Monday, July 28, 2008

Gwen Frostic

Nature inspired products seem to be everywhere right now. A few years ago I stumbled on some great invitations while on vacation. And since Gwen Frostic, the artist (and poet) responsible for carving the linoleum blocks that created these nature inspired prints, is from Michigan I like them even more. Here are just a few of of my favorites that I picked up on my last trip to her store:

Her store, which reminds me of a little hobbit house, is located in Benzonia Michigan, however, if that's too far a drive for you, then you may want to check out the Gwen Frostic website or The Life and Wisdom of Gwen Frostic by Sheryl James.

Gwen Frostic Prints in Benzonia, Michigan.

The Life and Wisdom of Gwen Frostic, by Sheryl James

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Attractive Magnets

I have finally finished making my marble magnets and I wanted to share the easy step-by-step instructions with all of you.

Supplies needed for this project:
~Clear glass floral marbles. The marbles must have flat backs. You can also substitute colored floral marbles if you do not plan on adhering cut out images to the back of the marbles.
~3/4" Magnets
~E-6000 Industrial strength craft adhesive
~Magazines, photographs, and scrapbook paper.
~1/2" Round craft punch
I was able to purchase all of the necessary supplies at Michaels.

Step 1:
Go through any old magazines, photographs, and scrapbook paper scraps you have lying around the house. Use your 1/2" punch to cut out circles. The marbles will distort the image so try looking at the image under the marbles before you start gluing.

Step 2:
Glue the paper circles to the bottom of the marbles. Allow time for the glue to dry before adding the magnets. Otherwise, the images will slide out of place.

Step 3:
Glue the magnets to the marbles. The finished magnets will need to dry for 24 hours before you can start using them.

If you don't feel like making your own marble magnets you can also purchase them on Etsy. With my button push-pins and marble magnets complete all I need to do now is finish my framed bulletin boards so that I can finally put them to use. As always I'd love to get your opinions on this project as well as any other suggestions or comments you may have.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

One down and about a hundred more to go

Finally! I have finished one of my DIY craft projects. Originally it was going to be a framed monogram similar to this one from Jack and Lulu.

In place of the monogram I used the baby's name in the nursery colors.

Supplies I used for this project:
~Paper cutter
~1 sheet of pink and green paisley scrapbook paper from Michaels
~1 sheet of green scrapbook paper from Michaels
~Simple white frame from Target
~Mat from Michaels (the window in the mat for the frame that came from Target was too small)
~Exacto knife
~Pink glitter chipboard letters from Two Peas in a Bucket.

How I made it:
I first replaced the mat in the frame since the one that came with the frame had too small of a window. Next I cut down one sheet of pink and green paisley scrapbook paper so that it was 1/2" larger on all sides than the window in the mat. I then taped the paper to the back of the mat. Using an exacto knife I then cut the green sheet of scrapbook paper into letters that were slightly larger than the chipboard letters and glued the chipboard letters to the green paper letters to create a thin border around the letters. Then I glued the letters to the pink and green paisley scrapbook paper. Then I placed the whole thing in the frame and Voila! Wall art for my little Peanut's nursery.

Next on my DIY to do list; finish knitting a scarf for mom.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Preparing for Peanut

My husband and I are expecting our first child in late September. So we have begun preparing for our little Peanut. First thing on our to do list; refinish my old dresser to create a changing table for the baby. Since we knew we were having a girl, my husband and I headed to Home Depot for painting supplies and the perfect shade of pink paint. My husband was surprisingly helpful picking out just the right pink. It is amazing what a man will do to spend more time at Home Depot! We chose Behr Candy Coated (lighter pink) to paint the majority of the dresser and Behr Watermelon pink (darker pink) as an accent color that will be used just in the rectangular insets in the sides of the dresser and the drawer fronts. Hi-gloss enamel was a must since we wanted a paint that would be easy to clean. We are not done with it yet but here are some photos of what we have done so far.

Dresser drawer before stripping and sanding.

These are the original crystal drawer knobs. Since I plan on reusing them I soaked them in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and warm water.

Stripped and sanded dresser.

Primed dresser front.

Primed dresser side view.

Dresser with the first coat of Behr Candy Coated pink paint.

This is the Baby Pink changing pad from Land of Nod that will go on top of the changing table.

If you are considering refinishing a dresser (or other wood furniture) yourself, here is a list of the materials that you will need for the project, all of which can be found at your local hardware store:

~Chemical Stripper-some require mineral spirits to neutralize the chemical stripper so make sure you read the instructions.
~Sand paper
~Metal bristle brush or steel wool-I find the brush easier to handle than the steel wool.
~Primer (only if you are planning on painting not staining)
~Paint or Stain
~Paint Brushes and/or Rollers-Make sure that you buy good quality brushes, otherwise, you may get brush bristle stuck in the paint. Before using a new paint roller, be sure to run some painters tape over the roller to pick up any stray lint.
*You may also want chemical resistant gloves, a mask, and drop cloth or tarp.

Step one: Remove the drawers from the dresser and remove any existing hardware prior to stripping the dresser drawers. If you plan on using new hardware make sure that the new hardware will fit the holes left by the original hardware. If the new hardware does not fit the existing holes you will need to putty and sand the existing holes before repainting or staining and drill new holes in the drawer fronts.

Step two: Make sure that the area you are refinishing the dresser is well ventilated. Apply paint stripper and LET IT DO THE WORK then scrape it using the putty knife for larger areas and a metal bristle brush or steel wool for more intricate areas. You will more than likely need to repeat this step.

Step three: Sand. Repeat with a finer grit. Make sure to clean any dust from the surface prior to step four.

Step four: Prime and paint! This is the fun part. You may need to repeat this step and depending on the color. If your are staining rather than painting you do not need to prime. Let the paint dry before applying additional coats or else the bottom coat will never dry.

*If your dresser has veneer (a thin sheet of typically higher quality wood), using any sort of chemical stripper could damage or even dissolve the veneer if it is an extremely thin layer. You can use chemical stripper carefully if the veneer is thicker.