Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pretty Pink Birthday Tag

I made a pretty pink tag for my sister's birthday.  You know, my sister... whose birthday was last month....I made a gorgeous card...YAY ME!....and.... it still sits on my counter.  Not so Yay Me.  I still have Hanukkah gifts from last December waiting to go to my in laws'.  Noticing a pattern here?  There came a point when FedEx'ing them was more embarrassing than keeping them.  I can only hope that getting twice as much this year will help ease any hurt feelings over it.

Back to my card.  It's sorta a big ol' Tim Holtz on a tag if Tim was a pink and frilly girl.  I started with a combination of pink and white Distress Stains and Paints.  I used Picket Fence Distress Paint and Picked Raspberry and Worn Lipstick Stains.  I added the label collage stamp from Paris Memories using black Archival Ink.  The collage image is quickly becoming one of my favorite images, especially for backgrounds, because it looks so amazing over any color.
After drying the stain/paint mess and adding some Picked Raspberries Distress Ink and flicking on some water droplets, I began the embellish.  And embellish I did.  First, I added 3 rosettes made using Alternations Paper Rosette and Mini Paper Rosettes.  I cut the rosettes from Serenade by Basic Grey.  This line of paper is one of my all time favorites.  Both the patterns and the color palate are spectacular.
I added Tissue Tape and a gorgeous metallic silver Washi Tape from MT.  The pink glitter is Tim's new Distress Glitter in Picked Raspberries.  Honestly, the jury is out on what I think of his glitter.  I love that it doesn't have the static electricity problem that other glitter has. In other words, it doesn't fly all over the place.  But, it isn't nearly as sparkly as Martha's glitter.  I think I will end up loving it; it's just different.  The top rosette has a small piece of Christmas garland glued into the center.  I hit it with the heat gun to curl it up a little.  
The "smile" is a Idea-ology Chit Chat word on a bottle cap cut from Alternations Mini Bottle Cap and Stamp.  I attached a paper star and the bottle cap to Idea-ology Memo Pins and stuck them behind the rosettes.   I made a tiny flag using silver Washi tape and a decorative tooth pick and placed it behind the star.  
The silver glittered stars are Studio Calico Wood Veneer Tiny Stars. I added Martha Stewart Old Gold glitter and glued them randomly on the card with a small dot of Crystal Accents.  The seam binding is 1/4 seam binding from  Zipper Stop.   I colored it using the leftover "mess" from coloring the tag background.  Finally the tab on the left edge is an Idea-ology File Tab.  

Keep your fingers crossed that I will get it mailed before she turns a year older :D

I hope your day is filled with Sunshine and GLITTER. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sentiment Frame Tutorial

I actually had the idea for this project back when I was working on Brandin's wedding but I had too many projects going and I never got around to making it.  When my friends celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in early August-and requested "no gifts"-I knew this was perfect opportunity to make the frame.  Yes, it is a gift, but it is a small gift- so it fit the bill....er...close enough.  
I started with a frame I got on clearance at Target.  ***ProTip (this is the word my 8-year-old tells me when he gives me video game advice).  ProTip: Target sale stickers have a tiny number in the upper right hand corner.  That number is the percentage off.  You will find a lot of 15's in that corner.  I like to wait around to see at least a 50 there.


  • Frame: Look for a frame with a wide flat portion to hold your letters. 
  • Letters: You can use several different products here- I first planned on using the Idea-ology Alpha Parts but ended up using the letters from Idea-ology Grunge Blocks.
  • Ruler- I prefer Tim's Idea-ology Tonic Design Ruler (I love you Tim, but that name is Ridic). 
  • Glue- I used Glossy Accents because it dries quickly and works on multiple surfaces.  Gel Medium would work as well.  
  • Paint- I used a grey/stone color.  In hindsight....I shoulda picked a different color.
  • Foam Brush
  • Washi Tape or blue painters tape, something low tack
  • Idea-ology Grunge Blocks
1. Decide what you want to say.  I went with "This is Our Happily Ever After" with the intention they would put a photo of their 2 kids or their 2 kids, the spouses, and the 3 grandkids inside the frame.   However, this would also be a great wedding gift for a wedding photo of the newlyweds.  I can also see something pertaining to a new baby and blue, pink, or yellow paint being perfect in a nursery.  A Winnie The Pooh Quote or a Mother Goose rhyme would be precious.  Use your imagination here.
2.  Get the letters out.  The Grunge Blocks are a mishmash of  fonts and sizes so I played around and varied the shapes and sizes until I like what I had.  Instead of Grunge Block letters, you could use white letter stickers, Alpha Parts, chipboard letters, or letters cut from cardstock using a die cut machine.   Just be sure the letters can be painted over so.  I want the words to blend in with the background.  If you want your words to stand out, then be sure to put them on AFTER you paint the frame. 

3.  Loosely lay out the letters until you like the way they look.  I decided my design needed 3 rows.
4.  Using a ruler to keep the line straight, I laid down a strip of Washi tape.  The tape is strictly to help line things up and it will be pulled up and thrown away so don't use your favorite pattern and stick to a low-tack tape.  Here I have about half the tape laid down straight (the left half), the second half hasn't been straightened out.
 5.  Use the lower edge of the tape as a guide for placing the letters down.
 6.  Using the ruler to add a second row of tape below the first one.
 7. And finally a 3rd row.

 8. I laid the words out to see if I still liked the layout before any glue came into the area.
 9.  Because the letters I used had to be punched off a backing sheet, there is an occasional blip? bump? hanging chad?  Whatever they are called, one cannot ignore these atrocities... so get rid of them.  Scissors, sand paper (cheap nails files are easy to have on hand), or an Xacto blade can help you in this mission.  

10.  Once the letters have all been under the knife, it is time to get the glue.  I pulled the the back so that one letter at a time could be glued in place.  This allowed me to keep the straight line as a reference.
11.  Gluing is always tricky.   While it may dry clear, it will show once you paint the surface.  So be careful and take your time and avoid the glue spooge.
12.  I used a sophisticated weight system to keep the ltters flat and in place while the glue bonded.  A spray bottle full of water did the trick.
13.  I let the glue dry overnight- although Glossy Accents dries much faster than that, I didn't want to have any issues with excess moisture.
14.  I painted the frame with 2 coats of Martha Stewart Paint.  I didn't need to prep the surface of the frame but if yours has a thick sealant or is very shiny you should use a fine sand paper to scuff up the surface before you add the paint.  You do have to be careful to get paint around all the letters while keeping it from pooling in the tiny spaces.  Take your time.
15.  This is after 1 coat of paint.  I must find the photo of the completed project.  It looked just like this but the paint was even...visualize that now.  Thank you.

Oh look, I found it...

I hope you day is filled with Sunshine and GLITTER

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our Cottage: A Quick Kitchen MakeOver

A few years ago we bought a cottage about 3 hours north of us on the gorgeous Higgins Lake.  
Yes, that beautiful, crystal CLEAR, lake is in Michigan.  This is a shot taken near the "drop off".  Clearly there is an abrupt and deep drop off near a perfect place to swim.  My kids love swimming there and every time they speak about it all I can hear in my mind is Nemo's dad telling him it's too dangerous and Nemo's friends chanting "Nemo touched the butt".
The cottage is...interesting to say the least.  It is pretty big for the area.  We have the original floor plan
Shooting from the living room area into the kitchen/dining area.
Shooting from kitchen end into the living room are
which includes the living room/kitchen/eating area and 2 bedrooms as well as a small full bathroom.  But the original owners built on and connected the garage to the house, turning the garage (with it's cement slab) into the master bedroom leaving a large extra room between the old house and the master bedroom.  
Yes that is PINK carpet.
Between playroom and master bedroom.
This is now the "playroom" for the kids stuff.  There is also a small laundry area and lots and lots of storage space.  We turned the closet in this "playroom" area into a small half bath.  But the biggest problem remains... it stinks.  The former owner lived there full-time and with an 800-pack-a-day cigarette habit so you can just imagine what it smelled like in there.  It stinks.  Add the pink/mauve carpet in the bedroom, the oh-so-swinging paneling throughout, and a bathroom that...well let's just say it hadn't been updated in the last 400 years.  It stinks.  When one smokes that much it does more than stink up the placer....it discolors everything.  And it stinks.  In full disclosure (#1) it doesn't always stink....anymore.  But we  my husband has worked hard to seal all surfaces behind layers of paint to keep that smell at bay.  And I think it is finally working.  As of last summer he had painted everything. ..except the kitchen cabinets.  As this seemed an obvious source of continued stink, I am not sure why those weren't painted- oh wait,  I know damn well why they weren't painted.  They are a pain to paint.

But after painting all the walls in all of the rooms, replacing that hideous pink/mauve carpet in the master bedroom with a "wood looking" vinyl product (the rest of the carpet was new), having the place professionally ozoned twice, cleaning the cabinets and everything with TSP...it still smelled bad on hot days.  Like really bad...like it burned my nose bad.

I complained enough that Rick decided to paint the cabinets and they look fabulous.  (disclosure #2: I didn't plan ahead on blogging this so we don't have good "blog-worthy shots" and in fact these are all iPhone pictures that he took to send to me since I was home ill during this process).
 Before: God I HATE oak cabinets.  Especially this orangy oak that is everywhere.  Blech.
 More Blech. 
Ignore the top cabinets at this point.  This is a "before" of the bottom cabinets.  For reference.  
Two things have heavily influenced the color palate and decor of out cottage: 
1. It is a cottage near a gorgeous lake
2.  It came empty with nothing but the ugly pink carpet, the hideous paneling and cigarette smell 
Talk about blank slate...I decided early one that I wanted to go blue and white for the living area.  It is sorta ironic because Rick suggested we go to white walls at home in preparation for possibly selling the place and I went all ape crazy on him.  NO WAY AM I LIVING WITH WHITE WALLS... at home.  At the cottage?  PERFECT.  So the paneling was a painted white white in the living room and kitchen area.  The kitchen table was stained (don't ask) and the chairs will someday be painted white.  I recovered the seats in a beachy teal/blue/sand stripe fabric.   When we decided to paint the cabinets I wanted to keep the beach theme going because it really is just one big room.  
We decide to paint the cabinets with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  You probably know that it is hard to find- there are two stores on the West side of Michigan that sell it.  Neither is near my house.  Luckily one isn't far from the cottage and they had all sorts of color charts of paint mixes that Rick photographed and texted to me.  Yes, this is actually how we chose out paint colors.  In the end, after much texting and phone talking, we stuck with Pure White and Provence. 

***If you have never heard of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint , I am not sure what to say....get with the program people...it's the biggest thing in home make-over and furniture refurb to hit the bloggosphere and Pinterest.  Annie Sloan has a great website with a lot of helpful information on using the product.  A quick Google search will also yield hundreds of YouTube videos of people using the product.  Check it out. 
One reason we went with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is the ease of use and the fact that priming isn't necessary.  Unfortunately, after Rick had two coats on the top cabinets, he started seeing grease marks bleeding through.  So, I guess the caveat to Annie Sloan not needing a primer is "it doesn't need primer as long as the cabinets have not been exposed to an 800 pack-a-day smoker and probably a lot of greasy cooking".  After he plopped on some primer and repainted them they look great. 
 I LOVE LOVE LOVE the bottom cabinets in this blue color.  It is a super awesome color and a super awesome look.  But best of all....a super awesome odor.  The cabinet knobs are little clocks from Anthropologie.
Chronograph Knob ($8.00).  They aren't cheap but they look terrific and we didn't need that many.  While I was searching for the link and picture to show you, I found a few more gorgeous knobs that would also look terrific on my new cabinets. 
 Compass Knob ($8)
 Druzy Quartz Knob ($18 Yikes)
The hook hanging on the end of the cabinet is similar to this one with our last initial on it.  Ceramic Letter Hook($14)

Lots of people just go ahead and paint the hardware but we decided to avoid a potential mess with chipping paint since these doors get a lot of use.   It is certainly a personal preference.
My favorite part?  When I walk into the kitchen, forgetting it is painted, and see all that clean, bright, new, gorgeous color.  It just makes me smile. 

I hope you day is filled with Sunshine and GLITTER. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Inspiration Mixed Media Piece

If you've been around here long enough, you may remember that I made a mixed media piece for the dance studio that my daughter attends.  Ryann has danced at this studio for 6 or 7 years.  I adore that place and the owner is one of the nicest people I know.  Last summer they did a major remodel and I wanted to do something they could hang on the wall.  I asked the owner what her favorite word was and she chose "Inspire".   Because a large number of dance students are little ballerinas and because it is a dance studio...not avant-garde coffee house...I made the piece a tad more "girly" than I would normally chose.
I originally posted about the project here with a tutorial on how to begin a mixed media canvas piece.  My daughter was sick last year and had to quit dance before the piece was hung up on the wall.   Tonight was the first time she has been back since so I asked her to get a photo with her iPhone.  The colors are way off- I'm sure if it is because of the iPhone itself or because the wall color is a vivid apricot (I cropped the wall color off of the photo in Photoshop- the gray that you see is the square they painted for the letters to hang over top of).  Luckily, I photographed the individual letters in my studio before I gave it to Katie.  The colors are accurate in my photos.  
This is Very Very Girly piece....so...I added bling...
and glass glitter....
and rub-ons of crowns and lace....
and Idea-ology Tissue Tape (not so much "girly" but oh so "Danee-y")...
and feather marabou.
I added "dance" words randomly over all the canvases using both alphabet stamps and my horrible handwriting.
I chose to use a variety of canvas sizes but you could easily do them all the same size or maybe make the first letter larger than the rest.  It is just personal preference.  The variety of sizes just gives the piece a more playful feeling and again my audience is largely slanted toward 3-8 year old ballerinas and their moms.  This would look terrific in a girls bedroom spelling out her name or "dance" or "princess" or whatever your heart-and hers- desires.

I hope your day is filled with Sunshine and GLITTER.