September 29, 2010

Hannah is the Bomb

Yep- don't know
why I didn't post these pics sooner.  I was a big loser on my birthday and didn't feel like making a fuss, but my sisters came over that night to give me their presents (and their presence!).  A little birdy must have told Carrie that I was wanting some paints because she gave me a gift certificate to my fave art store, Art Mart

And Hannah decided to put her craftiness to work!  She made me this cute little cloth basket and did her first ever Mod Podge project (we joked that Mod Podge Amy would be so proud!).  They are both so cute and thoughtful and color coordinated...

I put the paints I bought with my gift certificate in my new basket!

I snagged this from Hannah's studio a while ago- she claimed it was a "mess up", that it was too long, and that I could have it if I wanted it.  Um... Yes!  Perfect for my paint brushes and the bag and basket look so cute together, don't ya' think?

 She spray painted a wooden tray with gold spray paint and found some coordinating decorative paper, cut it to size, and 'podged it right on there!  I love it.

And then a few days later, Hannah showed up at my house with this print she found on Etsy from LuckyBluebirdArt that she thought I'd like- she was right!  We found a perfect spot in between some colored homemade poms on the wall.  Most of my room is black, beige, and white, so I love looking up at these pops of color.

Thank you, sisters- this really brightened my September.  I've got the best family in the world!!!

September 26, 2010

Why Hello There, Autumn

Today it really feels like Fall.  I know that officially, it has been for a few days now, but I've been in denial.  Lack of posts may have a little something to do with me grieving the end of my favorite season.  Although we had a sticky, hot summer here in St. Louis, I'll take that over cold and gray any day!

But through the miracle of technology and social networking, I could see that Hannah made her first pot of chili today.  I imagined her home smelling of yummy goodness, while she put  a puzzle together with her son on the floor, and then maybe making a bag or two.  She just finished making her best friend a handbag with really great fall colors and wrapped it right up for the birthday party that evening.  She broke ten needles making that bad boy, so I didn't want to bother her for pictures.  She's also mastered a pretty cool laptop bag design which were also snapped up before we could get good photos.

Hope everyone's weekend was great and here's a tip if you, too, are grieving the end of Summer.  Go out and buy yourself some nice scented candles (pumpkin spice, apple pie, and vanilla are my Fall standbys), light them, and embrace the season.  Things always seem better when it smells good!

September 17, 2010

Birthday Lunch

My beautiful and thoughtful mother took me out for a birthday lunch this afternoon.  I couldn't think of a place I wanted to go, so she suggested an incredible place that she had been a few times (she always goes to new places and seems to know the "dish" on them- pun intended!). 

This place is in the Central West End of St. Louis; if you are local, you must go.  If I explained this place, it simply wouldn't do it justice.  So you can go here for more info, and I've uploaded some pics I took while I was there.  I'm not in much of a mood to write, so I will just leave you with this afternoon's photographs.  Thank you, Mommy!!! You are the best:)

Happy Birthday to all the VIRGOs out there!!!

September 10, 2010

Skull Notebook Tutorial

Happy Friday, everyone!  I have just finished up a spectacular notebook make-over.  I've been wanting to do something crafty for my son for a while now to celebrate going back to school and incorporate some of the things he loves.  So I put together a little care package with a variety of items that will hopefully be fun for him.  He's really into skulls, so I decided to incorporate that theme into his notebook/journal.

I was inspired by a Pottery Barn knock-off skull print I saw here from a fellow crafter/blogger.  So I went to the Graphics Fairy, saved this to my pics, and printed it out on some lightweight card stock that I had laying around.  I then gathered up my supplies and got to work!  Here's what you'll need:

- a notebook (I used a b&w composition notebook that I picked up for 25cents)
- skull print
- decorative paper
- Mod Podge
- scissors
- exacto/utility knife
- paintbrush (I used a 1" for all of it)
- waxed paper (optional)
- card (credit card-ish, optional) for smoothing out wrinkles/air bubbles

1) Start off by choosing what kinds of paper you want to use.  For this particular project, I used a bunch of different kinds that I scavenged out of my art cabinet; I used card stock for the front cover base, construction paper for the back of the notebook and for the interiors, and watercolor paper for part of the front and for the inside envelope.

Cover the front of your notebook with Mod Podge:
 (you can choose whether or not to go over the spine with some podge- I didn't at first, then changed my mind later)

2)  Lay a piece of card stock (or whatever paper you want to use for this part) over the Mod Podged surface. 

You can use an old credit card (or library card, video card, etc) to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles.  Do this carefully but firmly so you don't tear the paper.  Even if you do get a couple wrinkles, it's no biggie.

*also- I forget where I saw this, but it's a lot easier to put the paper down on the MP'd surface and then cut it to size with an exacto knife after it dries- it's so much better than trying to cut the paper to the right dimensions, then gluing! *

3)  I like to use waxed paper between things when using any sort of adhesive to prevent sticking, so slap a piece of it on top of your cover, weigh down with books, and let dry (I let mine dry overnight).  This step also helps prevent warping of the cover.

4)  Once dry, remove the heavy books, set down on a safe cutting surface, and trim off the excess card stock from the front cover.

(so as not to confuse you guys, my card stock was light grey on one side/top and dark grey on the other/bottom)

and it will look like this:

(see?  I got a wrinkle at the upper right corner, but I'm not sweatin' it- I know it will all work out!)

5)  Gather your decorative papers and your skull print and play around a little with the composition and how you may want your cover to look.  I didn't really measure anything at this point, I just sort of "eyed it" until I saw what I liked.  Then, cut your papers accordingly and start layering with Mod Podge.

Again, I put a piece of waxed paper just inside the cover because I knew this part would get messy!  I started this step by podge-ing the whole cover, then placing the white paper on top.  Then I podged the white paper all over and placed the black construction paper on top.  Then I podged the black paper all over and placed the skull print on top.  Finally, I podged on top of the skull print and left to dry!  Lots of layers, people, lots of layers!

Okay- it looks all funky now, but once it's dry, trust me- it'll look great!

6)  You could stop here, but why?  I didn't like the look of the inside covers of these kinds of notebooks, so I decided to cover the rest (back cover and both interiors) with plain black construction paper.  Now I know that isn't the best or sturdiest of paper, but I figured once it was sealed in Mod Podge, it would be just fine.

But I also wanted to add a little something to the inside front cover and thought an envelope would be perfect for my son to keep secret notes in.  So I went through my stash of Thank You cards and found a cool square envelope to make a template out of.  So here's an easy way to make a template:
a) find an envelope that you like the shape and size of
b) "undo" (tear carefully) the glued parts
c) place deconstructed envelope on plain white paper
d) trace around the edges
e) cut out- and voila- you have a template to use for future projects!

Okay, okay... so now that you've got an envelope template, find some paper you'd like to use and I used another skull image I printed off (from a stencil site that I can no longer find).

7)  Use your template and trace onto your choice of paper (I used a stiff watercolor paper- next time I think I'll use something a little thinner and more malleable as it is kinda' difficult to tuck in the top part)
fold up the envelope, starting with the bottom flap, then the two sides

Now take some glue (I just used plain old white glue like Elmer's or something) and apply only to the sides where it touches the bottom flap

8) Next, I brushed some podge onto the back of my second skull image and centered it (more or less!) onto the envelope.  I stuck a little scrap of waxed paper inside the envelope where the top of the skull image was still wet.  I also later decided to podge over this skull image since everything else was sorta' sealed with it and I thought it looked better that way.

I podged all over the black construction paper that was on the inside cover and placed the envelope on top.  Then I layed books on top and let it dry.

All RIGHT!  Once you have everything where you want it, and everything is Mod Podged down with at least one coat (I ended up doing two on the front), you're FINISHED!  Yea! 

 This particular project took a couple of days only because I decided to do both interior and exterior of both front and back covers (that's a lot of drying time).  But if you just want to start off doing the outside front cover until you get the hang of things, then that's still cool- there's tons of great images out there for kids of all ages. 

This would also be a great guest book for a Halloween party or something.  The possibilities are endless- have fun!