i’m an aunt to a nephew as of last wednesday! my niece stayed with me as he was making his arrival, and she helped me paint onesies with freezer paper stencils.
archive for the ‘make it!’ category
when i was in new york last weekend, i was wandering around and realized kinokuniya was right around the corner. i debated whether i should just keep going since i can’t walk out of that book store without buying stuff. but i’m so glad i did: i found 2 paper goods books which not only have instructions on how to make little books, but they also contain the paper. one of them even has the book board within, making it so easy to sit down with my tools and some glue and make books. now the only thing i need to do is find the time!
a friend came over a few weeks ago to do some crafting, and after many glasses of wine, i managed to find every tube of glitter i own, and i wanted to glitter something. ooooooo! i remembered my stash of wood hearts & circles. i think aimee gave me the hearts when we went to rachel’s cabin last year, and anna may have given me the circles? anyway, i decided to glitter the shit out of them. there was glitter everywhere and it was glorious. i still see it in my rugs. i finished them with spray shellac and drilled holes for hanging.
a few weeks ago i came across a merry mishap’s dip dye beads post via sf girl by bay. i was in class at the time, surfing the web (naughty!), and was dying for something creative to do. dip dye beads was perfect. i stopped at a craft store on the way home from class to buy wood beads.
that evening i mixed india ink with water in 12 dixie cups, starting with a little drop, then adding more ink to gradually make a black dye bath. i strung 6 beads together with thread, then dunked them into the cups. i left them overnight and the next morning pulled them out to dry. the ink didn’t fully saturate the beads — maybe i should have cooked them for even color? but i like the imperfections. i sprayed them with fixative, and strung them on leather cord.
i would love to try indigo ink, but i know it’s the process of dying the beads that i love and not the result. in other words, i’d love to make more necklaces but i don’t think i’d wear them. maybe instead of necklaces i should make garland… ooooo, i like that idea.
a few fridays ago, i met the east side girls for a craft night, and we made paper houses. rachel found the templates we used, and i created my houses with pages from an old art history text book.
after last summer’s adventures in concrete, part 1, i really wasn’t interested in trying for a part 2. the majority of the pieces didn’t work, and it was so hot that day… i had miserable memories of it. but lisa wanted to give it another go, and when papernstitch posted a great cement/concrete diy round-up with 9 projects, i agreed to host another concrete pour.
so. all of the diy posts are very inspiring, and well written, but when it comes to concrete, there’s a huge variability in types and the diy posts never get specific about exactly what type/brand you should use. we added too much vermiculite to our batch last year, even though i thought we were following the how-to correctly. the night before our pour this time around, i found myself standing in front of 10+ types of concrete at home depot, with no clue which one i should buy. then our hero came to the rescue: anna‘s husband steve, who knows a thing or two about concrete (he made the concrete counter tops for both my kitchen and theirs).
here’s the secret to concrete success: non-shrink precision grout.
it doesn’t have large chunks of aggregate like regular concrete. it doesn’t shrink. and it dries/cures quickly. and yeah, steve was awesome and came up with the perfect concrete-to-water ratio that we used: for each pound of concrete, add 3 oz. of water. i mixed up our batches in a gallon bucket, with 6 pounds of concrete each time.
we mixed a few batches up, and the concrete had the consistency of mashed potatoes. once in the forms (dixie cups, yogurt containers, etc.), we tapped them against the driveway to encourage the air bubbles to rise to the top (and pop). by doing that, the surface of the concrete smoothed itself out. i really didn’t like the roughness of the top of the candle bases in concrete candle project post, but i really like the ones i made.
me scooping concrete into a cup.
freshly poured! we cut off the top half of spongebob square pants dixie cups and used them as the “inner” mold for the bigger items (sour cream containers, small deli containers, yogurt tubs, etc.). we put rocks inside, to keep it from popping up.
i love the lines that were inside the wallaby yogurt container i used for the candle above.
anna’s sparkly toes! (polish chosen by her daughter)
kristin brought some containers that once held trader joe’s seaweed. they were fun to put votives into.
anna put tealights into the bottom of dixie cups, and then held them down with her finger as she added the concrete (to keep the candles from floating up). i did not put my finger on my tealights, and i ended up with 2 cups of concrete.
- 1 50 pound bag of quikcrete precision grout
- mix 3 oz of water to every pound of concrete
- add more water if needed — the consistency can be between mashed potatoes and cake batter
- scoop concrete into container about 2/3 of the way full
- tap, tap, tap, and try to get some of the air bubbles to come to the surface
- then add your candle or “inner mold”
- let dry over night — we left ours outside on a summer night, covered with a sheet of plastic
- we used about 3/4 of the bag, between 4 of us, each making 4-10 items
now that we’ve figured it out, i plan to do it again! happy weekend!
i try not to let the latest trends influence my work. i would like to think that i’m designing and creating goods that i would use/enjoy, regardless of “what’s now”. i was so proud of myself for not falling for the owl/log/mushroom fad of the mid aughts, but i am falling hard for geometrics and bright color palettes and hints of metallics (hellooooo, right here). i can’t resist!
last weekend i decided that i really needed to paint a chair in a sorbet palette. i picked up an ivar at ikea for $20, and over the last week i painted the chair pieces in soft colors (with acrylics). then i picked up some bronze to add a little pop of metallic. i debated painting every chair piece, and decided against it. this is my second ivar… i wrapped my first ivar in yarn last year. i don’t have room for more! i can’t keep up this yearly habit… but they’re so fun and easy to decorate:
monday fun: did you see my 3×3 interview on cargoh’s blog? i was asked 3 fun questions, and i sent them some photos (including one of me!) along with my answers, and they put together a really great feature. you have to see it!
i didn’t have a lot of creative time this week, but i did take a pink porcelain paint pen to a milk jug i purchased at target. think i’m going to put the half & half i use for my tea within.
i like to give a handmade gift every year, and i really try hard to make it a gift that will get used. many of the things i’ve given to people in the past have been “stuff”… and i feel bad when people think they need to hang onto that stupid gewgaw that i gave them 14 years ago. so i lean towards edible gifts these days.
for xmas 2011, i made 2 batches of cherry & almond granola and “packaged” it in 3/4 liter mold jars from weck. i may have baked it a little too long, but it’s still pretty good and i’ll make it again for myself.
i like to give functional gifts, too. i gave a few people sake soak: a small bottle of sake and an orange, with instructions to draw a hot bath, and add sake and sliced oranges. sake is supposed to help moisturize dry skin, which i find hard to believe due to the alcohol content… but it’s still really fun to soak in sake with orange slices!
and i love it when i get yummy gifts in return: my sister also made cherry & almond granola (great minds?) and she gave me a jar full of cookies that she made. jenn made me magic salt (with garlic, sage, and rosemary) and now i put it on everything i make. and chandler sent me a jar of apple butter. i made scones last weekend and man, i had no idea apple butter was that good.
i’ve been feeling full and loved!
(i really need to start running regularly again.)
dig out the decorations you’re not fond of anymore, and add gold spray paint.
about a week or so ago, i hosted a concrete pour. we used this tutorial from re-nest, and we were going to make a ton of gorgeous planters out of our yogurt tubs and ice cream quarts… but our day turned out to be a practice run.
we mixed the first 1/2 bag of concrete with vermiculite, using the ratios in the tutorial. maybe there’s different types of vermiculite? the only one that menard’s offered was meant to be used for attic insulation, and i don’t think it was the right type: it sucked the water out of the concrete, and prevented it from setting. days after the pour, the concrete/vermiculite mix was like wet sand, and the planters crumbled once out of the forms.
martha suspected the vermiculite was going to be problematic, so we didn’t add any to the last 1/2 of the concrete bag. we were a little more successful towards the end, but it was a really hot & humid day, and i felt like i was packing containers just so we could finish up and get out of the heat. i didn’t level off what i poured. the top photo is the best of my practice planters, and they may not stick around.
anna wasn’t able to join us, but her husband steve knows tons about concrete, and he recommended we also try quick-setting grout. we mixed up a bag of white, and didn’t add any extras. those planters turned out pretty cool! but i still need to knock out the dried grout from his mixing tub… this project can be icky to clean up.
despite the disappointments, we are going to do it again. both jenn and lisa had a few winners, and now that we’ve got some of the kinks worked out (no vermiculite! do it on a cooler day!) i’m chalking the pour up as a practice round and will try again before summer’s end.
when i saw blair’s yarn-wrapped hangers via readymade, i immediately added them to my mental to-do… but i wanted to go bigger. i knew i had a good stash of bright yarns left over from my felted bowl phase, and i pictured stripes on a stool or small bench.
i went to ikea, and i couldn’t find a stool or bench that i liked. i started nosing around the dining chairs, and i spotted ivar. it’s made of pine and cheap ($19.99). it wasn’t really what i was looking for, but i brought an ivar home anyway. last friday night i poured a big glass of wine, logged into hulu, and went to work.
i put the chair together but left the seat off so i could do the seat “base”. then i wrapped and wrapped, for hours. i wrapped only the horizontal pieces of the chair, as i wanted the wood to continue to be visible — i liked the contrast of smooth and hard to soft and tactile. with the first loop i made a knot, and when i was ready to switch colors, i knotted the new color to the old, and wrapped over the tails. i didn’t use any glue — i wasn’t quite sure i was going to like the outcome, so i wanted the color to be temporary if i hated it.
but i love it.
2010′s holiday gift was vanilla sugar. i originally wanted to make lemon sugar, but i thought vanilla sugar would be easier for everyone to use. around the time that i was considering my gift options, the marvelous mary ann inquired about a goods trade, and when i realized she could make me tags that said sugar, i knew i had my gift.
to make: i bought a giant bag of sugar and 9 vanilla beans. i mixed the vanilla beans into the sugar and poured the sugar into slom jars from ikea. i tied the tags around the lid with divine twine, and there you have it, a sweet gift for the holidays.
i’ve started to prep my holiday 2010 gift but i can’t show you yet, as most of recipients read my blog and i don’t want to ruin the surprise! so instead, i thought a little wrap-up of some of the things i’ve made over the last few years might spur a little d.i.y. creativity for you:
- vanilla extract
- spiced hot chocolate
- salt scrubs
- circle wreath
- decorated ceramics
- wine tags
- sea salt caramels
- sugar and spice candied nuts
patricia at red bow studio recently sent me a couple rolls of rainbow tape, and i went to town on some plain kraft boxes… you can get your own jar of rainbow tape at the red bow studio etsy shop. i think i might skip wrapping paper this year!
start thinking about this weekend! some good local events:
- willow house holiday craft fair: join me and many other talented artists for a cozy craft fair. treats will be served. friday, 3-8pm, willow house preschool, 5617 24th avenue south, minneapolis
- no coast craft-o-rama: the craft event of the season! friday, 3-8pm and saturday 9am-5pm at the midtown global market, minneapolis
- art at ramsey 16th annual holiday art fair: over 70 local artists. saturday, 10am-5pm at ramsey junior high, 1700 summit avenue, st. paul
don’t forget: 20% off your entire order in my etsy shop, until midnight this friday. use coupon code BLOGLOVE.
jenn and i chatted about carving eraser stamps months ago… she even bought us each a few to carve. and they sat in my drawer until last weekend.
painted fish studio doesn’t have a symbol/mark/picture as part of its identity. i prefer the simplicity of a logotype (a logo that consists of typography only). but i thought it’d be fun to carve a few fish that i can use to use when i mail packages, or to decorate notes and tags.
and by having a few different fish, i can pick which fish i want to use based on how i feel that day… modern? traditional? playful?
i bought a package of air hardening clay for the last pARTy, but we didn’t use it. last week i rolled it out, and made stars with a cookie cutter. after a few days of drying, i strung them together with some jute twine. they have the satisfying clink of real terra cotta, but i’m not sure how they’ll hold up to april showers…
i hope you had a good easter weekend! despite feeling a little under the weather, i enjoyed a beautiful easter sunday with kristin‘s family… a little wine, yummy food, happy children, an easter egg hunt, good company… and she sent me home with some of the eggs she dyed with silk ties. i had never heard of it before, but googled it and found a how-to from martha stewart. it seems such a shame to crack them open, but i do need to eat more protein for breakfast…
i also had a little pARTy on friday, and i’ll have those photos ready later this week. happy monday!