Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas For My Gal Pals

I've spent the past few weeks prepping the Christmas gifts for three of my close girlfriends with whom I exchange gifts each year.

The four of us get together for a girls' night out dinner 3 or 4 times a month. Except this month it's been just too busy to pick a date night each week with all the hectic activities.

Two of the gals are retired (one is in her 80s the other 60) and the third gal pal is just a year older than me.

Typically, I do identical gifts for each of them. It's easier to do it that way - the gifts are nothing elaborate - more useful than trinket.

This year, I selected booklet-type calendars.  I find these to be nice for jotting down a few lines about what happened on a particular day - kind of like a journal/diary.  I use these each year and occasionally like to sit down and read back through certain years to keep perspective on my life.

The calendars have a beach scene on the cover and have monthly divider pages with additional beach scenes. I decided to add a personal touch by adding their name on the front cover and made each of them (identical) bookmarks with a beach theme. I used vintage beach images from Bumble Button Antique & Vintage Graphics. She shares some pretty amazing images. I used these cute girls, the sea shells and the lady lounging on a sand bank.

I read a magazine article recently that said if you write down three good, positive things that happened to you each day, it helps with depression. Even if it is just something you smiled about, or some kind gesture you do, or someone does for you.

So I added the phrase "3 Good Thoughts Today" on one side of the bookmark . . . just for incentive.   I just used chipboard and applied the printed graphics with a thin coat of Mod Podge.  I thought about coating the bookmarks with Mod Podge but after trying it on a spare bookmark I found it wrinkled up too much and looked horrible. I was in a hurry to get these done so left as is.

I punched a hole in the top and tied a piece of blue and green ribbon - beach colors - to the bookmark and to the spiral spine of the calendar.
The girls will also each be getting a Belgium chocolate bar - wrapped up in a piece of white photo paper with my artwork added.

They'll also be getting a small LED flashlight for bedside storage - I have one in my bedside drawer and it comes in handy more times than I can count. And if they happen to already have a bedside flashlight ... hmmm, you can never have too many flashlights WITH BATTERIES!

The flashlight package I bought for each of them also came with a headlamp - with 4 settings! It will be a bit of a laugh I'm sure, but each of these ladies is single and I know when I was single and in need of a third hand to hold a flashlight for some project it would have been nice to have one of these.  Instead I had a "Snake-Light" that I'd wrap around my neck, or contort in some way to shine the light where I needed it. Trust me, they'll thank me later.

So, there we go, all their little gifts all boxed up in a pretty, reusable storage box with a bow.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

For Unto Us . . .

I like coming up with decorating ideas that serve a dual purpose. Things that are representative of Christmas yet, something that can remain on display without stirring up thoughts of Christmas lights on a house all year. To each his own.

With my limited home time, I've got a lot of house to clean - especially when I'd rather be crafting, painting or reading. Putting up Christmas decorations, only for a few weeks of display, seems to be an inefficient use of my time. But with Christmas I also want to make sure I pay tribute to the birth of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior - the one my God sent to die on the cross for my sins.

For months been thinking about making some of the Bible scripture wall art, Bible scripture subway art - ideas I've seen on many blogs and Pinterest.

This inspiration came from the super talents of Kiki Creates.

I created my version with a brown-black background and white lettering. It's fun to create something like this using so many fonts. It can be displayed year-round as well. I'm even thinking about using a red and white version of this for my Christmas cards this year.

This past weekend I purchased a very nice 11x14 brown wooden frame at a thrift store, complete with a white mat - I'll use it to frame my new art. The 8.5x11 print needs to be reduced in size a tad bit to get the edges inside the mat a bit more, but it turned out great.

Now the recurring problem - to decide on which wall to hang it.

UPDATE: Oye! I've been infatuated with these Bible verse creations. I have now designed my Christmas card (the red version) and another wall art piece. Still my favorite so far, is my first one.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Harley Walker at 74

Harley Walker sounds like some old dude; I guess at 74, that would likely be the case.

However, Harley Walker is what I've called the step walker I fancied up with Harley Davidson logos to present as a birthday gift ... to my mom.

October 29th is my mom's birthday and she is turning 74.

She doesn't need, nor does she want useless stuff to sit about taking up limited space already disappearing because of already displayed useless stuff.

Earlier this year, I had this idea in my mind to purchase a step walker from a thrift store and give it a facelift. One thrift store I visit more frequently seems to always have a supply of walkers, bath seats, etc.

It actually sat in the garage for months before I had time to get to it. I had to clean off the cobwebs.

Got out my Frog Tape and taped up the squishy handles - that's the only area that didn't get painted (other than the wheels and hard plastic bottom stoppers).

I took off the back legs and front rollers, along with the rubber connectors at the joints. Rather than remove all the stickers - and there seemed to be a lot - I decided I would just paint over them since I would likely be applying HD logos over top. I did take a "before" photo, however, no during photos.

After I spray painted the primer, I used a black satin finish spray paint. One can didn't quite do it. The lighting in my garage is bad and once I thought it was covered, a view in the sunlight revealed places that were splotchy. I wanted it to be coated well.

I searched Google images for a variety of HD logos and printed them out - then cut them out.  When I held them up to determine placement they appeared very stark against the black background.

To remedy that, I used some strong tea water and the tea bag to apply some staining to the paper - it curled some but overall the paper held up well.

Once the logos were all applied I still wasn't pleased with the look - there are a lot of logos on it and rather than remove them to lessen the busy-look I figured I could make them blend better against the black.

Out came the antique glaze. I used a rag to dab on the glaze atop the logos. This gave a look of worn, garage grime and that worked better for the look I was going for.  It allowed the many logos to blend in to the black background much better.

Mom's cat, Gabby, checking out Harley Walker.
I have no doubt my mom will actually use her Harley Walker at home. Quite frankly, it wouldn't surprise me to see her with it at the grocery sometime ...maybe even wearing a "doo" rag on her head.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This Little Light of Mine...

In November 2011, my husband and I traveled to Myrtle Beach, SC for the Thanksgiving holiday week. We had a nice time traveling around nearby cities and not so nearby cities (Charleston) to check out the area.

I enjoyed visiting South Carolina. I loved being near the ocean and hearing the rhythm of the waves each morning and night. All the sights, all the seafood ... love, love, love!

When I go someplace I've never been before, my shopping interests aren't for the touristy shops for souvenirs. I like going to the local thrifts stores - Goodwill is a fairly easy find. 

We went to a few Goodwill stores just outside of Myrtle Beach. The only thing I came away with was this black metal lamp. It appeared someone spray painted it black because they didn't bother to cover the electrical cord or the brass fitting at the top. I paid $3.93 + tax.

Lamp Before
I liked the height of the lamp and figured it would work well on my desk at work. It sat in the trunk of our car the remainder of the week we were on vacation. Traveled home with us and sat in the garage a few weeks. I brought it in the house and took some not-so-good pictures for the before look.

It ended up back in the garage because I wasn't sure when I would have time to get to it.

Lamp After
At one point when I was out and about running errands, I came across a package of acrylic paints I thought would work for painting the lamp.

A few weeks ago on a rainy Saturday afternoon I brought the lamp back inside, cleaned it up and started painting. The acrylic paints weren't covering the metal like I wanted and the dried paint appeared dull and chalky. I wasn't happy with it.

More recently, I decided I would try the bright nail enamel I had purchased for my little key painting project. I loved the shiny metallic sheen the nail enamel left. I dug through my bathroom closet and found some old nail enamel I had for eons - bright red, orange and a copper metallic (what was I thinking at the time?).

I proceeded to use all the colors to paint the lamp, even using the French manicure white to add some polka-dots.

I added a lampshade with chubby little cherubs - and it now sits on the corner of my desk at the office.

My South Carolina Goodwill lamp is bright (and not just from the light bulb), cheery and whimsical - just what I was going for.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Find My Key

I have two keys on my key ring that are nearly identical.

SCHLAGE keys...spare keys cut at the local hardware store. Both are gold in color. One is my house key, the other my mom's house key.

I kind of know where my house key is on the placement of my key ring. Sometimes, though, when I am in a hurry and select the wrong key - it fits into the key hole, but doesn't turn - it tends to get a bit frustrating. You know...the times when my hands are pretty full, the load is heavy or I need to dash to the bathroom.

Then there are the occasional times when my husband has my keys and can't tell which key to use.

I had some spare time on a recent Saturday and decided I should try the painted key idea. This would give me a chance to try out some cheap, bright nail polish I bought specifically for craft projects.

My mom's house is green, so that's the color her key would be.

My house is brick, so blue would be the color of my key - absolutely nothing to relate the two really, I just like the color blue.

I removed the keys from my key ring, stuck the smaller end into a block of foam and painted - painted - painted (that's three coats). I could have probably gone with two coats, but did one extra coat for durability sake. I topped it off with a clear coat of nail polish.

I thought the color might scrape off as I put the keys back on my key ring, but I was very careful as I slid the keys around the ring. It all worked out well and now I can tell at a glance which key I'm selecting from my key ring.

In between drying of the color applications, I played around with the blue nail polish. I'm not one for painted nails; one, because I keep my nails fairly short and two, bright colors aren't my thing.

I have seen a lot of advertisements for decorated nails. I decorated my thumb nail, left it this way for half the day.

I panicked a bit when I thought I might not have any nail polish remover and I would have to have my nail this way for church on Sunday. Luckily, I found the polish remover and all was well.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Growing Out of Ugliness

We have a Robin's nest in the tree my husband butchered ...I mean pruned last fall.  It's near enough to our dining room window we can see the momma bringing worms throughout the day and early evening - poppa Robin mostly just stands guard nearby.
It's amazing every season I watch the development  of these scrawny, naked, ugly babies.

They are beginning to stand up in the nest, stretch their wings and flap!

It will be interesting to watch their first flights if we are home at the time it happens.

I think this makes us grandparents!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another Retirement ...

A peek inside
Another co-worker in my department at work is retiring. Her retirement date is March 19, 2012.

A card idea popped into my head ... something about a bucket list booklet and since the woman is a smoker, a cigar box for an envelope.

I remember as a kid I thought cigar boxes were neat. Partly for their looks, but because they can hold "things" ... like pretty rocks, doo-dads - stuff I found appealing.

Front of envelope
Using free graphics from The Graphics Fairy and inspired by several graphics from Just Something I Made websites, I came up with a card that resembles a book and the dimensional box envelope.

Shallow depth envelope
Backside of envelope
I needed the envelope to be a shallow box, since it was made from the cigar box graphics. I only needed a very shallow depth though. I was worried it would be a bust, but with a little Mod Podge to secure the corners and a thin coat on the bottom of the "box" - it holds it shape well enough.

The card has some silly photos of things - a plump male ballerina in a pink tutu, some vintage looking photos of women with tennis racquets and women holding trophies from perhaps a beauty contest ... you know, things you might have on your bucket list.

Inside of envelope

Inside card
This is the second retirement card I've made in as many months. It makes me wonder how nice it would be to retire and spend my time doing all the things I WANT to do rather than doing what someone else wants from me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Crochet-Beaded Bracelet

 I have a few plastic containers full of various glass, wood and metal beads - a treasure I came upon at the Valley Thrift Store a few months ago.  Someone must have decided to get rid of all the crafting supplies they had, or a family member had piled up. You never know what the story is behind such finds.

Some of the glass beads are beautiful and would be nice as jewelry. I'm partial to the blue beads.

Jewelry making is not one of the craft areas I've dabbled in much. I've done macrame jewelry in my youth, but nothing with wire and beads. I do have the supplies to give it a try ... just too much going on elsewhere to dive in.

Before I stowed away my yarn supplies - my winter craft of choice - I dug out a few skeins of crochet yarn to continue my crochet flower making. I decided to try a fellow crafter's pattern to make a wrap bracelet with some of my favorite beads.

This is what I ended up with. It can be worn as a necklace or a bracelet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Handmade for Her Retirement

inside of card
Little by little, over the past few weeks, I worked on this card for a co-worker who is retiring at the end of this month. I started out with a simple "open the gate card" - a template I've used before in a pinch. However, since I've had the time to add to this card - layering elements were added.

I even fancied up some clothespins to add to it. I probably should have added magnet strips to the backs of the clothespins. I did attempt to cut a magnet strip off of an old magnet on the side of the fridge, but after I applied it to the clothespin and tried it on the fridge, found it wasn't strong enough. Rather than ruin the clothespins in repeated attempts I opted to leave them "sans-magnet" and added some crochet flowers.

back of card

front of envelope w/clothespins

I don't know this co-worker well, so I suppose this token of my best wishes for her is adequate.

Oh, how I wish I could retire.

back of envelope

front of card

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Corkboard Cabinet Door Liner

I've had this package of corkboard squares I purchased at Big Lots lying around in my kitchen for awhile. One of my plans for it finally made it to my done list.

 I thought it would be handy to use one of my spice cabinet doors as a "tack up" space for recipes I'm working on - to pin an opened envelope of spice - various other uses ...

The door panel is inset enough on the inside of the door to place a trimmed section of corkboard that fits flush to the frame.

 I trimmed it to fit snugly - didn't think I'd need to secure it, because it fit so well.

However, after a few opening and closings of the door it needed to be pressed back in along the edges. I ended up just using some double-sided tape to secure it. I also added another panel of corkboard all the way to the top of the door.

Added some push pins and there you have it.

Done and dusted!

When You Can't Find it Locally - 
Make Your Own
Range Hood Fan Filter Replacement

For weeks I was on a mission to find, locally, a replacement exhaust fan filter.
Neither of the two local hardware stores, nor Wal-Mart (my final resort) carry the Broan Nutone LL-62F filter for my range hood. I could have ordered it, but I don't want to pay 6.00 for shipping and you have to order 2 at a time at just over $28.00! 


So...  I purchased the next size up from what I needed. Brought it home and carefully took it apart - bending away the aluminum frame from the filter materials. I then did the same to the old filter frame, opening up the channel of the frame to allow insertion of the new "cut to fit" filter.

I just placed the old filter I removed on top of the newly removed filter and trimmed it.

 Just kept working my way around the rectangular shaped filter - making sure to keep all the layers of mesh/carbon snugly together as I pinched the aluminum frame along the edge.

 Done! Good as new ... because it is NEW - at least the filter is. I gave the old aluminum frame a good cleaning of all the grease build up. I've lived in this house three years and have never THOUGHT to replace exhaust fan filter until I was giving the stove/oven a good cleaning. I've taken the filter out to wash in hot soapy water half a dozen times, but this time I peered into the filter and saw how yellow it was ... that's old grease build-up. (Barf!)

Done and dusted now!