Sunday, April 10, 2011

SI Theme: Pottery Barn!

Welcome to Sunday Inspiration (installment #4!)
This weeks theme is Pottery Barn. We all love the place right? It just happens we can't afford it! Well now we can!
Need somewhere for the kids to work? Activity Table!
 (Picture from Pottery Barn Kids)
Or a homemade version for $70 at My Creative Escapes!

 Next something a little more space saving? Platter Chalkboard!
 (Picture from Pottery Barn)
Pottery Barn version: $99 (no longer available)
Or a homemade version for less than $10 at The Rubber Punkin!

Or maybe just something to admire yourself in! Driftwood Mirror!
 (Picture from Pottery Barn)
Or a homemade version for $1.50 at Domestically Speaking!

Congrats to those featured! Bragging rights! Grab a button!

Featured? Grab a button!

Have a knock off tutorial? Email me!
Have you tried one of these tutorials? Link up! I'd love to see them!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shrinky Dink (minus the sharpie) Tutorial

Dear weather, please be nice on days that I have off so I can finish some tutorials!!! kthanks.
Due to weather not cooperating, I have to post this tutorial, which I wasn't planning on doing for a few weeks because the items are gifts for friends because I felt like it.
The infamous shrinky dink. Everyone's played with it right? Maybe not. But if you have, I'm sure you're addicted. I kept seeing tutorials on it for years and I never bothered to try it. But once I did, whoa.
Once you go shrinky, you never go back..? ;)
Anyway…I've never used the shrinky dink sheets, so question to my readers: Do they work better than plastic #6? My problem with shrinky dink is the color. Sharpie is too uneven for my taste. It looks tacky, painting before; you risk crumbling, and painting after; you risk the color not sticking.

So here's MY version of shrinky dinks.

plastic #6
sharpie (just a black one for tracing!)
hole punch
jewelry findings
craft paint
white glue/super glue
paint brushes/toothpick/scissors/exacto
sandpaper fine/rough or both (optional)
Polyurethane (or your preferred sealant)

First you need to sketch out your designs. Or find them online. These items are made for friends of mine, because I felt like it. The elephant comes from a tshirt design HERE, and the filmstrip comes from HERE (I chose that because its my friend's business logo!)
The reason I'm posting the image locations? I'm a graphic designer, and people stealing (or "borrowing") graphics is not only illegal, but its rude. You wouldn't want someone stealing your tutorials and photogaphs without knowing right? Right. So give credit where credit is due! *gets off soapbox*
Once you've drawn your design on paper, place a piece of plastic over it and trace with your sharpie. It doesn't have to be perfect! Just a rough sketch, then cut it out. Use a knife or exacto where its needed, don't bend the sheet or it will crack and tear! Once it's cut you can try to sand the edges with fine sandpaper (if any are dangerously sharp).
As you can see for my elephant, I cut out two pieces so I can layer them later. I highly suggest it. It adds so much color and texture to the piece! But it's personal preference! Make sure to make holes with the hole punch for jewelry findings! Next warm up the oven. It needs to be 350 degrees,  place your shapes on a baking tray and wait until its up to heat. NOTE: this is for MY oven using plastic #6. If you are using shrinky dink sheets, look at the label. Most of this is guess and check!
Once your oven if up to temperature, place the shapes in. It should take less than a minute for them to begin curling. Don't worry! They will uncurl. However, in the unlikely chance they don't, watch them with something in hand to tear them apart. Tweezers, small knife, toothpick etc. After they uncurl wait another minute or two for them to lay flat. Get a book, or heavy flat item out. Immediately upon pulling out of oven, I cover the top of them with aluminum foil and place a heavy book. This ensures that they will be flat (unless of course you don't want them flat..!) They should be flat and cool after 30 seconds to 1 minute. Sand the edges again (or for the first time) to make them smooth and safe. Some people also choose to sand the top and bottom or the pieces to make paint stick. It feels rough to me, so I choose not to.
Next, take your white glue, and an old brush and coat the top side (and sides) of the pieces. I placed them under a light so it will dry quickly. Flip and coat and the second side.
The reason I do this is so ANY kind of paint will stick to the surface. If you are using house paint or spray paint especially, often the paint will chip off. Likewise, sharpies smear. The glue will dry clear and give a smooth surface for paint to stick to. 
Now you paint them! I happen to have black and hot pink spray paint, so I used those. You can use any kind of paint you want though! I painted the heart pink, and the elephant and filmstrip black. Once they are dry, flip and paint the second side. Then check for any inconsistency or missed spots and paint again if needed. Don't forget to get the sides!
Once everything is dry, I used super glue to attach the heart to the elephant. Then attached jump rings to the holes. Once the actual necklaces are together, I dip the pieces into polyurethane. You can use whatever you'd like though. Just make sure you seal it before you wear it so its nice and durable. (My picture makes it look textured because I didn't use a flash. But its smooth and shiny!)
Now that you know the basics, have fun! Here are some fun painting techniques you can use on your pieces once you've applied the glue layer!

Painting Tutorials:

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Total cost (for me) under $0 (Had all the supplies on hand)
Have a question? Let me know! I'd be happy to answer it!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

SI Theme: Felt!

Welcome to Sunday Inspiration (installment #3!)
This weeks theme is Felt. Felt. Felt. Wow, I think the real question is, what can you NOT do with it?!

Need somewhere to lay your head? Felt Pillow!
 (Picture from Crate & Barrel)
Or a homemade version for FREE at Life, Crafts & Whatever!

 Next something a little more portable? Felt purse!

 (Picture from Branch Home)
There's one at Branch Home for $135!
Or a homemade version for FREE at Instructables!

Or maybe just something cute! Felted birds!

 (Picture from Rainsend [etsy])
Or a homemade version for FREE at Wandering the Oak Forest!

Congrats to those featured! Bragging rights! Grab a button!

Featured? Grab a button!

Have a knock off tutorial? Email me!

Friday, April 1, 2011

March Review

First off, my apologies! This was suppose to post yesterday, but I wrote the date wrong and JUST realized it hadn't posted! 

Welcome to the first ever, month in review where I showcase all of my tutorials posted in the last month.

In order: 

Enjoy! Make sure you send your friends, I will have some awesome tutorials coming up this month, plus some giveaways when I get big enough! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Reusable Bunting Notes Tutorial!

De-stashing. Again. [My stash isn't going to like me by the end of this year (month??)!] Reusable Bunting Notes!
So here is the inspiration. My computer. It's surrounded (engulfed!) in post-it notes. What can I say? I'm a writer/to-do-lister/noter! 
I will let you guys in on a little secret...I took down a few a lot...of the post-its before this picture. And I'm conveniently leaving out my stacks [STACKS] of various note sheets..
So I thought about it, I needed a system that would allow me to write notes and erase them. Dry erase board right? Ew. I HATE those. [Don't quote me on that, I might change my mind in 6 never know!]
But I do LOVE me some chalkboard. But that's too obvious right? So I looked at my Pinterest and noticed a theme. Bunting. Cute, right? Chalkboard bunting? Even cuter. Chalkboard bunting that can be changed out for themes, colors and seasons in various sizes and shapes so I can carry them around when needed? AWESOME.
And thus it begins. Here is MY version of bunting flags. I have a list of different flag tutorials posted at the bottom!

Gather your materials. You will need:
fabric scraps
spray mount
a sewing machine (or needle and thread)
chalkboard paint
mini clothespins
Gesso canvas prime (optional)
First find a stash of cardboard boxes. [I feel like a cardboard hoarder]
Lay them out flat, and draw shapes! Be creative, use cookie cutters and stencils for fun shapes, or for simple shapes use vases and cups as templates! I kept my sizes somewhere between the itty bitty post it notes and the medium sized (2"x.5" and 3"x5"). Then cut them out. (If you have a cricut, this would be a good job for that!) I couldn't decide on one shape so I cut out 5 per shape.
Since I tend to have sooo many notes, I decided to make my flags double sided. Cut your fabric to fit over the shapes (I put different fabrics on each side). Then find a well ventilated space (outside if your Spring isn't full of snow like mine is!) and use the spray mount to attach the fabric to the cardboard.
Now the fun part. Get out your chalkboard paint, and tape off the area you don't want to get paint on. (or you can freehand it!) I suggest putting a coat of Gesso on first. It's a canvas primer and will keep the chalkboard paint from cracking. (See bottom of post).  After that's dry, follow the instructions on the can of chalkboard paint. OR if you want to be like me, make your own! Instructions for homemade chalkboard paint HERE at Craft At Home. Also posted in my blog HERE.
Let dry, and flip if you want to paint the other side as well. If not, once you have followed ALL of the instructions on the can, you're finished! (sand with fine sandpaper, wash off with a cloth, rub with chalkboard and wash again).
 At this point you may have noticed my ends are fraying. Now this is where you get creative. I liked the fray. So I decided to keep it. You could easily hem or bias it the edges though. I decided to sew the edge of the cardboard to keep the pieces from coming apart. Pin if you want it to be perfect. And sew as close to the cardboard, without going over it. After, you can trim the edges (if you'd like). I placed a piece of tape on the edges and frayed them.

I used ribbon to string up my flags upon my computer and the clothespins to pin them! Now I can change them out, edit them or bring them with me! De-stash AND eco friendly!
NOTE: I have better pictures of the end result, but I can't find them! I will update those ASAP though!

Want a more formal look to your flags? Try one of these tutorials! Just make sure you use cardboard in the center to give your flag support to write on!
Bunting Tutorials:
The Shabby Nest (mini paper version you could resize!)
Joyful Abode (easy sewn version!)
Robayre (Super easy hot glue version!)
All The Small Things (Using iron-on fusable fabric)
Girl City Gone Coastal (Laminated fabric version!)

-My first versions were done without priming. The chalkboard cracked in places. Still entirely usable (and actually really cool looking), but if you don't want it, I HIGHLY suggest you prime the fabric.
-This is not a 1 hour craft. More like 3 days. Make sure you let each step dry for a proper amount of time!
-This project can range from FREE to really expensive depending on what materials you have on hand, and your level of creativity. Keep that in mind. (Also keep in mind how much you're going to save on post-it notes!)
-I found out (the hard way) that light fabric placed on cardboard with graphics show through. Try to place graphics on dark fabric! See some of my mistakes below!
(Cracking in the chalkboard on the left, and see-thru fabric on the right)

Was your Bunting tutorial listed? Bragging rights! Grab a button!

Featured? Grab a button!
Total cost (for me) under $5 (for 30 2-sided flags!) [Only bought the paint (Joann's), chalk (Dollar Store), and mini clothespins (Joann's)!]
Have a question? Let me know! I'd be happy to answer it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

SI Theme: Pop Tabs!

Welcome to Sunday Inspiration (installment #2!)
This weeks theme is Pop Tabs. (You know. Those tab...things...from soda cans?) Such an inspiring and yet useless item? Not from where I'm standing (eh..siting?) 

First we have this amazing; Pop Tab Tote Bag!
 (Picture from escama)
There's one at Escama for $250!
Or a homemade version for FREE at Trunity!

 Next looking for something a little smaller? Pop Tab Purse!

 (Picture from PopTablady (Flickr) )
Or a homemade version for FREE at Craftster!

And last, need even smaller? Pop Tab Clutch!

 (Picture from Sierra Club)
There's one at Supermarket for $40!
Or a homemade version for FREE at EHow! 

Made one of these? Post link to your blog in the comments, or send me an email! I'd love to show it off!

Congrats to those featured! Bragging rights! Grab a button!

Featured? Grab a button!

Have a knock off tutorial? Email me!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homemade Chalkboard Paint!

I found this recipe by Martha Stewart for Homemade Chalkboard Paint.
(picture from Martha Stewart)
Which was part of my inspiration for the tutorial to be posted on Tuesday 
(aren't you excited to know what it is now?!)
 It's so simple! First I purchased a couple bottles of cheap paint 8 oz each (in Black and White). I got it at Joann's in the kids section and a 20% off coupon.
 Next I looked in my garage for Unsanded Grout
Simply mix 2 tbsp of the grout into 8oz of paint. 
Of course I made it difficult on myself, by pouring the grout directly into the bottle since there was PLENTY of room. If you go this route, pour in small amounts at a time so you can mix/shake as you go! I used a chopstick to stir as I went!
And wholah! You now have chalkboard paint! (By the way, it's not really that gross green/gray color pictured. It's definitely more of a black!!)
Better get on it so you can have it done by the time my tutorial comes up on Tuesday! ;)

Don't forget, there are additional instructions on using chalkboard paint! 
To summarize: Let paint dry COMPLETELY, then smooth over with Fine sandpaper. Wipe surface clean, rub a piece of chalk over it and clean again with a damp sponge! See Martha for full instructions!

Total cost (for me) $4.20 [Only bought the paint (Joann's) and chalk (Dollar Store)!]
Have a question? Let me know! I'd be happy to answer it!

Blog Design

Away from blogland, I'm a graphic designer. But the one thing I can't do, is design for myself. Too many options, colors, shapes and ideas to settle on one design! So I need your input. I'm trying (attempting) to redesign this blog without building a template because I don't have the time to do so. 
Is it too boring? Too much? 
Leave me some comments with how YOU chose to design your blog!
Let me see your inspiration!
I'm looking for knock-off tutorials to feature on my Sunday Inspiration blogs!
Right now I'm looking for FELT and LEATHER knock offs. Have one? Email me with the link! Have another one your dying to share? Email me that one too!

You guys are going to LOVE what I have coming up this week! Well, at least I love it! ;)
Stay tuned! Tutorials coming up tomorrow AND Tuesday!

And welcome again, to new followers and all of the wonderful comments I have received! I read every single one, and check out your blog, so keep them coming! =)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Revised Tutorial!

Sad news indeed. My sweet little Drop Spindle had a horrible accident! An unknown force [OK either a massive cat, or a small dog] decided to test the poor Spindle's soccer skills. Needless to say, it wasn't very good.
After a few glue tests [hot glue vs gorilla glue vs carpenter glue] and suggestions from Craft sites, I figured out not only how to fix it, but to make it less fragile as well!
[No really. I did a 'drop' test. 3 times. On hardwood. It passed!!!]

Make sure you check out my brand new tutorial on making a Drop Spindle AND Newspaper Yarn! [If you can imagine it, it's even EASIER and FASTER than the previous one]!
I have another tutorial in the works for you, and I can't wait to share it! So stay tuned, and welcome all my new followers! Remember, if you have a "knock-off" tutorial you'd like featured on Sunday Inspiration, email me

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Drop Spindle and Newspaper Yarn Tutorial! (edited!)

This week I was inspired to try my hand at newspaper yarn. The only problem was I didn't have a drop spindle. And since I don't see myself using one for another project anytime I soon I couldn't justify the price! ($95?!)
As you probably have noticed, I like to destash items. So I ransacked the house and found some items.
A dowel rod 1/8"thick, a closed picture hook and a piece of coconut. (Ahem, I have a Macaw and this may or may not have been stolen from a toy...) BE CREATIVE! There's no need to go buy fancy materials. Once you add up the cost of those, you might as well buy a Drop Spindle! As you can see the hole already drilled into the coconut was too big for the dowel. [EDITED!]
So I did the next best thing. I took two of those plastic disks inside of soda bottles. Pry the closed picture hook open. I used a couple pairs of pliers and then simply screw the hook into the end of the dowel. Here's where things started changing. I found that a chopstick fit the hole better AND the size of the hook, so I switched my dowel for a chopstick!

After you've attached the hook, take your plastic disks, and cut tiny 'X' holes in center of them. Take the first one and poke the end of the chopstick into it. Slide it up until its placed where you want the [coconut] to be. Hot glue all over the disk, and press the coconut into it. Once dry, slide the second disk up, and glue into place.
Now you're ready to begin using it! First find some newspaper. Fold it in half going the longest way, and fold it over again. (so it makes a fourth!). Cut that into strips .5"-1" thick. So you have a giant pile of strips!
Take one strip and begin twisting it, when you have enough twisted, tie the end to the spindle. Continue twisting until it's long enough to wrap around the hook. Now your ready! Simply 'spin' the spindle against your leg while holding the OTHER end of the newspaper in your hand, and 'drop' the spindle. It will twist the paper when you let go!
For an AMAZING tutorial on it check out Lark Crafts!

Total cost (for me) $0 [had everything on hand!]
Have a question? Let me know! I'd be happy to answer it!