a piece of scrap material a little larger than the newly cut seat, covered the wood with batting, and glued the material to the underside of the wood.  Then I cut off the extra material and glued the seat to the chair.  In just a few hours, we have a sturdy “new” chair that’s nice and comfy too.

chair project019

I can’t wait to see how it looks in my granddaughter’s study!

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Christmas memories

Unfortunately, all the recent rain has put my garden work on pause.  So I spent some of that unexpected bonus time finishing a couple of Christmas projects that have been on hold for a very long time.  I thought I’d share my ideas with you in case you also had some old family decorations you wanted to set out for Christmas that needed a little sprucing up. nativity 1This ceramic pieces in this Nativity are what is left of a large, detailed Nativity I made wa-a-a-a-y back in 1978 that sat on top of the TV in the living room.  Over the years, the barn and several of the smaller pieces had been broken or lost.  Since I didn’t want to continue storing anything that large, I decided to scale down what I had left to a more manageable size. nativity 2So I cut a 12-inch circle from a scrap piece of plywood and painted it green.  Then I splattered on several other shades of green to give it a little texture.  Next I used a hot glue gun to secure a couple of pieces of scrap ribbon around the edge so that it would look more finished.  After touching up and repairing as many of my ceramic figures as would fit on the base, I moved them around on the board until they looked “right” to me.  Once I was satisfied with their positions, I applied hot glue to the bottom of each one and returned it to its place. village 3I used the same idea with a group of old village pieces I’d collected at flea markets over the years.  I painted the board white and used a scrap of white lace around the border.  Princess Sasha seems to think this is her own personal little kingdom to rule… and nibble on.  I had to spray the underside of it with a cat deterrent to make her leave it alone! village 2I had originally drawn a neat rectangle on the board to place my little village on, but on the last 5 inches of the cut, I somehow lost my way and zigged when I should have zagged.  It was getting dark outside and I wasn’t about to cut another piece of wood, so I just cut a few random curves on all the other sides and rounded off the corners.  Voila!  Perfectly imperfect.  Creative rule #1:  Never throw out a lemon when you can make lemonade! village 1Since this cute little scene needs to be viewed all the way around, I placed it in front of a mirror.  The old buffet belonged to my hubby’s mom. 022I also found a way to display the Santa and glass Christmas tree ornaments from Don’s childhood.  Practically anything in a clear container looks nice! 023In remembrance of my dad who passed just before Christmas last year, I placed one of the bells my grandmother (his mom) knitted for me as a Christmas gift when I was young, on the corner a of photo of him holding me just before my first Christmas.  I think pairing special memorabilia with a photo is a warm way to remember those who can’t be here to celebrate with you.  I hope this holiday season fills your heart with warm memories from the past and adds lots of shiny new memories to cherish in the years to come!

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Jewelry Crafting

Sasha loves to "help" me make jewelry

Sasha loves to “help” me make jewelry

While innocently making a bracelet for my sister (I don’t use the silly “in-law” label because they are “sister-in-hearts” and therefore true sisters), Ic was bitten by the jewelry bug.  It’s a mysterious little bug that hides in the bottom of my “beads&things” box.  I should have known better than to dive into that shiny abyss, because by the time I came up for air, four hours had vanished into thin air and I had missed two of my favorite television shows.  My husband doesn’t understand how it’s possible to sit in directly din front of the television and be totally unaware of its all-consuming presence.  The jewelry bug is powerful enough on its own, but when it joins forces with my creative muse, they form an unstoppable dynamo that I am powerless against.  The only thing that quieted my busy hands was my husband’s sleepy face.  Hitting the hay may have stilled my 9hands, but my muse kept me awake half the night pulling the pins on every idea grenade she could find.  Luckily my skull is thick enough to keep all those flashing neurons from lighting up the room and waking my sleeping prince.  My only dilemma now is what to do with all these newly created baubles.

Left to right: wire cutters, pliers, and needle nose pliers

Left to right: wire cutters, pliers, and needle nose pliers

If you’ve never tried your hand at making your own jewelry, you may want to give it a try.  The tools are inexpensive and can be found anywhere arts and craft supplies are sold.  You can buy your beads and findings (the metal pieces), or you can use items from broken, unused or vintage jewelry.  Most jewelry-making tool sets include a pair of wire cutters, small needle-nose pliers, and pair of round-tip pliers.  If you already have cutters and pliers in your toolbox, a pair of round pliers can be purchased separately. They are great for making loops and curls and opening circles and chains.

1

wire around round pliers’ tip

curly Q at the end of the wire

curly Q at the end of the wire

Making a loop isn’t difficult, but you will probably need to practice a few times before you end up with a perfect circle.  First, you grip the end of a piece of wire with your round pliers and turn either the pliers or the wire till the wire is looped around one side of the pliers’ end.  The further down the pliers side you go, the larger the finished loop will be.  Gently remove the wire from your pliers’ grip and grab the wire a little further down as shown on the picture to the right.  You can use either type of pliers to do this job.

3

cut at a 90 degree angle

4

close the loop with regular pliers

Once the circle is formed, cut the loop you formed loose from the wire.  Try to cut the wire at a 90 degree angle (which looks like the letter L) so that it will meet the other end smoothly when you finish the loop.  You will use your regular pliers with the tiny “teeth” for this part.  Gently press the newly cut end toward the direction of the other end until they meet.  Don’t worry if they need to be adjusted a bit.  That’s not difficult either.

005

grip the loop in two places with the other pair of pliers

grip with "toothed" pliers

grip with “toothed” pliers

I opened this loop a little farther than normal so you could see the process better.  First, grab one side of the loop near the end with regular pliers, as shown on the left.  Round pliers won’t work well with this grip.  Then place another pair of pliers across the opposite side so that the pliers are at the same angle as the cut end of the loop.  I’m using round pliers on the picture on the right, but you can use any kind for this grip.

5

closed loop

Holding firmly, pull the two ends toward one another until your circle is formed.  Sometimes you will need to pull the ends slightly past one another to make them meet.  Some metals have a little “memory” to them and will spring back slightly when you stop applying pressure.

With a little imagination and practice you can make your own one-of-a-kind jewelry.  Besides being loads of fun, it’s an inexpensive way to fill your jewelry rack.

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Bookshelf made from old shutters

This easy-to-make bookshelf has been repainted four times since I made it several years ago, and is in need of another coat now.  The present color works well enough in its new location, so I’ve not been in too big a hurry to add another project to my list.  I’m not particularly excited about moving all those books again!

The majority of our combined library sits near two comfy chairs

The majority of our combined library sits near two comfy chairs

This is an easy project.  And inexpensive if you already have, or can obtain, some old louver doors and shelving boards.  The wider ones work best.  Mine has 12″ louvers.   All you do is attach a set of louver doors to each other so that they create a “U” shape.  You can add additional boards or louver panels in the back to increase the width (which is what I did).  Secure the angles with “L” shaped brackets so it will be sturdy and retain its shape.  Sorry there’s no picture of the back.  It’s much too heavy to move with all those books on it.

004006Knock out opposing sets of louvers on the ends at whatever levels you prefer.  I removed some louver sets farther apart than others to accommodate taller books.  You can use whatever tool makes sense to you to remove the louvers.  A friend of mine used a thin saw when she made her bookshelf.  I just used a hammer and an big flat-head screwdriver.  Of course, you’ll probably want to knock out a set of louvers near the floor so your bookcase will have a “bottom.”

Once the selected louvers are gone and the area sanded smooth, just slide 1 X 12″ boards through the holes to create your shelves.  Make sure the boards extend a little farther than the edge of the sides so they will stay in place.  Secure the top and bottom boards with screws to make the bookcase stable.  You don’t want all those heavy books tumbling down on your head later!  I didn’t secure the other shelves and haven’t had any problems.  Once the books are on them, they won’t slide through.

I’m so excited that our little den is taking shape, but still needs work.  One particular eyesore in the room has me stumped.  I’ve thought about spray paint, but I’m afraid it may be disastrous.  I’ve never painted a fan, or anything with moving parts like that, and am not sure how to approach it.  Anyway, I’m sure you noticed the ugly fan in the corner of the room above the bookcase.  Please, let me explain.

fan

UG-A-LY!
But awe-sooooome!

I have a bit of asthma and my hubby likes to smoke a pipe.  My original plan was to create a “man cave” for Don and an art studio for myself, so he could smoke while reading and computing and I could “make a mess” to my heart’s content.  To save money, we had to move the location of the laundry (long story) to the new “closed-in-carport-room,” so I lost a significant amount of real estate in there and had to combine our spaces.    Rather than relegate Don to the porch to enjoy his smoke, I thought placing an exhaust fan in the room above his chair would be a good idea.  I really needed for this idea to work, so we bought the strongest fan available at Lowes.  It looked better than this little jewel, but we weren’t able to share the room for more than two minutes before my lungs caught fire.  So it was useless.  A friend of mine had this old RV fan in his garage and guaranteed it would work.  “It’ll suck a toupee right off your head!” he promised.  What the heck… I’m game for unique ideas.

It truly is ugly, but he was SO right about this thing’s “sucking power.”  As I type, Don is sitting in that green chair with his pipe and I am four and a half feet away breathing clean air!  Even when I’m sitting in the chair reading and Don is here at the desk (which puts me directly in the path of the jet-stream produced by the fan), I can only faintly smell the fragrance of his pipe, but can’t feel any smoke in my lungs.  Amazing!  The smoky exhaust ends up in the open-sided garage outside, so it dissipates quickly.  It’s unfortunate that this little fan and I have such a love-hate relationship.  I love that it allows us “love birds” to share our new space, but I hate its total lack of aesthetics.

Hmmm…  I wonder if it will suck the paint outside if I let it run while I’m spray painting it?  🙂

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My Furry Foursome

Since my furry foursome are constantly cropping up in my photos, I thought it was about time they were properly introduced.

From left to right: Candy, Ziggy, Sadie, and Sasha eyeing an empty spot on the pet couch.

From left to right: Candy, Ziggy, Sadie, and Sasha eyeing an empty spot on the pet couch.

This picture was taken in the large closed-in carport that I’ve been blogging about before we started the remodeling project.  The paneling on the wall you see behind the pet couch is made of cedar.  The rough surface had collected dust over the years and was not something I wanted to use inside the house, but it made a fine wall for the kennel room.  I’ll be posting about that portion of the remodel next.

1970 4-H ribbons with Sunny & Creampuff - Copy

My first dog training ribbon with Buffy

Pups and kitties need plenty of spoiling and mine get more than their fair share.  I’ve been around animals all my life.  Growing up, I read every book I could get my hands on about animal behavior and care.  My favorite pastime was training and grooming dogs.  My mother raised white German Shepherds and Teacup Chihuahuas to sell, so we always had puppies to play with.  We also had cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs and whatever strays wandered into the yard.  As a youngster, I could totally identify with the Ellie Mae Clampett character on TV.

dog bedHere are a couple of easy to make items for your pampered fur-babies.  You may recognize the material this easy-care dog bed is made of.  It’s leftover sheeting from my curtains in an earlier post.  This soft bed is made of two rectangular pieces of material sewn together and stuffed.

To make one for you fur-baby, you first, measure the space your pet occupies when lying down, and cut two pieces of material that are a few inches bigger than that space, in all four directions.  Lay the printed sides of the material facing each other and sew around three of the edges.  Leave one of the shorter edges open, just like a pillowcase.  Turn the pillow shaped piece inside out and stuff with batting.  I used the stuffing out of old pillows for this.  You can stuff the whole thing and sew it shut before dividing it into sections, but it’s a little easier to sew if you place the stuffing at the far end about 1/4 full and sew that in first.  Then repeat until the bed is full.  To finish, just fold both edges toward the inside of the bed and sew the two folded edges together.  I sewed down the center of the bed to create small pockets of stuffing so that it wouldn’t bunch up when washed and dried.  I made two beds per pup so that they can always have a clean(ish) one to lie on.  The cats’ beds are just square little four-pocket pillows made the same way.

cat toyThis is a cat toy made from a worn out pair of fuzzy slipper-socks.  The texture of the fuzzy socks grab and hold dirt, so they are washed often.  They also grab and hold catnip quite well.  I just folded the socks inside each other, like I do when they are going in the drawer, and sewed them shut with needle and thread.  Then I attached a few pieces of yarn to the ends.  After they are washed and dried along with the bedding, I rub them in catnip and toss them on the floor.  The cats go crazy!  That is, when they can get them away from Sadie.  Keep-away is Sadie’s favorite game!

In my next post I’ll be showing you the foursome’s Critter Castle.  I hope it will inspire you to create special spaces for your own fur-babies!

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College Posters

Thought I’d share the posters I made for our college kids.  Meredith and Megan are (obviously) at the University of Georgia.  The artwork is mostly acrylic on canvass with a few clay pieces thrown in for dimensional interest.

184The bulldog didn’t show up for their photos.  He just left behind a muddy paw print.  But their sorority mascots were caught being “cute”as usual!

189Daniel’s art piece is acrylic on canvass.  I just had to dress the hokie bird in camo since Daniel is ROTC at Virginia Tech.

Daniel's birthdayLoved the way the eagle turned out.

So happy to be able to bless those in my “circle of love.”

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Picture Ribbon

002My granddaughters spent the whole weekend with GiGi, and I loved every minute of it!  Of course I was exhausted by Sunday night and “totally zombiefied” ( Yes, I know that’s not in the dictionary.  Neither is ginormous, but the kids like that word too.)  by Monday night.  Thankfully we didn’t have as many patients to see today and I have somewhat recuperated.  Whenever the girls come over, we take time to survey the photos in the “art gallery” (my hallway) where family photos are lovingly displayed.  Most of the photos are of our children and grandchildren.  But the one most interesting to the little ones is of ” the old people” that the girls have never met.  They never tire of asking, “Who’s that?” and I never tire of answering.  I thought I’d share that group of photos with you and perhaps inspire you to dust off your old photo album of  “old folks” and place a few of your ancestors on the wall.

388The tiny strip of a wall between two bedroom doors didn’t provide a particularly attractive view at the end of the hallway.  This was my way of “prettying up” that area.  I scanned the photos to my computer and printed them on inexpensive photo paper.  I had originally wanted to print them in black and white to match the ribbon, but several of them didn’t turn out well in that color, so I used the brownish sepia color instead.  Most of the original photos had decorative edges, so I cut the edges of my copies with a pair of craft scissors to make them look a bit more authentic.

390This is my grandmother and her aunt posing with her “new” car.  The girls think it’s “way cool and funny too.”  Oh my, she was younger than I am in that picture!

The photos are simply glued to the ribbon and the ribbon attached to the wall with clear thumbtacks.  Occasionally one of the bottom ones will fall off and have to be re-glued.  Of course, no one has a clue why it’s ONLY the ones near the bottom (that just happen to be within reach of little hands) that keep falling off!  *wink*  But that’s OK.  If I had to glue them back to the ribbon a thousand times, I would smile while doing so.  Precious little hands loving their heritage warms my heart.

005My little Angel (top) and Madie (bottom) warm my heart!  And they keep my camera busy.

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