Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Old Glory Takes a New Twist



It’s been almost 2 years! 
This is my first post (with the exception of my daily Thought for the Day entries) in a very long time.   
I will save you a lengthy read and lots of emotional outpourings, but it has been a full 2 years, to say the least.  Right after my last post, we put our house on the market. In less than 12 months we moved, our daughter got married, I lost my mother and our son got married. 
While our lives have been quite busy, I have managed to stay sane, only by the grace of my sweet Lord and my faithful hubby.  I have dabbled with smaller projects along the way; which, for me, is truly necessary for my mental state. 

Given the commonality with my last recent post, I thought I’d show you the door decorations that I just finished.  They will carry us through July 4th.  Our new home has double front doors, so each time I make a new one, it’s always in duplicate.  It’s been a bit of a challenge, but one that I have been enjoying.  In an effort to hold costs down, I try to combine recyled materias with items that I already have on had.  I do not have the steps that I took for most of my door decs. but will try to post pics of some of them as the seasons change.


Our Whimsical Star-Spangled Stars~

I began by drawing out my star pattern on a piece of poster board


With a black crayon, I traced my star onto a sheet of medium weight wavy metal, which I found in the trash.  I found 4 sheets of this metal a few moths ago.  I figured they would come in handy for a project.

The tin snips that I had had short handles, which would have made long cuts a big struggle. I went to the local hardware store and picked up these big boys.  



After I cut out both  stars, I hit them with a coat of white spray paint.  This gave me a good “primer” and provided for my white stars and white stripes, allowing me to avoid having to use additional white paint.



Things start to take “shape”...

I penciled in the stars and stripes and began adding blue and red paint. 




As with every project, detailing is important. It often makes it “pop”.  I took a little white piant and created “stitches” around the outside of the big star.  Then I used a little white paint to create “shadows” around the little stars.






After my painting was complete, I sealed the entire surface with a clear satin polyurethane.




I used a nail to make a two holes, added some wire for my hanger and embellished with a raffia bow.






Monday, July 7, 2014


~Old Glory~



I made this door hanger to give to dear friends of ours on the 4th of July. My husband and I spent the weekend at their lake home in Kentucky and a flag seemed to be the perfect hostess gift for the occasion. 

It is made from burlap, but it has the appearance of canvas.  The burlap that I used was dark brown in color, so I had to use LOTS of paint to get full coverage. 

My friend had a metal front door with stained glass, so nailing in a nail to hang the flag was not an option.  Luckily, I had taken a suction hook with me.  It worked out perfectly.  I just love it when a plan comes together!



You're a grand old flag,
You're a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
~George M. Cohan





Monday, April 28, 2014


~a curb-side attraction~





One of the organizations that I belong to, recently held a large fundraiser.    Members were given an opportunity to participate in a trash-to-treasure contest, where the “transformed” articles would be donated and placed in a silent auction.  The monies raised would go to the organization, but there were prizes to be given for the item bringing the highest bid and also for the item which fetched the most bids.

When I received the announcement about the contest, I got very excited. Being the thrifty crafter that I am, I knew I had to enter.  For weeks I pondered on what project I could tackle that might create a bit of interest.  I truly was at a loss.  Sometimes I work well under pressure, but other times, not.  My competitive nature was causing me to have a serious case of “artist cramp”.

One day while making our way to the zoo for a Saturday outing, my DH spotted a curb full of tossed “treasures”.  It’s still funny to me that he saw the loot before I did. (it was actually a couple of streets off the road that we were traveling on).  He made a u-turn so that he could get me to my “watering hole” where I could do a little “shopping”.  Amid the true trash, I found a bentwood chair, a most tacky shell-encrusted mirror and a pitiful little red wobbly shelf.  DH helped me load my stash and off we went.  At the time that I got the goodies, I had no plans for them.  I never usually do.  I mainly like the feel of getting something for free and knowing that I saved it from adding to the volume at our local city dump.

My newly rescued items sat untouched in our garage for several weeks.  I considered using the mirror for my trash-to-treasure entry, but dismissed the idea because I didn’t feel that I could to anything to it to create a “WOW” factor.

Then one day, while backing out of the garage to go to work, my eyes fell upon my humble red shelf with new interest.  I caught a “vision” for it, which gave me hope that I would be able to have an entry in the contest after all.



My first step was to try and “stabilize” my piece.  The elements had obviously gotten the best of my little wooden shelf.  Most folks would have left this pitiful thing in the garbage, but I was determined to give it new life.




I invested in a tub of wood filler and began pressing large amounts of the tan paste into the deep divots with a putty knife.  By the time I finished filling all the crevices, I think it ended up sporting more wood filler than original wood.  



In some areas the wood began to swell, so I got out my handy grips and braced it.




Next came the electric sander.  I tired to get as smooth of a surface as possible, which was difficult considering all the filler that I had to add.




I just so happened to have four wooden balls in my craft closet.  They had a flat edge to them, which made them perfect candidates for feet for my project.  I used wood glue to attach them.  One “foot" required the addition of a dowel for security, as the surface that I was trying to glue it to was solely wood filler.  It worked perfectly!  Thank goodness for all the “training” that I got in my dad’s workshop as a youngster.





One day, while driving home from work, I spotted some long pieces of wood lying in the middle of the road.  They appeared to be just what I needed for my soon-to-be bunk bed.  I made a quick u-turn, pulled along side the median, turned on my flashers, hopped out of the car and snagged the timbers.  



It’s times like this that I get so excited.  The project was beginning to come together very nicely.  

After a little sawing and sanding, I nailed my side rails to the top loft of my doll bed.

~then~

A few coats of paint later...




With the structural work behind me, it was time to tackle the textile part of my project.





I already had, in my stash of material, the perfect mix of colors and patterns for the bedding.






With a little stitching and stuffing, I made some mattresses






Then came the sheets




Some pillows



A comforter and a coverlet




My finished baby doll bunk bed.  I just love how it turned out. It was ready to be turned in for the silent auction.  I will admit, I was a little nervous about it.  What if no one bid on it?

My daughter and I went the evening of the fundraiser.  I told her to go take a peek at my entry.  I was tickled when she told me that it had already gathered a few bids.  I was satisfied knowing that someone wanted it; maybe for their daughter or for their granddaughter. My efforts were not in vain, thank goodness.

I received a phone call a few days after the fundraiser notifying me that my entry had come in first place!  

My humble little doll bed brought in the most bids. 

WOW, was I excited!!!

I was awarded a gift certificate to a local spa (actually the very place that I get my hair cut-so that was cool) 
AND
a gift certificate to a fine dining establishment

I’m ready for my next project.  Bring her on...

Sunday, April 13, 2014


My Newest Critter Creation


I didn’t have a pattern to follow for this owl 
that I made for a special little boy or girl at the hospital.  
My inspiration for him 
actually came from one of my cat’s toys.  


The shape looked simple enough, so I  thought I’d give it a try. Simple is good when it comes to toy making.  Some of the patterns that the ladies in my auxiliary use are so detailed that they end up being very time-consuming.  I have enjoyed the last few “critters” that I have made because I get to use a little extra creativity in my planning.


Here is the fella that inspired my colorful cuddly owl:



When I took my newest toy to my meeting, several ladies asked for the pattern.  I had to tell them that there was not one. They asked me if I could make a pattern for them. I had to tell them that I was sorry, 
that my brain just doesn’t work like that.  

I’m on to another “one and done”.  The next I think will be a bunny.  I thought this would be appropriate during the 
Easter season.  



Monday, March 10, 2014


Bug-ster




 This bug-eyed lanky-legged creature is a toy that I just created for children at the Baptist Hospital.  He’s too unrealistic to be called a bug and too silly to be considered a monster. 
 So, I present to you, Bug-ster.

I have been sewing for the hospital for many years now, but I tend to focus my time on making chemo caps and pillows for surgery patients.  I sew a few toys here and there, but to be honest, most patterns are quite tedious to make, so I tend to shy away from them.  There are a number of ladies in our auxiliary who consistently hand-craft adorable toys for the children of the hospital.  I truly admire them.  The toys that are collected are invaluable to the younger patient population.   We receive notes from nurses and parents of the the children reiterating their importance.  Many of the children that are given our toys come to the hospital through ER.  They are often car accident victims.  If they are not injured, but are just shaken from the experience, these cuddly creatures can help sooth their anxieties.  Other times, these made-made items provide much much more for these children.  If they have lost a sibling or parent in the car accident, these toys end up becoming an attachment object that the children cling to for years to come.  It beaks my heart to hear such stories, but prompts me to push past any “issuses” that I have about making these “treasures”.

  Bug-ster was created without a pattern.  I began with a pillow-type body, knowing that it would be a good shape to fit in the arms of little patients arms.  The furry hair provides something that they can run their fingers through as a stress reliever.  His eyes are made of felt and are therefore  child-safe. The lanky arms give Bug-ster a friendly feel and also make good carrying "handles”.

The best thing about Bug-ster is that he has a BIG heart!





Isaiah 49:25 “For I will contend with him who contends with you, And I will save (defend, preserve, rescue, deliver) your children.”





Monday, February 17, 2014


License to Love


Actually, I should have called this “tough love”.

 Have you ever tried to cut a pattern out of a license plate?  Sure, cutting a straight line is easy, but a heart...  Now that’s another story.  This will be my one and only heart made from metal that is this thick.  What made it that much harder, is the fact that the plates have the convolutions from the numbers and letters in them.

~Anyway~


This is what I started with.



I cut a heart shape from paper for my pattern.




I laid the pattern on top of the backside of my license plate




and traced it with a permanent marker.





Okay, that was the easy part.  
Then comes trying to cut the blasted thing!




When I was not in a curve, it was not so bad.  But it was a bear in the bend.  I would cut for a minute then clip into that area and “chunk” out a section.







And so it went until I had my heart completed cut out.
I was using my daddy’s old tin snips (at least I think that’s what they are called).  He would have been proud.  Actually, he probably would have said something like, “Monkey, you don’t need to try and such a crazy thing!"



I must admit, I beamed with pride a little bit after seeing the “fruits of my labor”.




Next, I took a metal file (another one of my dad’s old tools) and went around the edges to smooth out any sharp areas.













In order for my paint to stick to the metal plate, I hit it with a coat of clear primer/sealer.







Next, I brushed on a coat of gray paint as a base.



Brushing didn’t work so well, 
so I pulled out my sea sponge and just dabbed on the paint.








I used and hammer and awl (you guessed it, more of my daddy’s treasured tools)
and pierced a hole at the top and bottom of my heart. 
These holes allow for my hanger and embellishment.







I mixed some Gesso and white metal paint together to use for my accent color.





I used a "sequin waste” as a stencil and “pounched” (with my sea sponge) some of my 
white paint mixture on various parts of
the heart.






Using a Q-tip, I wiped some black acrylic paint around the edges to help 
define my shape and give it some depth.







I hung an old crystal from a chandelier in the bottom hole.




I used white organdy ribbon for a hanger and accented it with a snippet of pearls.




A labor of love!