Sunday, May 18, 2014


Have a Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Toy Box for Peter

I found this great wooden box while thrifting. (Value Village)

I didn't measure it, but it's a good sized box, perfect for a little boy I know to store his cars and other treasures.

The top was embossed with a logo, but I figured I could work with that. I didn't have a plan when I bought it, but I wound up using a couple of the same techniques I'd used with my Art Club for this project. 

I lightly sanded the top of the box and then added some blobs of acrylic craft paint. 

I used a credit card to scrape the paint over the surface. Once the paint dried, I collaged letters cut free hand from an old street map. I also cut small squares from the map to add as a border (and to cover the logo.)  I added a couple more coats of glossy Mod Podge to make sure they were going to stay put. I gave it to him for Christmas along with some also-thrifted metal Matchbox cars.

And when we visited the grands last month, I saw that Peter was putting his box to good use, filling it with the toys and treasures a boy (who is five years old today!!) loves to keep.

Grand kids grow even faster than your own kids. Did you know that?

Make it a Wonderful Day!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wash Cloth Gift Wrap

Here's a quick baby gift wrap idea to add some fun color that's useful too.

 Simply roll up a cute collection of baby wash cloths that you've purchased or made yourself and add to the top of your gift. (I love having white gift wrap on hand- it works for every type of event!)

I used a strip of double-sided tape to hold the wash cloths in place. Tie with a ribbon and you're good to go! (I slipped the card under the ribbon on the back of the gift.) 

Make it a Wonderful Day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Art Club Reverse Painting on Glass

This was a great project from a few months back.

We used a permanent silver Sharpie and acrylic paints directly on the back side of the glass for our framed artwork. I teach at three schools and used different frame sources at each school. For one, I purchased a variety of small frames at a thrift store. (Value Village).  Another school used square frames I purchased a while back (years!) in the dollar section at Target. And the matt-painted ones were purchased at Ikea- some white and some black. 

Did you know that Kandinsky did over 30 paintings using the reverse painting on glass technique, and that he painted the frames too?  He used this folk art technique to explore color and luminosity. I shared photos of his beautiful paintings and then we got to work. 

I gave each artist a piece of paper and the glass that I had removed from the frames. 
(NOTE: If you label the glass, backing, and frame to keep them together for each artist, it will save you a lot of time trying to get them all back together. The cheaper the frame, the more trouble you may have getting them to fit back together easily. Maybe a zip lock bag with each person's name and all the parts??) I didn't do this…and so spent way too long trying to get glass and backing boards to fit together!)

Each artist carefully traced their glass on the paper, and then drew their artwork inside that outline. I reminded students to not use letters or numbers as they would be reversed once the artwork was completed.

I suggested that we do buildings or "quilt squares", but I allowed lots of choice here. So some artists chose a winter theme instead.

Leaving their drawing under the glass, artists traced their design onto the glass with the silver Sharpie. (We used the regular metallic Sharpie, not the oil based kind.)
Next, they painted with regular acrylic craft paint. (No need for special glass paint, as the paint winds up on the back of the glass, protected from any scratching or wear.) Be careful not to scrub the paint on, as it can lift the silver ink.

 Details had to be drawn with the silver ink first or painted FIRST. More than a couple kids added tiny details as you would normally on top of bigger areas of color, only to realize they wouldn't show from the other side.

Once dry, we I covered the painting with black paint. Yes, this step had a few of the kids concerned! I assured them all would look great from the other side of the glass. 

I love how the black showing through emphasized the brush strokes in the paintings below. 

One school used the extra paint on their pallets to add patterns to their frames, which I then coated with a high gloss acrylic medium.

I hadn't planned on the connection, but there happened to be a show at the Bellevue Arts Museum that included beautiful reverse painting on glass by Cappy Thompson. I had been planning on doing a reverse painting on glass lesson for a number of years, and had decided this was going to be the year! What a happy surprise that I could let the kids know about a contemporary artist using this technique who was also having a show nearby. (And we had our CD weaving installation up at the museum at the same time!)
I loved that my students who visited the museum had a greater appreciation for Cappy's beautiful work and that they could share a bit of the process with their families.

Make it a Wonderful Day!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Decades Double Irish Chain

This is a quilt I started before I was a quilter. I think it was a "Quilt in a Day" pattern. For me, that meant DECADES, not days.... I got the top made alright, but then it sat unquilted in my closet for YEARS.

The colors are sort of a sea-foam green and white, but it's old enough I don't remember why I thought these were the colors I'd like. I really like more of a bold-is-beautiful color pallet. This fabric must have spoken to a mood I was in at the moment.

The backing is a solid that reminds me of a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt from the 30's, and the binding is a from my stash…it looks like it might be from another completely different decade ('90's?), but the color was close-ish, so I went with it. The quilt measures about 50x50, and thanks to Terry for long-arm quilting it for me.

Now to find a good home for it. There are lots of people who might want a lap quilt or a baby quilt, even one that's been stashed in my closet for too long. Unfinished quilts don't keep anybody warm. So I'm really trying to get quilts finished and moved out into the world so they can be put to good use.

Make it a Wonderful Day!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

60 for 60

I've been knitting. Quite a bit. But not on needles. Nope, knitting needles and I don't get along. I start out okay, but then I just get tighter and tighter and pretty soon, I can't get the stitches off or the needle in. But loom knitting works for me.

I bought this Nifty Knitter ring at a thrift store (Value Village), along with the three larger sizes that come in the set. I paid less than $5 for the set, but if you buy a new set, expect to pay $15-$20. This is the only size I've used so far, but that's because I have a goal in mind. I am making 60 scarves to donate by my 60th birthday. I've made 41 so far, so only 19 to go before July 24th.

Loom knitting's been around for a long time- as far back as the 16th Century. It may have begun as finger knitting. (I always wonder how people figure out things like this!)

I remember making a "corking" spool when I was in grade school. It was a red wooden spool with four nails pounded in the top. The knitted cord was created in the center hole of the spool, making a long rope that could then be sewn together in a spiral to make a trivet or other such item. I liked the calm process even then.

Each scarf if double thick with the tube sewn closed on each end. They vary a bit in length, but they all are about 64 inches long and about 5 inches wide.  I use Lion Brand Homespun yarn, available at craft stores. (It's the 6 oz. size, 185 yards.) It's a very soft yarn, easy to work with, and comes in a variety of colors, as you can see. I fold up the finished scarves, tying them with a bit of the same yarn to keep them neat and organized.

My grand girls all have made scarves and hats knitting with these rings- the youngest is 6, so that gives you an idea of my knitting skills. :D

Maybe I'll see if they'd like to make scarves to donate too, in honor of their birthdays. They wouldn't have to make as many as I am, that's for sure!! But it's fun to have a goal to work toward that helps others at the same time. These scarves will be given to homeless men and women- a touch of love along with the warmth they'll provide.

Make it a wonderful day!  (And Happy Birthday to our son Ryan, serving in Afghanistan. We love you and miss you and can't wait for you to come home to us.)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quick Moss Wreath

We've had a plain twig wreath on our front porch for a while, so I thought I'd give it an update for St. Patrick's Day and Spring. I may add some flowers to it for Easter too.

 The moss was used in a beautiful "woodland themed" wedding reception designed by my daughter-in law Dea, and I've been saving it for a couple of years. She was going to throw it away, but she asked me if I wanted it…of course I said yes! The rusty wire is from I don't know where. (I love that when anyone is getting rid of some artsy/crafty supplies, they ask me if I want them. Usually, I say yes. So thank you to whoever gave me the wire.) You can purchase wire and moss at craft or floral shops if you don't have leftovers like I did.

I set clumps of the moss on the front of the wreath, wrapping the wire around. Cover small areas at a time and secure with wire as you go. (I didn't cut the wire, just left in on the paddle. It made it very easy to manage.) The wire  disappeared into the moss.

Some of the moss is brighter green than the rest, so if you make a moss wreath, mix up the clumps so you have an even distribution of color.  I'll remember to do that…next time.

Add caption

So this last photo is of our front lawn, if you can call it that.  We live in the Pacific Northwest, with lots of evergreen trees. Over the years, we've taken out the lawn in our backyard and in the most of the front yard. But I wanted some open area to play on with the grands. We're not into using chemicals to fight the moss, so this is the result. Any ideas? I think the best option is to love the moss… and the dandelions that will join the moss in a few weeks.

Have a Wonderful Day!