Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Hint of Autumn

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Crunchy fallen leaves.  Cool breezes.  Cozy sweaters.  These are all hints of autumn.  However, those of us in Southern California are still wearing shorts and sleeveless tops.  I'd apologize, but I have nothing to do with the weather fairies.  Our younger daughter lives on the east coast, so we are well aware of the havoc that Hurricane Sandy is creating.  We hope everyone on the eastern side of the country will soon dry out. 

Even though autumn has not yet showed up here, I decided to put away all the summer paint colors and seek out autumn hues.

This sponged blue coat rack had been hiding (for good reason) for many years.  Our older daughter painted this in the mid '90s when sponging was "in."  It was high time to transform it into an autumn coat rack (just in case the temperature falls low enough for us to wear our coats). 

wooden coat rack

I chose a fun autumn scrapbook paper from my stash.  In fact, this entire project was created with everything on hand.  I especially like the words on this paper which evoke cool(er) weather ahead. 

Then I mixed together two colors of acrylic paint creating a mustard hue to complement the paper.

After a light sanding, I brushed two coats of paint onto the wood rack, completely covering the old blue color.

After the rack dried, I experimented with different embellishments to see what would match the best.  Although I like the way these flowers look, I decided to save them for another project.

This rack measures 23" wide x 3-1/2" tall.  I cut two pieces of paper, each 12" x 3", so when adhered to the wood, would expose 1/4" of the painted wood on either side.

To accent the sides of the paper, I "edged" the paper using Chestnut Roan chalk ink.  Chalk ink goes on smooth and is dry to the touch, so the ink doesn't smear. 

october craft ideas

OK, time to Mod Podge!  Be sure to cover both surfaces (in this case, the back of the paper and the front of the wood) to maximize the adhesive power of the Podge.

A roller will help eliminate possible air bubbles.

Although I painted the four knobs in the same mustard color as the wood rack, I decided to punch it up a bit and re-painted each one a different color, coordinating them with the paper.  Then I scoured through my sticker folder and found letter stickers, spelling out f-a-l-l.

letter stickers

Adding a multi-layered flower and raffia, the transformed coat rack is now ready for autumn! 
Now, if only the weather would cooperate.

home decor DIY for fall
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Spooky Socks Make for Easier Midterms

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There's finally hints of autumn here in Southern California.
A few dropped leaves. 
A few cloudy skies. 
Cooler weather (at least for a few days). 
And aisles of candy in the stores.
Of course, everyone knows that this means Halloween is near.   I think this is one of our favorite holidays--when we rush to the fabric store, only to find there aren't any more patterns left for sewing that "one-of-a-kind" fairy costume.  "Don't worry, we'll wing it (no pun intended)," she says to her pouty little girl.  And so it goes.  The last minute costume making. 
Oh how I miss those days!  [camera pans to woman crying, although we all know she's secretly jumping for joy.]  My girls are practically grown ups.  Daughter #1 is out on her own [and she can make her own costume now].  Daughter #2 is away in college.  So what's a crafty Mom to do? 
As I prowled strolled through Rite-Aid the other day, I spotted a sign that read "50% Off All Halloween Items".   Close by was an end aisle display of not-so-spooky colorful socks.  No, my feet weren't cold, but I instantly knew a few girls who might have cold toes. 
Without hesitation, I picked up four pairs of Halloween hosiery, as well as a few tubes of sweet treats, and set my crafty brain to work.
I wanted to get these into the mail the next day, to keep my daughter's (and her roommates') feet warm while they studied for their mid-terms.  It's cold on the east coast.  It's important to stay nice and cozy when you're staying up late at night, studying for exams.  I needed to package them quickly, but still with panache.
To the rescue:  cellophane bags, orange card stock and my printer. 
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Throw on a personalized tag, attach some treats, and off to the post office I went.

Here's hoping their warm feet and sugar rush will keep the girls' "spirits" up while studying late at night.  It's the least this Mom could do.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Framed in Chicken Wire & Burlap

While recently stumbling onto a yard sale, I picked up a beat-up, lonely picture frame [sans glass or artwork].  It was in bad shape.  I think it was going to be tossed into the nearby dumpster as it was sitting on the side of the yard and it was already the end of the day.  I offered to trade a crisp one dollar bill for the poor chap.  SOLD! 
I decided to take the frame out of its misery with a coat of the aqua "oops" paint I had previously used on my step stool.   One light coat made the decorative frame look distressed, so I didn't even have to sand it.

I've had an affinity for everything burlap lately, so I incorporated a recently acquired coffee bean burlap sack.  This one has a turquoise stripe down the center of the sack, complementing the frame's new hue.
I remembered that I also had some chicken wire hiding in my stash.  So why not use both the chicken wire AND the burlap?  [Double the effort?  Yes, indeed!]

For this project, I took out the "big girl" tools. 
[Usually, my tool kit is a bottle of decoupage and a foam brush.]
After CAREFULLY snipping the wire to fit the frame, I stapled the wire to the back, hammering the staples flat. 

OK, that was easy [just kidding].

After a quick coffee break, I measured and cut the burlap to size, trying my best to position the turquoise stripe to land in the center of the frame.

I folded painter's tape over the burlap edges, making it much easier to staple the burlap to the frame, and avoid frayed edges.
I could've stopped right there, but my "altered" state took over. 

From the leftover burlap, I cut five banners, stamped them with large alphabet letters [spelling "notes"], and then stitched them along the edges to minimize fraying.  Then I stitched the banners to a long piece of linen ribbon. Then sewed on a few vintage Parisian buttons (which I actually bought in a Paris flea market!)

Then hot glued the rest of my embellishments:

A few handcrafted burlap flowers

Wooden buttons tied onto the chicken wire with twine.

A few vintage [circa 1950's] clothespins

And now the frame has a new life combining function and fun.

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