Archive for Creative

Life: Happy Halloween!

I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that I decided to be Grumpy Cat for Halloween. Here’s the making of Grumpy Cat:

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The make-up credit goes to my friend, Sandra, who did an amazing job! We celebrated last Saturday and while our neighborhood was quiet enough, there was a decent 90’s cover band at the local which kept us entertained. It beats trying to fight for taxis in the city. Here’s a few of us, all doing our best Grumpy Cat impressions:

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I think I won. Happy Halloween!

 

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DIY: Grumpy Cat painted pumpkin

When I visited the pumpkin patch last Sunday, I knew I wanted to paint a pumpkin this year. Carving is fun, but it’s definitely not my forte; and while all of my craft supplies are in storage, I knew it would be very cheap to pick up everything I needed (like $6 cheap).

Of course I perused Pinterest for inspiration, but I ultimately found my guide while randomly google searching Grumpy Cat and stumbled across this fleece hat.

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I loved that it was simple and very paint-by-numberish.

Here’s what I started out with:

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  • Small cream pumpkin ($3.50 at the patch)
  • 6 AC Moore brand paint bottles ($0.59 each)
  • Small set of pain brushes ($1.99 with a coupon!)

Next, I lightly sketched the outline onto my pumpkin. I tried a pencil, but had to use a pen in the end. I tried not to draw full lines, assuming it would come back to haunt me later.

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And then I just started to fill in areas, allowing them to dry before painting anything else around them.

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One painful part of this project was the paint didn’t really adhere to the pumpkin as well as I wanted to. It could have been because my paint was $0.59 or because the pumpkin is slick. Either way, I was determined to make it work. So I just kind of dabbed in the small areas to fill it in and did several coats. For the larger areas, I did strokes but definitely painted them 3-4 times to get the effect I wanted. Here’s my first run at the eyes:

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I admit I was a little nervous this would quickly become a DIY fail, but a few coats later and I was up to this:

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I know the white doesn’t look brilliant here, but bear with me. I pretty much had to stop at this point because it was getting late and it was a good chance for it to dry overnight. The next morning, I did a quick touch-up on the brown around the eyes and 2 more coats of the white to even it out a bit. And finally, I put in the small details like the outline around the ears, eyes, and nose/mouth.

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I could have probably lined a few more areas, but I decided that less is more in this scenario. I know it’s not perfect, but I did say this was a DIY. In my opinion, it’s the small imperfections that make it perfect. So without further ado, my no carve Grumpy Cat Halloween pumpkin:

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I think I’m in love!

DIY: Paper mache Easter eggs

Next weekend, my mom, my sister, and her 2 munchkins are coming to visit for Easter.

Since the kiddos are coming to visit, I knew I wanted to make them something fun for Easter. Of course, my sister and I talked about dying eggs or mini egg hunts in the park, but as soon as I saw this DIY over at not martha, I knew this was how I’d rack up major Auntie points. Check out her tutorial and then see how I did it below.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • Colored tissue paper
  • White tissue paper
  • Balloons
  • Mod podge
  • Sponge applicator
  • Shot glass
  • String & clothes pins (not pictured)
  • Candy (not pictured)

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Note: not martha used liquid laundry starch as her paper mache, but I used watered down mod podge (roughly 2 parts water, 1 part mod podge). I couldn’t find the liquid starch and I didn’t want to make my own paste using flour because I knew I wanted to make the eggs at least a week in advance and they warn that the flour paste can mold.

So, I watered down the mod podge and went with a watery consistency. Basically, I used what I thought would hold – you know, be enough glue, but also enough water. Now, let’s get started…

1. First, cut out your tissue paper. For the white, I worked in 3 to 4″ strips (mine were roughly cut). I then applied it to my balloon. Use the shot glass when needed to hold your balloon.

Note: my first 2 eggs only had 1 or 2 layers of white tissue paper, I’d recommend at least 3 to 4 to give them a sturdier/thicker base. You’ll see why a bit later on.

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2. Next, cut out your colored tissue paper. I did the polka dots like not martha and cut a 2 inch strip and folded it back on itself. I used my shot glass to trace a circle and then cut it out. After, cut all the pieces a part. photo(124)

3. Apply your colored tissue paper making sure your pieces overlap a bit, but not in the dotted area. For areas where you can’t fit a whole piece or fit the dot, I just filled in with the colored tissue paper, amply applying my paste. Save your excess tissue paper for later.

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4. When you’ve completed your egg, hang it up to dry overnight. Yes, overnight. So just wash, rinse, and repeat and make a few more of these little guys while you’re waiting for the others to dry.

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5. When your eggs are dry (the next day), cut a hole in the balloon to let all the air out. At this point, you’ll be able to remove the balloon from the top. Now, don’t freak out if your balloon kind of imploded on itself like below. This happened because I didn’t use enough tissue paper base. But, I kept calm and pushed it back out to form from the inside, using my fingers.

Note: this did NOT happen on my second batch of eggs where I used more tissue paper. There was a dimple or two, but nothing like this.

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6. Cut a slit from the top down the side; avoid cutting any of the white areas. You’ll use your colored tissue paper to patch this up later.

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7. Now, the fun part! Stuff it with candy 🙂

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8. After you’ve added all the candy you want, make a pull tab and patch up your egg. not martha suggested the pull tab as an easy way for the kids to ‘crack’ the egg back open. Made sense to me!

I used card stock and thick string and placed it in the slit. Then I used the colored tissue paper to paper mache it closed again. You’ll need to let this dry for at least another day.

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9. After you’ve filled all your eggs and allowed them to dry, enjoy! I had so much fun with this project that I made 3 more chocolate filled eggs. 1 for the BF and 2 for some very lucky friends.

Aren’t they adorable?

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DIY project regrets?

If I did the project again:

  1. I’d probably use smaller balloons. not martha suggested water balloons, but I already had some on hand. Of course, I do kind of like the dinosaur effect they’ve got going!
  2. Use more tissue paper on the base. I did this the second time, but not on the eggs going to my niece and nephew.

DIY: Painted bead necklace

I can’t remember how I first stumbled across Laura Parke, but I’ve been bookmarking a few of her crafts for awhile now. I think the first one I knew I had to make was this painted wooden bead necklace. It was simple, yet so fun.

I kept putting it off because for whatever reason, I couldn’t find the right wooden beads. That is until I went a little craft crazy with my mom last week in NC. I think we visited A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, and  Michael’s at least 3 times that week…not to mention all the bead boutiques! I was appalled to learn how lacking my own craft stores were.

Anyways, after a few days of scavenging for craft supplies, I was finally ready for this simple DIY. Laura gives a thorough step-by-step tutorial and even suggests using painters tape for clean lines, but I like to live on the edge and free-handed my project.

To get started, you need:

  • 10 wooden beads
  • craft paint, colors of your choice
  • paint brush
  • necklace (I used cord)
  • clasps

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1. First, paint your beads cream. Laura actually left hers natural, which I didn’t realize until after. But, no bother, I like the cream base.

2. Next, paint the colored bit. Here’s where Laura used painters tape. Note: I did have to give my beads a few coats of paint, but I put that down to the quality of my craft paint.

3. While your beads are drying, sort the clasp for your cord/chain. I used a lobster clasp & cord crimps (I think that’s what they’re called) since the cord I had was too thick for crimp beads. Only attach one side so you can still slide on your beads.

4. Check the inside of the beads to see if there are any shavings stuck inside. If so, use your paint brush to push and clear it out.

5. String your necklace with like colors together as above (i.e. cream to cream, pink to pink). You may notice a bit of paint transferred onto my cord. This was due to my own impatience as I thought my beads were dry, but apparently there was a tiny spot of wet paint inside.

6. Lastly, add your other cord crimp and the other half of your lobster claw. And voila!

Even though there’s a little bit of paint on my cord, I’m really pleased with the finished product. I have to say, the more jewelry I make, the more I like this little hobby. In related news, I wore one of my mom’s jewelry creations out on Saturday night and I just have to share…more or less, because I’m so proud of her talent. Isn’t it gorgeous?

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DIY: T-shirt necklace

I have a lot of craft items in my apartment just waiting to be crafted so this month, I decided I would refrain (as much as possible) from buying new craft things until I knocked out a lot of the freebies I had around the place. This is particularly true for my fabric collection that’s slowly growing arms and legs under my bed. However, that’s neither here nor there as this DIY was not only completely free, but it also helped me clean up a bit of clutter too!

As I was de-cluttering it up a few weeks back, I decided that I didn’t need all my sorority girl tees from college anymore. I’ve slowly been weeding them out over the past 5 years and this time I got it down to just 1 or 2, mostly to keep for the winter months since they are long sleeved. However, I did keep one brightly colored tee for a recycled craft I found many months ago from here. See how I upcycled an old tee below:

To get started, you’ll need:

  • t-shirt of choice
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • chalk to mark your lines
  • embroidery thread

1. First lay your tee out flat removing all the bumps and lumps, especially on the bottom layer.

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2. Use your ruler to mark lines. About 3/4 of an inch between each line.

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3. After you have enough, start cutting. Cut off the hem and discard.

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4. After you’ve finished cutting, take the strips of tee and pull at each end so they curl (as shown on the right in the pic below).

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5. As you pull & curl, lay them down in to a pile so all the ends are together. The original project says you can just secure them together and go from there, but my pulled tee turned out to be fairly large/long. I grabbed some embroidery thread in the same color and secured both ends.

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6. I matched those ends together making sure it laid nicely as a necklace and wrapped it with an extra piece of the tee to give it a more finished look. Look in the mirror to see the back of the necklace.

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And voila, an upcycled t-shirt necklace.

Usually, I never really review a DIY as it’s sort of a given that I love it if I’m posting about it. However, I feel compelled to say I was little underwhelmed by the final product here, but decided to post about it after the 150+ reblogs and comments that happened over on my Tumblr. It is nice and I’ll probably keep it for a few years and most likely wear it as a scarf as opposed to a necklace, but I don’t see it staying in my DIY collection forever. There’s just something about it that’s not totally my style. In the end it cost me zilch to craft, so if I throw it away then no big deal. At least I got my creative juices flowing for $0.

DIY: Studded clutch

I spotted a stud tutorial over on I Spy DIY awhile back and had it in my head that I could do that! My only problem was finding the right materials. I kept going to the craft stores thinking I’d find what I needed; when in truth, I should have just taken Jenni’s, from I Spy DIY, shopping advice. I finally did and scored everything I needed from M&J Trimming.

When I started this project, I had plans for something funky, but as it turns out I ordered the wrong color hotfix nailhead and decided that instead of fussing over a return, I’d find a way to use them as a test run for future projects.

Is my final product conservative and simple? Yes, absolutely. Do I still love it? Without a doubt!

It gave a renewed purpose to a worn out accessory that I bought for 2 euros at a neighborhood sale in the Netherlands back in 2007 – how could I not be pleased?

Pictured below:

  • 1 old loved envelope clutch
  • Black hotfix nailheads from M&J
  • E-6000 glue (with the tip for easy application)

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I also made good use of some jewelry pliers, as I discovered I do not have nimble fingers.

To get started, I laid out my clutch (flap open) and started to apply the nailheads on the back, placing them with the jewelry pliers:

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I continued all the way around the front and applied close to 100 nailheads. The project itself took me just under an hour once I found my groove. And voila, an updated studded clutch:

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*Note: Jenni recommends you let your project dry overnight. Seems logical. Plus, that means it’ll be more than ready for a night out on Saturday!

The happiness project

It’s Tuesday, nothing new to report except that yesterday I embarked on a 5 year journey. No big deal.

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I’m sure you’ve seen it around and maybe even beat me to reading the book, but I was strolling around B&N yesterday and stumbled across The Happiness Project journal. I snatched it up right away and began my journey on January 14, 2013.

If you haven’t heard of this project before, it’s as simple as what it says on the cover. A few lines a day and that’s that. The scope of the entries may change a bit after I do read the book, but I couldn’t wait. I had to get started. My yearly goals have always been about making me a happier and healthier person, this year I’ll just have a daily documentary.

Anyone else doing The Happiness Project?

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