Mod Podge

I have a real ‘love / hate’ relationship with Mod Podge.  I love how it is SUPPOSED to work.  HATE how it actually always seems to work for me.  But, honestly, I thought it was just ME; that I hadn’t used it long enough to ‘figure out’ how to avoid the crinkles and creases and bubbles.  Turns out it’s NOT just me.

Just came across this post on Facebook and HAD to share it!  Seriously, this post is going to change my life.  Well, my crafting life.  And eliminate a lot of frustration and crafting stress.

(Crafting stress?  Is that a REAL thing?  Ask a crafter.  It’s real!  Is this going to work they way they say it will?  Will mine turn out the way I envision it?  Will mine be as pretty as the sample shown?  Will the person I am gifting it to like it?  Will “I” like the final results?  Will it sell?  Will it sell at a profit, or did I spend more than it’s worth on supplies alone?  Yep. . . crafting stress!) 

Are you ready for THIS?!?!   I want to HUG that woman for discovering this and KISS her for sharing it!  Until now, I wouldn’t even ‘commit’ to Mod Podge enough to buy more than a 2oz bottle at a time.  I really only use it when there is NO other option.  As you know if you are a regular reader of my blog, Aleen’s tacky glue is my ‘go to’ adhesive for just about everything.  For permanence and on other surfaces, it’s e6000.  I bought some Mod Podge once and by the time I got around to using it, it was all clumpy and gloppy.  (but I HAD previously opened the bottle, just not yet used it)  And that stuff is NOT cheap either!

I also LOVE that she used for her ‘how to’ piece, she used a DRAWER!  You KNOW I always paper line my drawers!  I’ve always told myself that a little bubble and a few crinkles on my drawer paper didn’t matter because it’s going to be covered with stuff as soon as it goes to someone’s home.

OH!!  And another thing . . . .  she uses WRAPPING paper to line her drawers with!  (as do I!)  AND she likes to buy her wrapping paper from Home Goods (as do I!  Well, I usually get mine at Marshall’s, same parent company.  I seriously go to Marshall’s JUST to see if they have any new, cool looking wrapping paper, at least once a month!)

*Just in case the link disappears for some reason (I never trust Facebook!) I’m going to write up a quick re-cap of it.

*Clean the bottom of your drawer well and apply a coat of regular Matte Mod Podge.  Let it completely dry.

*Cut your paper to fit the bottom of your drawer.  Get your iron and a piece of parchment paper (NOT wax paper, NOT freezer paper; be sure it’s parchment paper.  Actually a piece of thin cotton fabric will probably work too.  I have a piece that I always use for ironing lace and ribbon) .  NO STEAM, hot setting on your iron.

*Place the parchment paper on top of your wrapping paper in the drawer.  With your iron, starting in the center and working your way out, not leaving your iron in one spot for too long, iron the parchment.  The heat from your iron will MELT the dried Mod Podge and adhere it to your paper . . . without any bubbles or creases.

Can I get a HALLELUJAH!???!?!

I am not even KIDDING when I say that I’ll be using this technique on EVERYTHING that I use Mod Podge for; or think I can use Mod Podge for but avoided in the past because of the bubbles!!  In fact, I was just getting ready to make a bunch of banners, and will use this method for gluing my paper to the cardboard backing!!

Know what else?  You can buy regular Mod Podge, in Matte of Glossy finish, at Dollar Tree!!  I better go stock up!!  It’s much cheaper than at the craft store!

Happy Mod Podging to you!

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A NEW Vintage book page craft! PAPER FEATHER TUTORIAL

Well, it’s new to ME.  I’ve been seeing the paper feathers made from vintage sheet music and book pages on Pinterest for a while now.  Initially they didn’t really appeal to me; but I decided to try my hand at a few to see how difficult they were to make . . . .  and BAM!!  I’m hooked!  I love them and I really enjoy making them.

P1350148My biggest issue with all the ones I was seeing on Pinterest was coming up with something sturdier than just wire for the stems.  Bamboo skewers worked perfectly.  I made the smaller size feathers using the regular size skewers, and some bigger square-shaped ones (closer to chop-stick diameter) for the bigger ones that I made.

I used several different kinds and colors of book pages.  The yellowed sheet music shown above and some varying shades of white dictionary and book pages.

SUPPLY LIST:

Paper: old book pages, sheet music, dictionary pages or ANY other paper

Bamboo skewers for the stems

Thinned down tacky glue: for gluing the two layers of paper to the stem.  Add just enough water to your tacky glue that it’s easily brushed on with a paint brush.

Scissors for cutting out the leaf shapes and feathering.

Mod Podge: apply one coat to each side of your feather shape BEFORE cutting your slits.

As with just about any crafting I do, I prefer to work in an assembly line style.  I selected the vintage papers that I wanted to work with and readied the rest of my supplies.

  1. Fold paper in half so you get two matching pieces of each leaf shape that you cut.
  2. With your thinned tacky glue, evenly coat one side of a leaf and put glue down the center only of the matching leaf.
  3. Place your skewer in the center of the fully glued leaf, and lay the other leaf on top.  Gently press along the skewer with your fingers to get the glue to grab it; and smooth the edges to be sure they are completely glued together.
  4. Set aside for several hours for the glue to completely dry and cure.  (overnight is best)  Your paper will curl a bit from the moisture in the glue, but you WANT that to happen.  It gives them a more natural feel.

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5. Vintage paper can be very brittle.  I ruined several of mine just handling them and gluing them together.  To strengthen your final product, apply a coat of matte finish Mod Podge to each side; one side at a time.

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Mod podge dries pretty fast, adds a little more ‘character curls’ to your paper and will help your feathers last a lot longer.  The mod podge gives the paper a bit of a plastic coated feel.  If you aren’t sure if you will like the look and feel of the added Mod Podge, just do ONE feather with it as a test, and one without it; to see which you like best.  A little bit of the Mod Podge is going to seep over to the other side of the feather, so be sure you lay them to dry on something ‘raised’.  Across an open box or on a cookie cooling rack.

6.  Gather up your dried feathers and grab your scissors.

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Go through your entire batch of them making your first ‘V’ cuts; 3-5 cuts per side, depending upon the size of the feather.  I always keep the total number of cuts as odd number.  IE 3 on one side and 4 on the other.  These cuts are going to be the GUIDES for your smaller cuts, so be sure you make the cuts in the direction that you are going to want ALL your cuts to go.

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7. After you have made those cuts in your entire batch, go back and do the feathering cuts on all of them.  Make your cuts as close together as you can, and cut as close to the stem as you can.

Here are the different kinds of paper/ shapes and sizes that I made.

As you may have guessed from the above pictures, they can become quite addicting to make!!

NOW, I just have to figure out how to use them and display them to sell in my booth at Stars!  Suggestions are welcome!

Mixed Media Bird collages

I found these two wood Easter plaques at Goodwill, but they had come from Target’s Dollar spot.

I like the using ‘box type’ design for making collages.  The sides of these were already colors and designs that I liked and could work with!

I had some pretty new paper napkins with bird eggs on them that I was itchin’ to play with, so I decided on a bird theme for these two plaques.

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A few layers of book pages, then the napkin, then a couple more book pages cut into ‘fancy shapes’, then a rectangle from a Chinese magazine and a bird illustration from a bird book.  A quote from a book and of COURSE, a crown!

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What do you think of my new photo backdrop?

With all the warm and dry weather we’ve been having I got a few ‘personal’ painting projects done.  One of which was this shelf and the table it sits on.  This ‘shelf’ is actually 1/2 of an old coffee table that was once a display shelf in my booth at Stars.

These are the pictures from ‘back when’ I used them as display shelves in my booth.   I’m now using the half coffee table as  a shelf atop halr of a dining table that is in my ‘office’ (which should be the dining room!)

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The lamp has always been in this spot.  I bought it to go with this collection of similarly shaped bottles; which used to be on a shelf in my living room.  I had hoped to figure out a way to display them all together in the living room; but I just couldn’t make it work.  So I settled for this set up; which I like just fine.

And the second collage; styled fairly similarly to the first one.

I extended the napkins over the edges, and they are sheer enough that the original side color and design show through.

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This is really my FAVORITE part of them!  hehe

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Since the pieces were rectangular in shape, I oriented them in different directions.

They are available for purchase in my booth at Stars.

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Second life for a Chocolate box (belated Mother’s Day post)

For Mother’s Day, my sweet son and precious daughter-in-law took me out to lunch on Saturday*,  gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a ‘carefully selected’ box of (my favorite flavor, salted caramel!) Moonstruck chocolates.

*You couldn’t PAY me enough to get me to go out to eat ON Mother’s Day!!  After working in the restaurant biz for 27 years, I KNOW it’s one of the WORST days to go out to eat.  

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Oh!  And a pair of hand carved salad tongs they bought in Fiji while on their honeymoon in February.

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Isn’t this the most beautiful floral arrangements you’ve ever seen!  Simple but elegant!  The roses are as big ans my fist!!  I don’t know what the purple ones are, the buds look a lot like rosebuds.  ALL of them are hanging to dry right now so I can save them.

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This little box that the chocolates came in was emptied pretty quickly.  Much too cute of a box to just toss into the recycle bin.  Time for a craft project!

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So I wouldn’t need to cover the WHOLE thing, I found some paper that worked well with the gold on the bottom of the box.  The paper is actually wrapping paper that I bought on-line, specifically to use for craft projects.

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After looking at the photos I took, I realized that the ‘seams’ on the box bottom were VERY noticeable.  I probably should have covered the bottom too.  Instead I decided to fill the box with some brown paper shred.  (but I didn’t get a pic of that.)

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I rifled through several different metal charms I had on hand in search of something to decorate the top of the box.  Settled upon a pair of gold tome arrows because they worked best with re-using the gold elastic bow.

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I love prettying up little boxes like this!  I think if I could make a living doing so, I’d spend ALL my time doing this!

 

Mini mixed media easel collages

I did the ‘backgrounds’ on these a while ago, along with several others.  Set them aside for a while until I decided what MORE to do with them.

Assorted scrap papers, book pages, sheet music and pattern tissue papers.  No real ‘method’; just layer upon layer upon layer until it ‘feels’ right.

This is what the easels looked like when I bought them at Dollar Tree several years ago.

I decided they would make cute backgrounds for the Fimo fauxzen Charlotte’s that I make.  It’s really handy having the attached easel.

This first one I added just a ‘bust’; with kraft cardboard wings and cut one of my mini sheet music crowns in half to glue the flat side to the backing.

Some Monarch butterfly wings and a paper crown on this one.

Monarch butterfly wings #2; the other half of the previous sheet music crown and letters cut from a book.

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I’ve only taken this one to Stars; saving the rest for ?????

MORE banners

So, while I had all my banner making supplies spread out all over the living room; I found some MORE supplies to use up.

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These bigger, glitter-edged letters are pretty ‘fancy’ as is, so I opted for a simple vintage sheet music backing.  (after trying out a LOT of other design options!)  These cut-out  paper the letters are made from paper that looks like faded book pages.

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For these, and whenEVER possible, I do ‘hole punches’ for adding the hanging string to the banner.  MUCH less time-consuming than gluing string or ribbon to the back.

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I had three full sets of this particular lettering; with 2-3 of each letter; so after I used up all the D’s and M’s I had on these dream banners, I still had a LOT of letters left.  But not a lot of options for  words to spell, with some letters having been used up.  So I laid out all that I have left to see what other words I could spell.

 I had used up all the sheet music backings that I had pre-made, also; so I went with dictionary pages for the Paris banners.  (* I make the banner backings ahead of time and always have a stash of them on hand.  That way, when I’m in a creating mood I can get right to it; without as much ‘prep work’ before hand.  Plus I like to have ‘busy work’ to do while I am watching TV, and this kind of thing is perfect for that!)P1260790

~::~

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On this one, that I already took to Stars; I used tea stained sheet music for the backing.  (but I only had enough of the tea stained pages to do one banner)

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I sure hope ‘DREAM’ banners are popular because I now have a LOT of them.  NOW I just need to figure out what to do with all the left-over ‘odd’ letters . . . . Q – X – V = Z – J   . . . . .   Maybe for some altered art projects??

DREAM Banners

Believe it or not, I’m STILL using up some of the left-over supplies from back when we had our shop!  I donated a LOT of it before I moved last summer.  Sold quite a bit at a garage sale that I had after I moved last summer; and am continuing to ‘purge as I go’ in an attempt to make room to actually WORK in my craft room.

These “DREAM” scrapbook embellishment letters were my latest ‘victim’:

I had a LOT of them and really wanted to use the ALL up; and without needing to buy any new supplies to finish up with them.  (which is another challenge in and of itself; am I right, crafters???)

First I made the bigger ones, using up some burlap covered paper I had on hand; aqua paper doilies, dictionary page rosettes and scalloped edge die cuts.

When I ran out of the burlap paper, I made them using kraft card-stock for the backing.

When I ran out of the Kraft card-stock, but STILL had not used up all the letters;  I made some smaller sheet music backings; and used the same scallop edge die cut backings for the letters.  I COULD have made these as big as the burlap ones; and added the doily and rosette.  But I figured of they were going to be ‘different’ make them really DIFFERENT.

P1260265The smaller size banner has the advantage of being ‘package-able’; which is nice to protect them from damage.  I cut up ONE sheet of white poster board (2 for $1.00 at Dollar Tree!) and had enough to back all five of the small banners.  The cello ‘sleeves’ that I then covered them with are ‘re-used’ packaging from the stencils I buy.

I did package the bigger burlap banners, but they have to be folded up to do so.

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So, for displaying them in my booth at Stars, I hang one of them; and put the packages below.

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Another mixed media collage

I bought ‘a bunch’ of these wire topped wall plaques at the dollar store, YEARS ago!
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I didn’t really like them for what they WERE; rather for what they could BECOME.

That’s what I did with them ‘back when’ we had our own gift store.  I found ONE last one recently and decided it was time to use it up.

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First I covered with assorted papers; including some vintage pattern paper as the last coat.  Using them as the last coat adds a nice ‘softness’ to the look and sort of ‘blends them all together’.

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I painted a heart with wings; glittered the wings, and cut out words form a old book to put on the heart.

~::~

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~::~

NOW I just need to figure out what I want to do with the rest of these backgrounds that are ‘ready to go!

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Upcycled soap box

Hello, my name is aj; and I’m a ‘soapaholic’. 

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If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ve probably already figured that out!  I must confess that my addiction goes further than that.

I can’t resist ‘sniffing soaps’ at the store.

No, not the soaps in the soap aisle at the grocery store.  The ‘fancy’ soaps that come in pretty boxes.  Marshall’s is my favorite store for ‘soap sniffing’.  But I don’t sniff just ‘any soap’!  No ‘floral’ fragrances for me (except Lavender).  Other floral scents make me sneeze!  And I only like ‘neutral color’ soaps.P1260297I I was attracted to this box of soap because of the pretty box.  When I opened it and saw that it was PINK, I quickly put the lid back on and replaced it on the shelf withOUT even smelling it.  Because I don’t like pink soaps!

Just as I was starting to reach for the next box to open and sniff; the fragrance from that box with pink soap gently wafted by and it was AMAZING!  It smelled like a fresh strawberry pie.  I could NOT resist a full on sniff.  I HAD to buy it!

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The soap itself went directly into my shower and the box to my craft table.  I especially like how the box was decorated with the baker’s twine.  (will have to remember that trick!)

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I love upcycling these pretty soap boxes.  Usually I have to re-cover the entire box; but this one was already decorated so nicely that I only had to cover the ‘soap’ information.

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I found some print scrap book paper that coordinated with the paper on the box to cover the front label.

Used a piece of the same paper to cover the bottom of the box.

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There was a removable ‘riser’ in the bottom of the box that I wanted to leave in place because it SMELLED so good; so I added some of the same paper to it.

Easy peasey pretty (and fragrant!) little gift box ready to go!

Upcycled vintage candy box

Vintage wood candy box I found at an estate sale.

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The top was fairly beat up.

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Nice clean ‘innards’ though!

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I would have guessed that it was maybe a cigar box; but the label on the bottom tells otherwise.

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I sanded off the picture on the top with my orbital sander; then hand sanded the rest of the outside.  (it had a glossy varnish, so it HAD to be sanded before painting.)

Painted the whole thing aqua; then sanded.

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BEFORE I had decided how to decorate the top of the box, I decided to use this pretty turquoise glitter paper on the inside because . . . well because I just got it and was itchin’ to use it!  (probably should have waited until I finished the outside first though!)

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I selected this paper napkin for the top of the box.

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This particular design ‘opens out’ to cover the whole napkin.  (not ALL decorative napkins do though!)

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This was the napkin I wanted to use at first.

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Alas, this design just repeats, limiting how it can be used.

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The sheerness of the napkin allows the distressed wood to show though.  I used Mod Podge to apply the napkin to the box.

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Then I glued a reproduction skeleton key to the front.

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It’s available in my booth at Stars; along with several other upcycled little boxes!