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21  Wooden Block Letter Ornaments in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: December 24, 2013 06:57:42 AM
For the last several years I've participated in a Christmas gift exchange with a number of my online friends.  We've found that ornaments are the best for a long distance exchange but coming up with a new idea is always a challenge.  I met it this year when I found 4 inch wooden block letters at Michael's.  I chose the first initial of the last name of each of my friends & painted them to suit the shape of the letter.

My original idea was to repaint them in more Christmasy colors but at the last minute I decided to go with them "as is".  I'm happy I did because I really am quite pleased with the bright cheery look of them.

Some of the designs are my own but I went to "Free Clip Art" online to find suitable drawings & ideas for the others.  It was fairly easy to capture & size the drawings to fit before printing them.  I used a carbon paper to trace them onto the letters & painted them with acrylics.  For a bit of glitzing, I glued on tiny flat backed gemstones (the ones used for decorating fingernails) for holly berries, ornaments, etc. 

Hubby drilled a hole in the top of each so I could put in a screw eyelet & ribbon for hanging.  I purposely hung most of them at an angle rather than trying to make them level---impossible with some of them.     

Since there were 2 J's, Hubby chose the one with the Santa for us to keep.  I'm still trying to find my favorite.  I like the way the santa hat follows the curve of the letter S, but the snowflake & Christmas tree wrap neatly around the sides of their letters.  Then there's that sweet little bird sitting on the tree limb---or the snowman---or candy canes---

They've been mailed off &, so far, I've had good reviews on them.

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22  Bottle Bells in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: December 23, 2013 09:48:35 PM
I recently cut wine bottles in half & used the bottoms for solar patio lights. I couldn't bring myself to throw away the leftover tops so I decided make glass bells from them.
I used the original corks or screw tops & suspended beads from fishing line, for the clappers.  With one stroke flowers painted on them, I think they're quite attractive but was most pleasantly surprised when I heard the sweet, tinkly sound they make.  I just wish I could record & post it here so everyone could listen to them.

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23  Light up my life in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: November 16, 2013 07:57:20 PM
I've finally been able to work with glass cutting now that my Hubby & I designed our own glass cutter---We've not had much success with the ones you purchase.

Beginning with beer & wine bottles, we've become pretty good at simple cuts & our rate of success keeps getting better.

I've been using the bottom halves of wine bottles to make decorative patio lights. After painting the outside, I purchased cheap solar lights & twisted off the top solar panel. I stuffed a bit of iridescent excelsior inside to reflect more light & super glued the solar disk to the top. The super glue seal makes them fairly watertight.  If I leave them sitting on the deck or patio during the day, they glow softly at night & cast an interesting reflection on the surface beneath them.

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24  Condemned Toad House in Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: November 14, 2013 10:13:52 PM
One of my recent clay projects is a toadhouse.  I'm posting it even tho I didn't quite finish it---I intended to enhance the colors on the bottom with a dark stain.  I was unable to complete it because the glaze didn't stick to the piece.  The studio I go to used a new batch of clay & none of the items made with it were any good.  Just touching them caused tiny shards to flake off of the surface. 

I put it outside under the magnolia tree to see how long it will last so I guess I'm going to have to be satisfied with photos.    Fortunately, I can handle that.  I usually take photos of everything I create & then sell or give most of them away.

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25  Painted Mailboxes in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: November 14, 2013 09:37:12 PM
Several mailboxes I've painted---two for friends & my own.  All were fun projects.

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26  Clay Play---Fish Tile in Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: September 25, 2013 09:32:26 PM
I've been playing again & this is what I've come up with.  The tile is about 6x6 inches.  I began by carving a fish into the leather hard clay along with a few underwater grasses.  I also shaped  separate fish, grass & bubbles that I affixed in front of the large fish to give depth to the tile.  The pieces were all fired separately & "glued" together when I glazed it but they could easily have been attached before the first firing. 

I'm pretty well pleased with this piece &, other than moving a few of the bubbles around, I wouldn't change much. 

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27  Ivy Leaves in Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: September 01, 2013 07:16:14 PM
I  pulled some leaves from My English Ivy vines & pressed them into fresh clay. Then  I fashioned a vine & attached them.  Since my clay instructor was afraid the result was too fragile to put into the Kiln, I even made a separate tray to put it on for the first firing.  Wanting something more unusual, I used a golden color rather than a green.  The result is.....different.  It can be set on a table or hung by the loop in the stem.

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28  Woven Clay Bowl in Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: August 31, 2013 11:08:16 PM
Just trying something different at clay class.  I cut strips in varying widths (some curved), wove them & shaped them over a mold.  Thought I might use it as a bread basket or fruit bowl---Then I gave it away.

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29  Rally Photo Boxes in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by Jenxx on: August 08, 2013 09:56:33 PM
Ive come to appreciate the Craftster community because it offers a place to showcase my creative efforts, & also allows me to post tutorials for some of my original creations.  Its a heady feeling knowing youve designed something that someone else would want to copy.  Its even better when you can show them how.   

I volunteered to teach craft seminars at a motor home rally earlier this month.  Coming up with suitable craft ideas that meet all of the criteria isn't easy.  They must be:

Doable within 2 hours or so.
Easy enough so even a non-crafty person can do it well.
Look fantastic when it's finished.

In this case, I offered a seminar on decorating the tops of 8 square or round photo boxes.  The technique itself is a simple one Ive used for years with several variations for numerous projects.  The smaller box in the photo was just one I made while testing the technique.

Tutorial for a rally Photo Box
Any size/type of 2 piece box works as long as it's sturdy.  I purchased paper mache boxes at Michaels but recycled candy boxes work great.

It takes:
Paper mache box
Woodsies (thin wooden shapes available at craft stores)
Tissue paper---the gift wrap type.  Save your used paper for this.
Paint in chosen colors including an accent (gold, silver, etc.)
White glue or Mod Podge.
Acrylic spray.
A stiff 1 paint brush
Hair dryer to speed drying

Paint the bottom of the box inside & out.  It will take at least 2 coats.  When it's dry, spray with a protective acrylic coat.

Arrange the Woodsies on the box top in a pleasing design & glue them in place with a dab of glue.  If you're making flowers, you may want to use the twine to make vines & stems.  Just put down a line of glue where you want the stem & lay the twine on top. 

When it's dry, mix white glue or Mod Podge about half & half with water.
Crush a piece of tissue paper into a loose ball & gently smooth it out again, leaving plenty of wrinkles in it.

Paint a large spot of the thinned glue onto the center area of the box top & lay the tissue over it.  Working from the middle to the outer edges, use the brush to gently tamp the tissue down onto the top, pushing the tissue in around the edges of the Woodsies.  If the tissue tears, just repair it with a small piece over the hole.  Don't brush out too many of the wrinkles.  Brush on more glue as needed & continue over the edges to cover the sides of the box top.  Don't cover the inside of the lid.  Cut the tissue even with the bottom of the lid & tamp the ends of the tissue to the lid.

Allow the lid to dry & paint it inside & out---at least 2 coats of paint.

Dry brush a bit of the accent color over the top to highlight the texture & finish with an acrylic spray coat.

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30  Seafoam (copycat) in Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: June 23, 2013 12:31:14 PM
I can't take full credit for my latest clay creation because inspiration came from a piece I saw sitting on a table in the ladies restroom at the Garden Cafe in Sebring FL.  I know nothing about it's creator but fell in love with it instantly.  Fortunately, I take clay classes & was able to  create my own similar piece rather than be tempted to theft.  Honest, all I took was a photo!

I wasn't wanting an exact copy so mine is very different from the original; slightly smaller at 6 inches tall & 9 inches wide.  I'm quite pleased with my version & wish I could personally thank the original artist for the inspiration. 

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