Card #89: October Challenge – Painting with Bubbles

This week’s card challenge was exactly that: a challenge.  I found this idea on Pinterest and thought it looked so fun!  I mean, who could resist painting with bubbles?  Everyone loves bubbles!  But, it was also my first fail in this challenge.

I found the idea on Martha Stewart’s website.  I didn’t have any craft paint, so I figured I could just use blue food coloring. I gathered my supplies and mixed up some blue solution.

Her instructions say to use a cup of water, half a cup of soap, and a LOT of paint, like over half a cup.  But her instructions are also for painting large sheets of butcher paper to make wrapping paper, so I figured I wouldn’t need as much.  I poured my blue soap water into a baking pan and attempted to blow bubbles in it with a straw.

As I had used a smaller amount of water, the solution was a bit shallow for blowing bubbles, so I had to tip the pan to get it deep enough to actually blow bubbles.  You’re supposed to lightly press the cardstock onto the bubbles so they pop on the cardstock.  This is what happened:

Practically nothing.  These are the same photo, but the one on the right is darkened a little so you can actually see that there are super-faint marks on the cardstock.  The dark blue corners are where I accidentally dipped the pieces into the water.

Ultimate fail.  I’m not sure why I thought I could be more clever than Martha Stewart when it came to crafts, but I did.  And I failed.  So I poured my blue soap water down the drain and lamented my failure.  I also had to put the project on hold for a couple days until I could get some blue paint (or more specifically, borrow some from my mom’s stash).  Two days later and I was ready to try again.

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Also, as I was now working with a medium that would actually stain a pan, I picked up a cheap disposable tin from Wal-mart instead of using my good kitchen dish.  I mixed up a cup of water and half a cup of soap.  I dumped a large glob of paint into the pan (still not as much as Martha says to) and poured in the soap solution to mix it in the pan instead of in my measuring cup.

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I experimented with blowing bubbles and using the bubbles created by stirring the solution with a spoon.  And I just wanted to practice a bit before I used my actual cardstock, so I used a few small scrap pieces to see how different methods worked.

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It took a little bit to get the hang of it, but eventually it started working pretty darn well.  I think it looked best when I made lot of little bubbles by stirring it, then blowing larger bubbles underneath so there was a combination of both sizes.  The little ones got more color towards the top, but the big bubbles kept it looking like actual bubbles instead of just random blue blobs.  These are my final results, in order of creation:

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As I imagined it would be, this was a very messy process.  There were blue splashes all over my counter.  I think I avoided getting any on the walls, though.  Thankfully.

I made six cards with these, all the same design.

I thought the bubble paper was perfect to go with the seahorse stamp.  I used the circle letters to try to make the greeting look like bubbles coming from the seahorse, and I added a little streak of iridescent glitter on the letters to try to enhance the bubble look a little.

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One more week of October, then I start making Christmas cards.  🙂  I know it’s bad, but right after October is over, I’m so in the mood for Christmas.  I know Thanksgiving is in between, but Thanksgiving doesn’t have the kind of music selection that Christmas does, and I’m always ready for Christmas carols by the end of October.  Do I give in and start listening to Christmas songs next month, or do I try to stay strong and resist until after Thanksgiving?  I’m not sure I’m that strong.

 

Stmaps used: Alphadots by Stampin Up, and the seahorse stamp has no name or copywrite on it

My “Recent” Craft Projects, Part 2

Happy Labor Day!  The long weekend seemed like a good chance to get this second part of my sort-of-recent craft projects posted.  So let’s dive right in.

We’ll start off with a couple of papercrafting projects I did.

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I bought these little ACEO’s prints from an Etsy store that is sadly no longer in business.  I wanted a cute way to display them but I didn’t want to damage them with double-sided tape or anything.  So I glued down the red cardstock on the snowflake paper then used clear photo corners to hold the prints in place.  The words are a sticker, and I mounted the whole thing in a floating glass-style frame from Hobby Lobby.  I can’t wait to set it up somewhere this Christmas!

More recently, I made this paper cut project from Cricut.

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I really wanted to make it before our trial subscription of Access expired, and I think I got it done the day it was going to expire.  🙂  I found a frame at Hobby Lobby that isn’t technically a shadowbox frame, but I used it as one anyway.  The frame is about 6×6, and the smallest shadowbox frame it would have fit in was 8×8, which I didn’t want to use.  The mermaid is pressed against the glass, but is still 3D, so it works.  The shells and starfish were harvested from a sticker set, since I didn’t want to use all the swirly bits that they were attached to.

This next project could probably have qualified for “steampunk”, but not exactly, so I’m putting it in this post instead.

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I made these “mercury glass” vases after getting inspired browsing Pinterest.  I actually bought the two vases over a year ago at a thrift store and only a few weeks ago finally got them done.  Pathetic.  I more-or-less combined this and this tutorial that I found on Pinterest.  I sprayed the mirror spray paint and let it dry just a bit before following each coat of the mirror paint with the vinegar/water solution.  Sometimes that ate through the paint enough to leave marks, but on the last couple coats I rubbed the insides with paper towels to get more distressing.  For the little votives, I sprayed them inside with a matte black spray paint for the last coat.  For the two larger pieces, I sprayed the black onto a paper towel and blotted it on the insides to make the distressing more obvious.  I’m not sure they look exactly like actual mercury glass, but they still look pretty cool.  Now I just need to find a home for them.  When I was making them, I thought the tallest one was not going to look good at all, but that one turned out to be my favorite of the whole bunch.  Go figure.

 

This next project is one that I am really proud of.  After moving into my apartment, I realized I needed a little end table by my sofa.  Several years ago Jen of Epbot created this penny desk that I thought was so cool, and I always wanted to make a coffee table following her tutorial.  Well, a coffee table wouldn’t fit in my apartment, but I decided to make my end table with pennies instead.

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My dad and I (but mostly my dad) built the table to the dimensions I needed for fitting in the spot next to my sofa.  I painted the table black, then got to work gluing pennies on the top.  I bought most of the pennies from my mom, and even got a few unique pennies, like a couple wheat pennies, to put on the table.

I started by arranging all the pennies, mixing colors and heads vs. tails all over the table.  Fortunately (and completely by accident), the dimensions for the top let the pennies fit practically perfect across in both directions.  I did cut pennies in half for the ends of every other row to fill in the top all the way.  It was a very tedious process super-gluing every. single. penny.  But I finally got them all glued, then used a two-part resin to seal it all in and give it a nice, glass-like finish.

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I had hoped to only do one coat of resin, so I filled the whole top, and it looked great before it cured.  But after sitting for 24 hours or so, you can see in this picture all the little pock marks that appeared between all the pennies.  Grr.  Fortunately I had enough resin left to do one more very thin coat on top to make the surface smooth.  If I would do this again, I would do two thinner coats instead of one thick and one thin, as with the thick coat it was very hard to get all the bubbles out.  I would also get a culinary blow torch to help remove bubbles.

In the picture on the left, with doing the second coat, you can see how the resin did spill out a little from the edge of the table in a couple spots.  Hence another reason to do two thinner coats of resin.

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But here is the shiny table in all its coppery glory.  I can live with a couple imperfections, and am so happy with how it came out.

And last, but certainly not least, I have one picture of a project that has been years in the making.  And sorry for the crappy cell phone picture, but that’s all I had with me at the time I finished it a couple weeks ago.

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I got the fabric for this quilt 10+ years ago, and started the quilt somewhere like 3 or 4 years ago or so.  And IT’S FINALLY DONE!!!!!  I’d made one twin-sized quilt before this, but it was just a crazy, block quilt, so this is the first one I’ve done that actually had a pattern.  I love this fabric, and I love how it turned out, and I’m just so glad it’s finally finished.  I’m not a real big fan of sewing, either, so having it done and not hanging over me anymore is so wonderful.  Of course, now it’s just going to sit in my cedar chest for who knows how long, but hey, at least it’s out of my mom’s sewing room!

And that concludes my craft project round-up posts.  I’ll try to be better at posting projects I get done more frequently so the posts aren’t crazy long like this.  But it does feel good to finally get this up and done.  Kind of like finishing a craft project…

My “Recent” Steampunk Projects

So when I started this blog over a year and a half ago (gosh, has it really been that long already?!), I never intended for it to be solely cards every week.  I had goals of posting craft projects and tutorials as well as sometimes just random thoughts.  Obviously those goals kind of haven’t happened quite as well as I’d hoped.  I’ve been meaning to write a post of the craft projects I’ve completed for a couple months already, but I didn’t have the pictures taken yet, and I kept making more things, and I just kept putting it off and putting it off.  Well, no more, I say!

I was going to put all my projects in one post, but that would be rather long as there are a lot of them, so I’m going to do two craft posts.  And yes, I will actually write them both, I promise!  I’ll keep this first post steampunk-themed, and the rest of the projects will go in the next post.

So without further ado, here are the steampunk projects I’ve done for the past eight months or so.

I’m in the process of re-doing my bedroom in a steampunk theme.  It’s still a major work-in-progress as I haven’t gotten as much done in there as I’d like, but slowly a few pieces are coming or have come together.

I usually work on a craft project during the Super Bowl, the one sports game I watch per year.  And I don’t actually watch the game, I work on said project while the game is on and I watch the commercials.  Last year I worked on my Astrid cosplay; this year I worked on this painting.  I basecoated the canvas in a tan color that I didn’t realize until after the fact is almost exactly the same color as my walls.  Oh well.  I lightly and not very carefully painted a few gears on the background, then hand-traced the letters and filigree that I had previously cut out with the Cricut.  I then painted the traced parts, which all required two coats to cover opaquely.  But I love how it turned out.

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I saw the quote on a print in an etsy store and wanted to make my own version that matched the color scheme I’m hoping to mostly go with.  And no, I didn’t get all that done during the game!  It took several evenings to get it all done.

Next, although I actually think I made this first (it’s been so long I can’t even remember, how pathetic is that?), I made this wreath.

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It’s actually hanging in my hallway, though, and not in my bedroom as it is rather large and doesn’t fit so well.  I got the plain wreath from Hobby Lobby on clearance after Christmas two years ago and the empty wreath hung in my hall for a year as I slowly added to my stash of fun things to stick in it.  Everything is attached by either hot glue or wire.

It was really fun creating or modifying little things to add to the wreath, like the hats, the little ray gun, the sparkly bottles, and the goggles.  I actually made the goggles out of two Coke bottle lids and some fun foam.  I was going to hang my actual goggles from my steampunk cosplay on it, but since they are full-sized, they looked way out of place next to all the miniature items.  So I had to make smaller ones.

Lastly, I actually created this just a couple weekends ago.  I wanted a way to display the steampunk pistol that I modified instead of just keeping it tucked away in a box until the next time I have the opportunity to wear my costume.  My favorite blogger, Jen of http://www.cakewrecks.com and http://www.epbot.com, had created a stand for one of her steampunk pistols a while back and I thought it would be perfect.  So I mostly followed her tutorial to create my own.

I had to make the extra part for the handle of the gun since mine won’t stand up by itself.  It’s a modified water pistol and has a plastic seam down the middle of the handle, making it tip over.  When I get it up on my shelf, I’m going to hold down the back piece of the stand with a bit of sticky tack so it doesn’t move, and then the gun will stand up nicely.

And I think that’s enough for now.  I’ll try to get the rest of the projects up in the next week or so.  Now that I have the pictures I need, it’s just a matter of making my butt sit in my chair and writing the post.  🙂

Ceramic Nativities

When I was little, one of my favorite parts of decorating for Christmas was watching Mom set up her ceramic nativity set.  My dad had bought it for her and her dad, my grandpa, had built the stable out of willow branches.  If I was very lucky, and very very careful, I got to help take the pieces out of their protective foam layers and hand them to Mom to put in the stable.

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It was almost magical, as if the pieces were waking up from their eleven month slumber, ready to remind us of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.

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I still love looking at her set.

Several years ago, when Mom and I were garage saling, we found a couple sets of unpainted ceramic nativities that were the same exact figures as hers.  And they were only $4 each!  We snatched them up, with the intention of Mom painting them for me and my brother.

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Well, years passed, and the nativities were forgotten.  In the meantime, I had painted a plaster Precious Moments nativity set for myself, so I wasn’t in dire need of my own set like Mom’s.  Eventually, the plain ceramic sets were put in our own garage sale, in the hopes of getting our money back.

More time passed.  I moved out and began branching out in my creative exploits.  I was reading some blogs about using Rub ‘n Buff paints, and I had the brilliant idea that those plain nativity sets would look gorgeous in beautiful metallic colors.  I asked Mom if we still had them, and we wracked our brains to remember if they had actually sold in our garage sales, or if we had donated them, or if we still had them tucked away somewhere.  Happily, they hadn’t sold and we still had them boxed up.  I gleefully brought them home with me and began painting them.

I had purchased this sampler set from Amazon, which included 12 colors of the wax paint.

It was way cheaper than buying each individual color from my local craft store, and they didn’t have all the colors anyway.  I haven’t used all the colors yet, so I can’t speak to how well they all work, but the ones I’ve tried have been great.

Now, if you have ever used Rub ‘n Buff, you know it smells.  And the best way to make it look good when you apply it is to rub it on with your finger.  And let me tell you, the gold paint is hard to get off said finger!  I did one set in Gold Leaf and one set in Silver Leaf.

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To get the paint in all the little nooks and crannies and details of the pieces, I used a TON of Q-tips to rub it in.  The silver set buffed up shinier than the gold, but they both ended up really pretty.  It did take two coats of the gold to get it to cover all the way and to get it in all the little details.

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I ended up giving the gold set back to my Mom and keeping the silver set for myself.

All in all, I’m really happy with the way they turned out, and Rub ‘n Buff is one of my new favorite things.  🙂  It’s nice to have a special nativity set that is like my Mom’s but is also totally mine and not just a copy-cat version.  I love the modern look of the shiny silver and the simplicity of the single color on the whole set.

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I painted that canvas, too.  It was inspired by this post by Kelly of ViewAlongTheWay.  I like the way it eventually turned out, but it was a struggle and let me just say, I will NEVER decorate anything with thin sheets of silver leaf again!  The supplies I got for that are already in my box collecting things for a garage sale.  I’ll probably still be finding little flakes of silver a year from now.

*shudder*

Anyway, I’ve got a couple other things to get done tonight.  I’ll be back soon with the last Christmas card for the year!