Monday, August 29, 2011

If at first you don't succeed... a diorama.

Isn't that how it goes?

So you might remember last week's disaster. I spent some time this week fixing it. This time, rather than hanging them up in front of some cute paper and calling it a day, I got crafty.

This is the same box, with the same background and same figurines, but I added a little context. The tree is a bunch of lengths of twine, twisted and hot-glued to the box, with some die-cut "leaves" and button-apples. I figured I'd have the Lion hiding behind it and the Tin Man nearby like he might chop it down. Dorothy, of course, is on the yellow brick road, and since the Scarecrow was conveniently positioned like he was on the scarecrow-ing pole (do those have a name?), I made him one out of a stick.

With the balloon (die cut and stamps by Papertrey Ink), I was trying to make it look like it was floating up behind the tree, but from some angles it just looks like it's coming out of the Tin Man's head. If I can think of a way to move it without leaving adhesive behind or tearing the background, I probably will.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hearth Centerpiece

I just finished working on the other main element of my over-the-hearth setup - this gorgeous framed board game that was hanging in my room when I was a kid. It's called "The Wonderful Game of Oz" and I think it's from the 30s? Maybe the 40s?

It was originally framed in red (double-glassed, because of the beautiful art on the back), and when we painted my room lavender, it got a new coat of paint. You can see both colors and the back glass here. (And yes, that's my sonic screwdriver behind it... I actually use it ALL the time because it's the easiest screwdriver to find and has 6 different heads. And it makes cool noises while I'm using it...)

The lavender doesn't really go with my grey-green walls in here, so I thought I'd paint again, this time white to go with the shadow box (insert sad trombone sound effect here).

Unfortunately, right after I took this picture of the artwork on the back (and progress in taking off the frame), I picked up the game and glass, and the glass cracked. On the bright side, it was the back glass and not the front, so I taped it... the tape doesn't look great, but if I ever want to somehow display both sides I'll just replace the back glass.

Other than that, I painted the frame and re-framed it without incident (actually, putting the frame back on was MUCH easier than taking it off). How gorgeous is this?

A closeup of my favorite part - Quadling Country. I spent HOURS looking at this game when I was little, writing new Oz stories in my head with the characters.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

When a good idea goes horribly awry

This week, I've been trying to work on my over-the-mantel arrangement, and get everything looking like I want it. I'm sort of going for a vintage-childrens'-literature theme, and I've been obsessed with The Wizard of Oz forever, so that's pretty much the dominant book. This involves painting a frame that I really should have figured out how to paint without taking it off the glass, and finding a great way to display some gorgeous Wizard of Oz ornaments that Emily gave me for Christmas. They're really too pretty (and not too Christmasy) to just be out at Christmas.

And so enters my great idea - I'll do a shadow box or display box, where the figurines can be out all the time. I went to the dollhouse store (very cool, by the way), where I found a perfect display box - pre-painted, easy to assemble, perfect dimensions. They also had some little wooden... things... that were originally meant to hold up shelves, but had holes through them. I thought, hey, the ornaments have twine loops, I can just loop them through the holes. Still all sounding great in my head. Even better, I had the idea to cover the back with a nice scrapbook paper. Lovely, right?

Here it is, upside-down, right after I glued in the hangers. Looking great, no? Nice paper, cute hangers, good-looking box...

This was all great until I'd tied on the ornaments and stood the box upright.


Ornaments on a tree are ALL hung from something, so it looks normal, but human/humanoid figurines, hanging at a time other than Christmas from twine on their heads? SO SO SO CREEPY AND MORBID.


This project is being re-thunk. Look for it again when I figure out how to re-work it to not look like the witch's forest was just entirely too dark and depressing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Scentsy Style

My aunt sells Scentsy products (check out the link - there's a sale!), which, if you don't know, are flameless wax holder... um, things? They're awesome, anyway - I was a tiny bit skeptical ("Don't I already have enough scented-wax things with all the candles sitting around here?") until she got me one as a housewarming gift, and it's AWESOME. It's kind of a basic setup - a light bulb inside a ceramic box warms up scented wax in a tray on top - but I LOVE that I can leave it on during the day and it keeps the downstairs smelling nice (I have it in the bathroom, and the scent isn't overly strong, but it does make the downstairs pleasant), and I don't freak out if we've gone somewhere and I remember I didn't put it out.

So the reason I'm telling you all this is because the one she got me for a housewarming gift is one of their DIY ones - a plain white (I think they have brown or black too) model that comes with rub-ons so you can customize it.

I actually plugged mine in right away in the bathroom, to see how it worked, and LOVE how the plain white looks in there with all the other white, so I haven't decorated mine yet, but she got me two sets of rub-ons with it. One of them is more what I think would work well in one of the rooms downstairs if I do decide to decorate it, and the other set is SUPER cute but a lot of stuff about friends and friendship - which is perfect for cards, but maybe a little weird to decorate a thing to go in my house with.

So, I'm using them to make cards, and they're really great rub-ons... go on easily and look really good.

The ribbon is on the bottom because, well... I got this Martha Stewart edge punch that I've been wanting forever, and it turns out it'll only punch through really thin paper/cardstock. I tried to do it on this (layer of thicker cardstock + layer of paper) and it just made marks, so the ribbon is covering up the marks.

Dang, that was a ton of explanation for a really simple card...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Passing Notes

I think I sorta figured it out - the idea that was trying to happen yesterday.

So here's the story.

In high school, a particular friend and I would pass notes all the time. None of this texting stuff... we got out our fancy pens (usually purple or green ink, sometimes glittery) and wrote letters. Full notebook sheets of... well, that's the question, really.

Because we probably wrote each other hundreds of these in-class letters, folded into increasingly creative shapes. And I keep finding them. I graduated from high school 12 years ago, and I found one of her notes (football-folded) tucked into a folder when I was unpacking the house. They just turn up all the time. And I can hardly understand a word of them any more. I'm sure, to anyone happening to find a dropped one back when, they were complete gibberish - one inside joke after another. But they were cute! We were all about the decorations and doodles.

So I got inspired - if I was already so into "paper art" then, why not try to update that old tradition, and still keep the basics of it?

I folded a notebook-paper sheet into a heart, and made a whole decorated card front with a pocket to put it in.

The heart itself is decorated, too, of course - that's part of the fun!

I have a feeling someone's going to get this in their mailbox sometime soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Ever had an idea rattling around in your head, and you just can't shake it out? I've had one for two days that I just can't manage to get to materialize. Maybe it's time to work on something else and see if it sneaks up on me while I'm not paying attention.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"My Favorite" tag

Now that I'm mostly moved in to my study, I've been sorting through old magazines to clear out some shelf space. I've started an "inspiration file" of clippings, and once I pull out the best inspiration from a magazine, I can feel better about throwing it away. It's also nice to know that I have a whole file to dig through if I need a jumping-off point - I just look for something that strikes my fancy and put it up on the bulletin board to work on.

Today I found a cute library-pocket tag - the original had some aqua and red accents, and I've been seeing a lot of that color combination, so I pulled out some aqua and red cardstock. When I brought them back to my desk, I noticed that they worked really well with some chipboard accents that are pinned up on my bulletin board (see, that's why I have them pinned up there), and went and found the coordinating patterned paper.

I die-cut the pocket from patterned paper, and used the flip side for the main tag, then stamped the library pocket on Aqua Mist cardstock and cut out a background a little bit bigger (the width of the pocket - it's stuck down in it) from Pure Poppy.

The library pocket die and library card stamp (and You're My Favorite stamp) are all from Papertrey, and the cardstock and chipboard elements are from Sassafrass Lass.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

It's my dad's birthday!

I liked the cool greys and blues of this paper for my dad, and noticed that a clear overlay I picked up a few months ago is a nice echo of the argyle print on one of the papers (the behind-tag). The die is Papertrey's bookplate die, and the stamp is from one of Stampin' Up's office sets. Inside is a birthday message.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

This is it!

Finally - the post I've been promising Lori for weeks. (And just a warning - this is going to be a long post with a LOT of pictures.)

So here's the deal - a little background:

When we first looked at this house, the room-that-would-eventually-be-my-study was a family room - very cozy, very comfortable. I really wanted to keep the comfortable, cozy feeling once we moved in, even though it would be a study (see, even the word "study" is much more cozy than "office"...). There were/are built-in bookshelves, so that was a great start - nothing cozier than being surrounded by all of my favorites.

But on the office side was a little... stark?

(Please ignore the blue butt print on the chair - that thing is like a jeans-dye magnet. I don't think I've ever worn new jeans in it, and I clean it off when I think of it, but it looks like this the next day. Tip of the day: No matter how chic it looks in the store, do NOT buy a white leather desk chair if you wear jeans to work, like, at all.)

My first idea was to put in a countertop running the whole length of the wall, but that was nixed once we priced out that much countertop. Fortunately, the same day, we saw a World Market ad with their new desk line in it - these great sawhorse/workbench-style desks. And they were just long enough that two of them would fit the wall and leave room for my lamp. All along in the process, though, I really wanted three workspaces - one for working:

(From left to right: My London Phone Box DVD rack, River Song print, OTT craft lamp, cute box from a Lush gift set that holds all my desk essentials, Mocha Coconut Frappucino, laptop, jar of the candy raspberries I'm addicted to, and secondary monitor. Anyone know a good solution all the cords under the desk? They bug me.)

One for paper crafts:

(From top to bottom: Giant bulletin board my parents got me for my birthday, where I put up inspiration photos and rub-ons and other small elements to have them easy to reach; desk with craft stuff.)

And one where I could leave my sewing machine up through a whole project without having to get it out of the way of other stuff (if not permanently).

Here's what I came up with all together:

That last desk on the right is the one I've been working on for weeks and building up to Lori. I'm so excited about it. Recognize it?

This was the "before":

And this is a close-up of the after:

I'm so excited - I've been loving the grey/yellow color combination I've been seeing everywhere, and I've seen the papered-back bookshelves in a few places and loved them. It's a great pop of color that I think really brightens up the room. It's going to be a great sewing table! First thing on the list: a present for Miss Molly McGee - with that name, she's pretty much guaranteed to be the most adorable baby ever, don't you think?

THANK YOU to my amazing dad! He cut the backs and helped me with all of the sanding and painting and paper-sticking and nailing. He's the best!

Y'all, I almost forgot the other important credit - check out Curbside Creations for some great furniture makeovers... she's where I got my inspiration for the desk. If I had space for a dozen nightstands, I'd buy them from her - for some reason I love every nightstand/side table she does!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Still not the promised post

We did get the paint issue resolved, but it's going to be another couple of days before I have time to finish the awesome (hopefully) project, so here's another card I made this weekend to tide you over.

This is kind of a fun one using elements from the Fancy Pants "it's the little things" set. I saw a rickrack flower in a magazine and thought I'd try it - turns out it doesn't work at all with newer, stiffer rickrack. I had to pull out some vintage stuff that I had in my ribbon stash. I think there has to be a better way to adhere it to the card front, but I'm not sure what that is.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This is not the post that I promised to Lori

This was supposed to be a different post, a very cool post about a very cool project. But due to some heat-related spray paint snafus, it's not done yet.

So instead, I'll give you a pretty card to look at.

This card is made with Basic Grey's new "Sweet Threads" paper, along with a flower I picked up somewhere, a rub-on from Stampin' Up, and leaf ribbon from Papertrey. Pretty simple, but I love how the flower mimics the flowers in the paper design.