Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ornaments for Everyone!
(by the Project Procrastinator)

It’s Christmas Eve and I am supposed to be getting ready for the dozen or so folks who will be coming to our house tomorrow to celebrate Christ’s birth and to dine with us, but I always manage to squeeze in a craft when I need to be doing something else.  I can’t help it.  It’s just my nature.  

The project is so easy that just seeing the pictures, however poor of quality they may be, is really all you need to complete these little grape cluster ornaments.

Even if you are just an occasional wine drinker, you probably 
 have on-hand a collection of corks. Chances are that you also have  the few other materials that you will need.  

Take your glue gun and group 6 wine corks into a triangle shape.  Try to keep your glue hidden in the middle, if possible.

Next, make a loop for hanging your ornament, out of hemp or any other natural looking fiber.
Glue the loop in the middle of the top of your “cluster”.

For the grape leaf, which doesn’t even remotely resemble a grape leaf, I cut a leaf off of some old silk flowers that I had lying around.

Glue your leaf on top next to your “hanger”, concealing any stray glue from your loop addition.  I actually poked the base of the leaf down in between two of the corks so that the leaf would not be so flat looking.

I grabbed some acrylic paints from my craft closet and mixed up a color that thought came closest to the color of the wine staining on the end of some of my used corks.

Don’t ask what colors I used because the color indicated on the bottle is not always accurate,  as I am famous for mixing colors and pouring them back into the bottle.  This used to aggravate the mess out of my daughter when she went looking for a specific color for a project.  Oh well, she’ll do the same thing to her daughter one day.

 ~Almost finished~

I used some of my rubber stamps to make a little tag for the ornaments. I tore out my tags and then used a natural sponge to “antique” the edges.

I am going to place an ornament on the dinner plate of each of my guests for them to take home as a reminder of the special times that we spent together. 
They will also help make my table to a little more festive too!

May God bless each and everyone of you and may His joy fill your heart this year in ways that it never has before!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A “Toast" Post

This is not a normal posting where you will find a delicious recipe or a fun craft to make.  You won’t  find any helpful tips or tricks today or any samplings from my latest 
“treasure hunts”.  

This is actually a “thank you note” to say how grateful I am for all of you who have either been following me awhile or just visit my blog from time to time.

I was feeling a bit “slack" lately for not doing a better job of posting more regularly. I’m not going to give you a long list of excuses, but between preparing for the holidays and helping my daughter plan her wedding, my blogging has had to 
“take a backseat”.  

I have however;
 been very faithful about putting my 
Thought for the Day
on my blog.  Spending time with the Lord in the morning is VERY important to me and sharing the words that He gives me after my quiet time, is something that I will do regardless of what is going on in my life. 

My less than frequent blog posting has not seemed to have affected my “viewers”.  As a matter of fact, the past few days I have had a record number of people “checking me out”.  Actually, the numbers have been awe-inspiring to say the least. If you are a blogger, then you know that you can “check your stats”, which will not only tell you how many folks have visited your blog each day, it will tell you where they are from.  For example, today I have had people from the US, Russia, Germany, Serbia and Poland take a look at what HeArtlife is all about.  
I just love it!  

If you have read any of my past posts (please excuse any typos or grammatical errors-I was not an English major), then you know a little bit about me.  I’d like to know a little bit about you!
I am curious to know...

*What brought you to my blog?

*What brings you back (is it my Thought for the Day, my crafting, recipes etc.)?

*What would you like to see more of?

If you wouldn’t mind, I would LOVE it if you would take a  moment and leave a comment. 

I am so encouraged to know that there are "blogging buddies” literally all over the world!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Zesty Vegetable-Vegetable Soup

This truly is the BEST vegetable soup that I have ever made! 

        It all began with me being cooped up at home with workman who have been putting in new attic stairs.  I’m here to tell you that this has not been a quick job.  We are into day two and, probably the 8th hour of this project, and the end still does not look it’s coming very soon. Such is life. The men have been very pleasant, so it’s been okay being “stranded”.  I actually enjoy days where I am “forced” to stay home.   I LOVE my home and I LOVE being here, but being a part-time employee, wife and domestic engineer, requires frequent errand running and such, so I have to be away from my sweet abode more than I’d like.


Today has been an overcast, cold and gloomy Friday winter's day.  All the more reason to stay put.
The conditions were just PERFECT for soup making!  So, armed with a head of cabbage and a large variety of vegetables, I sat down and consulted Pinterest.  The soup recipe that sounded the best and came closest to matching the ingredient supply that I had on hand, was a vegetable cabbage soup.  


I have this bad habit of jumping into making a recipe before checking to make sure that I have everything that is needed.  This usually requires a bit of “tweaking”.  Sometimes I have had to "pull a rabbit out of a hat” and use my most creative culinary skills.  A few of these, which my husband calls “experiments”, have turned out to be delicious!

This recipe was one of those times, but I will spare you the details of where my “shortages” were and just give you my newest and most favorite vegetable soup recipe, which I call...

Zesty Vegetable-Vegetable Soup

3 onions, chopped
5 or 6 cloves of garlic, chopped 
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes,with juice
1 cup green beans 
4 cups chicken broth
1 medium  head cabbage, chopped
1 can tomato paste
7 cups water
1/2 red, yellow and orange bell pepper,chopped  
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 stalk of kale, chopped
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
6 1/2 tablespoons Streit’s soup base
(onion flavored)        
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

Put all the ingredients in a very large pot. Heat to boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook until vegetables are tender. Simmer for 45 minutes and keep on low for another 30 minutes or so.

I can’t stop eating this stuff!  It is very low in calories and pretty healthy too.  Yum.
~It’s a keeper~

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A great afternoon "pick-me-up"

I have seen several coffee-protein smoothies on Pinterest lately, but none of them sounded that great to me. I decided to create my own. It turned out to be quite tasty, so I thought I would share it.

Coffee-Protein Smoothie:

8 oz. cold brewed coffee
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree 
1 scoop vanilla-flavored protein powder
1 tsp. golden flax seed, ground
1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened-original
)stevia to taste (I used 2 packets)
2 cubes of ice (may wish to use more, if you want it colder)

Add all ingredients to smoothie machine or blender. Process.

Monday, September 16, 2013

~Shabby to Chic~

It all started with this table that I purchased at a yard sale for $3.00 .  The guy was asking $5.00, but agreed to take my offer.  My daughter said, “Gosh mom, you are so cheap!”  I told her that by getting something at  a lesser price, just puts extra money in my pocket to spend at the next yard sale.  She’ll learn.

The table had some “issues”.   First of all, there were 3 holes drilled all the way through the top of it.  Although the rest of the table was made of wood, the top was not.  Therefore, just using wood filler was not an option.  The surface was more like a very hard textured laminate and it wasn’t even glued on well.  I decided to chisel it off and see what was underneath.  It was some sort of particle board.  Why in the world they would put this on top of a wood table is beyond me!

I knew I had a challenge ahead of me.  I could cut a piece of wood to fit the top, but because there was a “lip” of real wood bordering the top, I knew it would be hard to get an exact cut.  

I looked around the garage and found a product called Plastic Wood. It was small can (a "hand-me-down") which was half empty.  I had never worked with this product before and really had no idea how it was to be used.  The can said that it “looks like and acts like real wood”.  I figured “what the heck”, I’ll just slap some on with a putty knife and see what happens. I didn’t have enough to cover even a quarter of the top, but I liked the hard surface that it was giving me, so I headed to the hardware store to purchase more.  Boy, that stuff is expensive.  I ended up spending almost $15.00 to get the amount that I needed.  Oh well, the table only cost me $3.00, right?

I kept spreading the Plastic Wood over the entire top of the table.  I never could get the even surface that I wanted.  I tried using a wider putty knife, but that  didn’t seem to help.

I grabbed my handy electric hander and did the best I could at smoothing things out.  I gotta tell you, this Plastic Wood stuff is hard as a rock!  Even with a coarse grit sandpaper, I could hardly tell if I was making a difference.  I sanded the rest of the table to prep it for painting.

After going over the table several times, I decided to “call it quits”.  Like my husband often says, “it is what it is”.  I took a rag and wiped off all the dust.

Before painting the table, I took a candle and rubbed it across any areas that I wanted to look as if it had been worn from usage.  

So, I’ve never done this before, but I decided to paint my table with craft paint.  I did this mainly because I found the color that I thought would work perfectly for the technique that I was attempting.  Bimini Blue; I just love the name of it.  It makes me think of being someplace tropical.

With a sponge brush, I painted the entire surface of the table.  2 bottles of the craft paint was all it took. My paint investment was less than $1.50!  Not bad, eh?

After allowing the paint to dry overnight, I lightly sanded the whole table. The paint promptly came off in the areas where I had applied the candle wax, therefore exposing the wood beneath.

The next step is my favorite:

Taking my trusty can of one-step polyurethane (has stain in it), I brush a light coating over the entire surface of the table.  This particular piece is great because it has little “nook and crannies” where the finish can get “caught”, which creates depth and interest.

Applying a polyurethane that has a stain in it serves two purposes.  It seals the paint and also gives it “aged” finish.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Collage Art

As I have mentioned before, I am not the best blogger. I just LOVE to create art, but documenting my work is not top priority.  When I decide to tackle a new project, I like to just "jump in" and "loose" myself. 

This project was no different. 

An artist friend of mine recently attended a workshop where she learned how to do a type of collage painting which I had never seen. I got excited about the prospect of making my own mixed media artwork after witnessing her masterpiece. Since I lost the picture I took of her work (I lost all of my pictures, phone numbers etc. on my phone do to failure to “update”-valuable lesson learned), I only had written instructions from which to work.

Hopefully my partial "how-to”, which follows, will give you a pretty good idea of how to complete this project.

There are a few layers involved, but it’s actually quite a simple

to do.

Supplies needed:

-a large canvas (I used an 11x13)
-various bits of printed paper such a scrapbook paper, sheet music, dictionary pages etc.,
  torn into small pieces
-small piece of fabric, large enough to cover bottom portion of canvas
-glue (I used Mod Podge Gloss-Lustre, which worked great)
-acrylic paints
-paint samples (free from hardware store) to spread paint with instead of using s brush
-black oil pastel crayon
-stamps and/or stencils to create “texture” to background and add a possible quote           
-sponge brush

Step 1:

Glue bits of paper to canvas in a collage fashion, covering most of the surface. Glue fabric piece on bottom section of canvas.  Let dry.

Step 2:

Take your black oil pastel crayon, and draw a simple figure, such as an animal, on dried surface. 

Step 3:

Using a paint sample as your “brush”, paint everywhere except the inside of your image. By using this technique you avoid having brush marks and you can apply the paint in a thicker manner. Do NOT cover your oil pastel lines-this will give more “character” to your finished work. Let background dry.

Step 4:

Stamp or  stencil on top of first layer of paint, using a lighter shade of paint than your background, to give “depth”. Let dry.

Step 5: (optional)

 Stamp words, sayings or quotes on background.

Step 6:

Apply a top coat of Mod Podge over entire surface of work.  I don’t like a shiny surface, so I took a rag and blotted off some of the glue as I worked.  

After I finished my collaged piece, I added a “safety” eye (used for  making stuffed animals) to my chicken.  Scroll back up to the top to see completed project.

I hope you have as much fun as I did doing this whimsical piece.  I can’t wait to work on another one!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dragonfly Door Hanger

  I have taken a fancy to making these easy burlap door hangers.  So far, I have made an owl for the fall and a heart for Valentine’s Day.   I wanted one for the summer, but did not see anything out there that “caught my eye”. Dragonflies seem to scream summertime to me, so I started looking for door hangers that others had done.  When I found none that I liked,  I decided to Google some images.  Between pictures of dragonflies from nature and various other pics, I drew up my own rendition.   I think he turned out pretty cute!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Glory Reclaimed~

Many curb-side “treasures” have made their way into our garage over the past 20 years.  I just can’t seem to help myself.  When I see items that I know I can use, someone else can use or that I feel I can recycle into something useful for our home, I “snag” them.  While most of my finds have been put to good use, some have been tossed back to the curb when I have not done anything with them after a certain period of time.  I had a little regret after pitching some nicely weathered blue louvered shutters recently. I vowed that next time shutters came my way, I would make sure I held onto them.  Not long after getting rid of my blue shutters, I scored with four brown paneled ones.  With a nice flat surface, I knew they would be great for painting.

With the idea of painting a flag, I choose two shutters for my project.

Before getting started, I gave the shutters a good cleaning. 

I used some recycled hardware to connect my two shutters together.

The fun begins:

I first began by drawing off lines for the stripes.  I have started too many projects where I thought I could just “eye-ball” it and came up with some lines that were much wider than others.  I didn’t want to chance it, knowing that I needed to have exactly thirteen stripes. 

13 stripes for our 13 original colonies.

The red represents valor and bloodshed while white represents courage and purity.

The block of blue symbolizes our freedom. 

 Praise be to God for all the men and women who have fought, and continue to fight, for 
what we often times take for granted in our country!

With only the stars to go, I decided to sand the surface a bit to give my flag an aged patina.  I thought that using my Makita electric sander would  be a good idea.  I would just hit it quickly and lightly and be done. 


The bits of old paint that gave my shutters the character that I so admired, proved to be too much for my sand paper.

I traded the electric sander for my sanding sponge.  If you have never used one of these, you are missing out on a very valuable tool.  I discovered these little jewels when I first began refinishing furniture.  

They are pliable so they will conform to whatever contour you are sanding (perfect for tables and chairs that have spindled legs).

I sanded the entire surface.

With a damp rag, I removed the sanding residue.

I had to go over it several times, rinsing my rag out in between.

Next I added 50 stars in recognition of our 50 beautiful states.

I sprayed a light coat of clear matte acrylic to seal the surface.

I hung my flag on the patio last night.  
Just in time for the Fourth of July!

The brave men and women who fight for our freedom know that “the more they give, the more they are"

                                                   -Frederick Buechner