Archive for the ‘ DIY projects ’ Category

I Love Decorative Painting

Back in 2002, when I started teaching classes in One Stroke Decorative Painting, I was quite surprised that the One Stroke organization did not have pre-planned courses for their One Stroke Certified Instructors to teach, along with supply lists, and step-by-step instructions. As a newly certified instructor, I struggled with planning the classes, and demonstrations, that I was holding at the local Michael’s Arts and Crafts store.

Perhaps if I had been painting for a number of years before becoming a certified instructor it would have been easier for me to plan the classes, but I really had only been painting less than a year before I became an instructor and landed the job at Michael’s.

I had been given the impression that I was going to get a lot more help with planning and executing the classes, and demonstrations that I was expected to hold. Because of this, I found myself spending at least eight hours planning and conducting a two-hour class, and getting paid very little money for the time I had invested.

To be honest, if I didn’t love decorative painting, and sharing what I had learned, and the great students that I had coming to classes, I probably would have thrown in the towel. But decorative painting is a lot of fun, and I didn’t want to give it up!

One of my favorite demonstrations that I did at the store, was with the Outdoor Paints that had been newly released by Folk Art Paints. The demonstration was done in only one hour, start to finish, with a wooden birdhouse. The photos above are the result of that demonstration that I had done. I can’t remember for sure what year that was (I wish I had written the date on the project) but I think it was in 2002.

I get a lot of compliments (and offers to buy) that cute little birdhouse! A few people have even commented that they think it is cute enough to be sold online on websites like YardEnvy.com. I considered selling it on Etsy, but my hubby insists that it is “his” birdhouse and he won’t let me sell it! It seems that every time I make something and talk about selling it, to generate a little bit of extra income, my hubby “rescues it” and claims it as “his” so it ends up staying home with us!

Easter Crafting

Decoupage Easter Eggs

Decoupage Easter Eggs

I don’t know what it is about spring that excites me about crafting with an Easter theme. I’ve never, ever, liked the smell of vinegar, so I have always hated the traditional Easter egg decorating.

Memories of my loving grandparents trying to get my siblings and me excited about dipping hard-boiled eggs into those little bowls of dye that smelled like vinegar make me cringe. They were kind, and patient, but I was not. After all, I did not like the smell of vinegar, and I did not like eating hard-boiled eggs.

Just the thought of eating something that I didn’t like in the first place, after ruining the pieces of art I was creating after suffering the offensive vinegar smell was just horrific to me! I’m sorry to admit that I was probably a pain in the neck during those times of decorating those Easter eggs!

But I guess that with the eruption of spring flowers, the urge to create spring-related, and Easter-related things gets to me. I try hard to resist, but now and then I succumb to the urge.

A few years ago I was watching a crafting television show on HGTV, and one of the topics was decoupaging Easter eggs. The show inspired me to try my hand at decoupage, and I had all of the supplies that I needed – some old plastic Easter Eggs, some glue, and some pretty, floral wrapping paper. The photo at the top of this page is a sample of some of the results, and I have to admit that I was pleased enough that these are displayed in a glass case all year-long in the foyer of my home.

I just found a YouTube video that demonstrates a similar technique to do what I did, although it is not exactly the same. I’ll admit that I really like the idea of decoupaging the half-eggs, and then filling the eggs with something special, but that is not what I had done. I simply decoupaged the entire egg so that it will never open. I am feeling inspired, though, to do what this video is demonstrating! And adding ribbons around the outside of the egg certainly makes it egg-stra special (pun intended.) I’m just not sure when I’ll have the time to actually DO this.

I will consider taking advantage of the after-Easter clearance sales to pick up some plastic eggs and put them in my craft-room storage closet for when I WILL have time, on a day when my hands don’t hurt too much to take on a crafting project.

Crafting

Duct tape wallets

Duct tape wallets

As you may know, my hands were injured several years ago in a traffic accident, and the pain in my hands has made it very difficult for me to use my hands to do most of the things that I love to do. But this year I decided that I would slowly try to do some of the crafting things that I used to love to do, and even though it hurt my hands a lot, and took me a long time, it was good to do a few of my beloved crafts again.

One of the things I enjoy doing is making duct tape wallets. I made several of them this autumn, with the expectation of selling them at a Holiday Bazaar held by the Jefferson Ruritans, but at the last minute I did not attend the Bazaar. So I ended up giving most of the duct tape wallets away as Christmas gifts instead.

Another item that I made, in anticipation of selling at the Holiday Bazaar, was a lot of the “infinity scarves” that you can make out of T-shirts. I had never made any of those before, so it was a fun, new learning experience, to make them. I have to admit, though that the rotary cutter blade got dull pretty quickly, and I went through a lot of them. And, putting the kind of pressure I needed to put on the rotary cutter hurt my hands so I had to ask other people to help with the cutting from time to time. Using regular scissors was just too painful, and I could only use the rotary blade for a short time. It took a long time to get these projects done, and I took a lot of pain relief products, but it was really gratifying to be able to create with my hands – even if it was just a little bit. I ended up giving several of those away for Christmas gifts as well.

And then there were the crochet dishcloths. I made a few of them, too. But crocheting really hurt my hands, too. I did give two or three of those away, too.

Thankfully I paced myself over a long period of time, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to create like that again – my hands really were quite unhappy with me! And that made me realize that the chances of me going back to work at a job that requires me to use my hands a lot are slim to none. And it will probably be a very long time before I do any more crafting.

Everyone that got one of the scarves, dishcloths, or wallets was really quite pleased, so I was at least glad for that.

Trash to treasure crafts

Clock made from a junk mail CD

Clock made from a junk mail CD

Since the school bus accident back in October of 2009 I have been unable to do many of the things that I love to do. For example, decorative painting. I am a One Stroke Certified Instructor, and I used to teach decorative painting at the Michael’s Arts and Crafts store in Augusta Maine. I loved to paint, and I love to share information that I have learned. As far as I’m concerned, if I have learned something and do not pass on that knowledge, then why did I bother to learn it in the first place? To keep knowledge to oneself seems to be extremely selfish!

Anyway, a few days ago I had the opportunity to show a guest in my home some of the things that I used to love to do. Naturally, one of the things that I am most proud of is my “Trash to Treasure” collection of items that I have crafted over the years.

I’ve always been mindful of the amount of trash that goes into our landfills, and pollute our environment. When we lived in Maine and we drove to our transfer station (used to be called “the dump”) there was a shed for recycling items. I used to sort, and recycle everything I could recycle and I would make the trip to the transfer station and put the sorted items into the bins.

Here in Virginia, recycling items is more challenging. Especially since I am not supposed to drive, and I don’t drive to the dump – we have a paid garbage pick-up service. To the best of my knowledge they don’t offer recycling bins as part of their service.

But I digress….

I am planning on randomly posting photographs of some of the crafty items that I have done in the past. I hope you enjoy them! And just to get it started, here is a photograph of a clock that I made from an old junk-mail CD. I painted it, installed some clock-works that I bought at Michael’s Arts and Crafts and then I turned it into a clock! It was fun, and easy, and I used it as a class project when I taught at Michael’s Arts and Crafts when we still lived in Maine.

Painting memories

Hand painted backsplash tile - strawberries

Hand painted backsplash tile – strawberries

I was rummaging around the basement, looking for a few things to take to the craft and lawn sale happening next month at the Community Center. I came across a box with a few kitchen backsplash tiles in it, and it brought back some memories from when I had the leisure time to paint. I haven’t painted since the school bus accident a few years ago, it hurts to hold a paint brush, so these memories of better days when I could do my One Stroke decorative painting whenever I wanted to paint are bitter-sweet.

A few years ago my mother-in-law decided to buy some new tiles from a local home improvement store to use as a back-splash all around her kitchen. She asked me to paint strawberries on them, to coordinate with her wallpaper.

That was my very first time painting on tiles! When I gave the finished tiles to my mother-in-law, she was thrilled! It would be very easy to glue some felt and ribbons to something like that to make a pretty gift! Or to glue cork to the back of it, put a couple of coats of extra-heat resistant finish on it and use it for a coaster or trivet.

I recently heard that my mother-in-law has re-done her entire kitchen. I wonder if the tiles are still there, or if they have been replaced with something else.

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