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1  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Silverware Photo Art on: March 29, 2008 07:59:17 PM
Here's an idea I had for some wall art in our dining room.  I have a black wrought iron scroll frame that holds three photos.  I've been wanting to use it for some time and I thought some "artsy" photos of silverware might be a fun way to spice up the dull walls in our dining area.

It was so easy to take my digital camera outside on an overcast day with some of our silverware and a white tablecloth and snap a few photos.  A quick touch up in Photoshop and they were done. 

Just thought I'd share.
2  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Cherry Blossom Artwork *UPDATE* I FIXED IT... I think... on: March 29, 2008 07:49:36 PM
This is the first time I've actually worked on canvas and I had a great time with it.  I painted this piece to match the color scheme for my living room- burgundy, black and white. 

I'm thinking of having my father (who is experienced in woodworking) help me create a Japanese style frame in lacquered black wood to finish it off before I hang it above our couch.

The only thing I have a problem with is that I'm not quite sure I'm entirely happy with the blossoms on the branch... Any constructive suggestions?



Okay- so I've been staring at this piece for a while now and I finally decided to throw caution to the wind and try to fix what I didn't like about it.  I took out one "problem blossom," reshaped some other flowers and gave the branch some silver highlights to match the silver blossoms.  I'm a lot happier with it and hopefully I can stop messing with it and finally move on to another project.

3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Bedside lanterns on: March 29, 2008 04:41:33 PM
Another addition to our brown, green and white bedroom- some Japanese style lanterns I made for bedside lights.

They're made from some basswood sticks I found at my local craft store.  I have no idea what they are intended for, but once I saw them I knew they were destined to be the frame for my lantern lights. 

With a handsaw, a pencil and a ruler I cut all the pieces to the sizes I needed before sanding the edges and ends smooth.  Next I assembled the lantern frames with some wood glue and clamps.  When the frames were dry I painted them with some brown acrylic paint and gave them a shiny finish with some spray varnish.

The "rice paper" shade is really white vellum.  I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with the way the vellum looks and I might try some pellum (spelling?) as my mother suggested.  It might be more forgiving than a stiff paper as it's a fabric interfacing.  Thoughts about this anyone?

Anyway, I was going to place some LED lights inside, but my husband (an electronics technician by trade) suggested he would create something more elegant and lamp-like without me having to buy readymade lamp kits or LED tap lights.  Of course getting him to do it will be another challenge!
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Mother Nature is an Artist on: March 29, 2008 04:30:12 PM
I'm in the midst of redecorating our bedroom in greens, browns and white but our walls were looking a bit empty...  Thankfully Mother Nature is an artist herself and helped me out with some great wall hangings!

The frames were found in my collection and painted white by roughing up the old finish with some sandpaper, painting a couple layers of gesso as a base and then painting a few more layers of white acrylic paint on top.  The ferns were culled from a few houseplants and an outdoor fern, pressed for a few days in between some heavy books and displayed on white cardstock in the now white frames.

I know the idea is a bit Martha, but trust me I'm not quite that evil, I promise!
5  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Re: Stained/stenciled tree breakfast table on: March 28, 2008 02:29:18 PM
I know someone else just mentioned wax, but here I am seconding the idea.  My father does a lot of woodworking and uses beeswax as a sealer when he makes wooden baby rattles and other children's toys as it is nontoxic and completely natural.  You could also try vegetable oil or even a mineral oil, although I'm not sure how mineral oil would effect the finish.

But on to the more important point- I adore your table!  I love nature-inspired projects and dark furnature!
6  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / First Quilt EVER! on: March 06, 2008 01:57:00 PM
I never thought I'd be posting under the Quilt section of Craftster, but here I am!

I was inspired by the left over material I had after covering couch pillows to give my tan couch some more pizazz.  Before I knew it I was cutting blocks and sewing away. 

The front section took me a full day in front of the sewing machine which I had to suffer for the next day as my shoulders and back were so sore I could barely move!  The back, edging and quilting took about another two hours.

It isn't perfect but I love the colors and textures and it matches my new pillows!

7  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Frankenstein Reusable Grocery Bag on: January 24, 2008 01:54:54 PM
Wow!  Thanks for all the nice compliments!  

The technique I used for this is something I picked up on the Reuse/Recycle section here at Craftster, so to get a really good tutorial search "plastic bag fusing," but I'd be happy to explain the way I did it.

Basically, you want to take all your plastic bags and flatten them out.  Cut off the handles and the bottom.  Now you have a plastic "tube."  Turn this inside out if there is any writing or decoration on the bag because the ink will sometimes run when you fuse the bags.  You can either stack a couple bags on top of each other or fold the bags until there are 6-8 layers of plastic.  I ended up folding one bag a couple of times until there were 8 layers.

Next you want to place the layered plastic between two sheets of heavy paper.  I used construction paper since I had it on hand.  Heat a regular house iron somewhere in the medium range.  Some people have said they used a much cooler setting, but I'm the impatient type and it wasn't fusing fast enough for me on a cooler setting.  First iron one side, then flip, and iron on the other.  Don't pull the paper apart immediately because you may tear holes in the still-hot plastic.  If you wait the plastic will peel away from the paper as it cools.  If the plastic isn't quite fused yet cover with paper and iron again.

This step takes some getting used to since if you iron too long the plastic may melt too much and create holes.  If you don't iron long enough the plastic won't fuse.  I'd recommend giving it a try with the bags you don't like as much just to get the hang of it.  

As a side note: I did this in the garage because I'm not sure if there are toxic chemicals released into the air during the fusing and I didn't want to make my dogs (or husband) sick.

After I'd fused the plastic bags I started trimming them down into squares and rectangles.  I'm not sure what other people's experiences are with fusing, but my fused bags did NOT come out square or even.  

After that I pieced together the front, back, sides and bottom of the bag, overlapping the plastic pieces the tinyest bit and sewing everything together on my sewing machine with a zigzag stitch and some old thread.

Since this bag hasn't been road-tested yet I'm not sure how sturdy the cut-in handles are, but overall it certainly feels like it should be worth it's weight in... um... plastic.
8   / REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / Re: We want to see!!!! Completed Projects Links! on: January 24, 2008 01:31:02 PM
Thanks!  I'm pretty stoked about the whole project and I can't wait to try it out at the store.
9   / REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / Re: We want to see!!!! Completed Projects Links! on: January 24, 2008 11:27:07 AM
This board has been such an inspiration for me!  It was just the kick in the arse I needed to make my own reusable grocery bag from old plastic bags that would otherwise be thrown away.


10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Frankenstein Reusable Grocery Bag on: January 24, 2008 11:24:30 AM
My vow this year was to be more environmentally friendly, so one of the things I'm doing is to use only reusable grocery bags when going shopping.  Buying bags for this purpose is good and all, but I wanted to use up all those obnoxious plastic bags from last year.

So after reading extensively in the Reuse/Recycle section of Craftster I decided to cobble together a creation from cannibalized plastic bags.  Plastic bags from all sorts of stores were fused, trimmed and stitched together to create a bag that is bigger than a paper grocery sack and about 10 times as strong.

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