Saturday, November 12, 2011

just feelin' good

So, I am back - yes I have returned.... at least for one more rant before the crafts start in a few weeks!

I have been spending my time working on lesson plans, collecting research materials, writing, and basically being the little art education graduate student that I should be.
After waves of stress and feeling overwhelmed, I have hit that moment of calm. 
I just feel so happy and content.

The last time I remember feeling this way was during the summer of 2008 when I spent a day on the beach with my best friend Erica
We were best friends by the sea, with a waterproof camera.

The ocean was the perfect temperature and felt so good breaking through the surface in our mermaid dives.  Feeling the salt spray after the wave has moved on is probably one of the best experiences in the world.
Even though it was a few years ago, I can still remember how everything about that day felt

Now I am so clear in what I am doing, and I am feeling everything, everyday.  

When's the last time you felt everything?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Subtle Wall Art

Wow, I have seriously neglected this blog.  My apologies!
The only excuse I have is 3 words: The Hunger Games.
If you haven't read this yet, you need to right now.  I can't even explain what it's about because it is so out there, but it is so good!
Why do I always fall in love with teen series???
..... But even my sy-fy loving boyfriend read it and loved it - we even had to fight over who got to read the 3rd book because we both zipped right through the 1st and 2nd one.

Anyway, I am sad to report it's about that time for me to return to my focus to school.
Not too many classes this fall, however, I find I can only direct my maximum focus to one thing at a time, and I am directing that to becoming an art teacher.

I am hoping to keep posting a few projects every once in a while, but I know in another week or so, I will be super busy until winter break -- just in time for CHRISTMAS CRAFTS!!!

I did have one final project that I completed before the summer's end and I want to share!

I saw this subtle artwork done by using wood letters on a canvas, but instead of buying letters, I used what I already had -- puffy paint!

First you need the size canvas you want.
I just painted over an old portrait I did that was so bad I couldn't even bring myself to show on here.
Then, paint the entire surface the color of your choice.

While that is drying, print out whatever you want in the size and font of your choice.
Then lay a piece of wax paper over it and secure its place with a piece of tape.
(I was so excited to finally use this quote!)

Next you use puffy paint to trace over the words.
This took some practice, so you may want to try a few times.
It helped me to outline first, then fill in the letters.
The puffier, the better!
This will need at least 24 hours to dry!

While waiting for the words to dry, use a ruler/T-square to make evenly spaced lines on your canvas so you now where to place your letters.
(Sienna has been my constant moral support all summer!)

After 24 hours of drying, peel off the letters from the wax paper.  I used a paint scraper and xacto knife which worked really well.

Then, once you have your words placed where you want them, use a craft glue to glue them to the canvas.
Make sure it is glued flat with no spots sticking up, and let it dry completely.

Paint over it again to cover up the lines and puffy paint, and you are done!!

This works perfectly in our bathroom, and even after a few weeks of staring at this quote, I still love it!

Well, for now, all I can say is I hope everyones autumn months are filled with orange leaves, pumpkin flavored baked goods, cider, scarves, boots ..... the list goes on!

Friday, September 16, 2011

DIY Cork Board

I have been rather busy this past week making a mess out of my newly claimed crafting room.
I've been getting ready for my classes that start next week, and that is when everything in my life needs to be organized.
Yes, I am anal, but I'm okay with it.
Anyway, now that I am done, I wanted to share how easy it is to make your own cork board!
And it still looks pretty - not just some cork up on a wall.

 Here is a tutorial for a do-it-yourself cork board:

To start, get an old frame (or new, if you'd rather spend more money, but who would do that!).
I got an this frame at a thrift store for $3.99.  
It had an old painting in it that I just removed and I kept the backing it came with.

 Then use some sandpaper just to sand down the top layer of the frame if it's painted or stained.

Then just pick your color, and paint!
I used an acrylic paint which required 3 coats.

Once dried, apply the cork into the frame, and put the backing on.
I bought a roll of cork at a craft store for only $3.99 and it fit perfectly in this 18"x24" frame.

For now, it is hanging here empty because this weekend my wonderful boyfriend is building me a new table to replace my itty bitty desk !!

How I know I'm growing up: I asked for a new table for my birthday.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken

Here is a delicious recipe that is so simple, a recipe isn't even needed, but I have to share!
We've been making this chicken about once a week since we first found out how easy and good it is.

Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken and Potatoes One-Dish Dinner:
This recipe easily serves 2. 

Split chicken breasts
Baby red potatoes
Butter, melted
Fresh thyme
Thinly sliced lemon slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

1.  Place chicken breasts in the center of a casserole dish.
2.  Cut the potatoes into quarters and place around chicken in the dish.
3.  Melt about 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter (or margarine) and drizzle over chicken and potatoes.
4.  Stir potatoes in butter to evenly coat.
5.  Sprinkle thyme over everything (amount up to you).
6.  Lay lemon slices over chicken and potatoes.

Place casserole dish in oven.  Let cook for about 1 hour, depending on your oven..  Keep an eye on it!

Take out of oven, and let cool about 5 minutes.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book Page Roses

As autumn is slowly arriving, I am becoming more and more excited!  
My favorite season is a tie between summer and fall.  Summer has it's obvious perks, but with fall, I always feel like it marks the beginning of a new year and there's so many good things that come with it.
I've been going to school for the past twenty-something years now, and September is what starts the new year.  With one crisp afternoon, I can find myself flooded with memories of past school days, birthdays (Sept. 19!), and football seasons!  And it only gets worse when I find myself walking down a school supply aisle in a store - I have to do my best to resist buying a fresh pack of markers or pens.

This season is also what I have the most decorations for - so it is time to start autumn-izing the apartment!
It was appropriate timing to work on a project that I've been eyeing up.  
I need to replace my paper flower hydrangeas with a fall flower.  It only seems appropriate to make a flower out of an old book to mark the beginning of a new school year.

So here is a tutorial on how to make Book Page Roses:
(note: quite tedious! Set aside some time, put on some music, sit back, and craft!)

Twigs, book pages, and hot glue is basically what makes up these roses.  I fought my dog for some twigs from the ground outside, but you could also use floral wire.  I also got this book for $1 at a local book shop.  You'll also need a pencil and scissors for this project.

You'll start by cutting out 5 small to big sizes of petals.  Here is a general template of the sizes I used.  It is better to try to draw them freehand because the shapes will end up more organic and unique. 
(For each rose, you'll need 4-6 of each petal size.)

Then, I used a q-tip to roll up both sides of the top of the petal.

 Then flip that over, so the rolled up side is face down, and use the q-tip to mold a petal shape.  This is when the book pages really help - it's a thicker paper, so it really holds the shape.

You should have 4-6 petals of each size formed into a 3-d shape.

 Then you will need to cut out this shape (also on the template) so it can be rolled up.

 That shape will need to be rolled up on the tip of the stick, and hot glued tightly enough so it doesn't come off.

Use a hot glue gun to coat the bottom of your smallest petal. 

Then place it at the top of the stick, and hold it to ensure it stays.  
(Note: Hot glue is called that for a reason - it's hot!! Be careful.  I burn myself every time I work with it.)

Then you keep doing the same thing with the same size petal by placing them around in a circle, and overlap each petal a little bit.

Then, move on to the next size petal, and do the same thing right under the previous one - keep doing that all the way through each size.  The petals should overlap a little bit, and remember that flowers aren't usually perfect.  
Symmetry only exists in theory - just go with it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Infinity Scarf

Here I am, back in Ohio!
I had a great time being back home in Jersey -- I was able to hang out with my family and long lost friends .... so fun!  

So many days were spent seaside which made me the happiest girl.
It was truly a great end to the summer.

I feel like I arrived back to Ohio just in time for fall ... unfortunately the weather is chilly and cloudy, buuuut the leaves are beginning to change colors!

When I was home, I cleaned out my room and came across a lot of clothes that haven't been worn in years so now I am left with so many materials to craft with :)

I found an old Sublime tee shirt (couldn't bring myself to throw it out) and wanted to make an infinity scarf.  I also had access to my mom's sewing machine, so I took advantage of that!  
These scarves are really easy to make out of tee shirts or any other fabric you may have.
I love the green color of it, and it will be perfect for fall.

Here's a simple infinity scarf tutorial:
Just lay out the shirt flat, and cut two equal strips.  
I used a ruler to measure up and drew light lines with pencil to keep them straight.
Cut through the entire shirt (front and back) so you have 2 loops.

Cut the two loops at one end so you have 2 long strips of fabric.  

Then sew the strips together to create 1 large loop.

You can wrap it around once, twice, three times - gotta love the infinity scarf! 

I've been getting so excited for fall crafts and food, but then I realized school starts soon so expect a flood of posts - I have so many things I want to do while I still have free time!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Painting a Straight Line

I know I haven't updated for a while – I have not fallen off the grid, I have fallen back into New Jersey!

This past Monday, Sienna (my doggy) and I took a road trip back home for a few weeks. And after a 8-hour car ride it felt good to be home! 

Within 24 hours, I was already back in the car finding my way down the shore and have been enjoying time away from my computer!

It has seems natural disasters have become the norm here. We got an east coast earthquake last week, and now we are bracing for Hurricane Irene - which has already ruined my Phillies game my friends and I were supposed to go to tomorrow! :(

But don't fret, I have a great tip to share!

So for some reason, the day before I left for Jersey, I felt the need to repaint our dining room.  A few months ago, I painted a dark blue with a purple accent wall.  It was a complete lapse of judgement, and needed to be fixed!  
Those accent walls are difficult to paint because it is so hard to get a straight line where the two colors meet.

Before I began, I looked for any tip on how to make that line straight without any color bleeding under the tape and found the most useful tip - I need to share it! 
 It is kind of confusing, but I will do my best to explain step by step:

1. Tape off the walls surrounding the accent wall. I used frog tape which works very well. I am painting over the purple wall, so I taped the dark blue walls on both sides, and the ceiling, and trim under it.

2. Then, you need to carry over the existing colors of what you just taped on. So, I painted over the tape with the 2 blue walls, and white on the ceiling and trim. 
 The picture might make more sense. 
 (The first color applied is what will bleed under the tape, and it's okay because it will match what is already there.)

 3. You need to let it dry completely! Then proceed with your intended new color. I applied 2 coats of our new gray-blue and let each layer dry before going over it again.

 4. Let it dry all the way before peeling off the tape, and it should leave a straight line!   

 So here is our newly painted dining room!
Honestly, I was very skeptical of this process, but it actually worked!!! 
I was more happy than I should be!

I picked these colors because I was inspired by Carrie Bradshaw's new apartment in the Sex and the City Movie.  I looove the blue with white trim!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Missing the Sea

I am at my breaking point.....

I need the sea!!

Last year was my first summer out of New Jersey, and this being my second summer away, it is becoming torturous.  
Up until then, I was gathering friends and family and heading to the beach every chance I would get.  
It is during these warm months that make me feel like I am truly stuck in Ohio.

There are no words that describe why I love the sea so much - it's just where I feel happiest.

Maybe its the fact that you can go to the beach, sit for the whole day and do nothing, but soak up the sunshine and ride the waves.  It's as simple as it gets.  You can just be.

Next week I will be going home to Jersey for a few weeks and I cannot wait!!
I'll be near the sea with the sun on me and salt in my hair.  The anticipation is killing me.

In the mean time I'll share my favorite things I have come across through my daily internet searching:
 One day I will own a home at the seashore that is full of wood floors and salty air.
 I don't know why, but I really want this ring - if it wasn't $200! yikes.
I plan to make this quote into a decoration for somewhere in my life!

I am waiting to pick this fine read up from the library!  Judge if you must, but I can't wait!

.... please!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Printing With Lace

So I should be working on a paper I need to write, buuuuut I got distracted and ended up making a few handmade cards instead....

Last week when I bought clips needed for my feather earring, I found them in the clearance section with some lace ribbon, and knew I'd come back to it!
Here is a simple way to add some decoration to paper:

Just start with some sort of printing material with will be copied.  
I used lace ribbon, but you could use anything your imagination lets you come up with.  
( I smell a lesson plan in the making!)

 Next, use any paint you have on hand, such as acrylic, or tempura, etc and coat the entire piece of lace evenly and thorough. 

Take whatever piece of paper you will be printing on and align the lace where you want it to be.
I just used some aged construction paper, nothing fancy!

Then, place a clean piece of paper over and rub evenly with fingers.  Make sure the lace isn't moving around, so you get a clean print.

(Tip/technique picked up from Brazil: use a spoon to press on the material.  It is a perfect tool for this.)

 Here is my first print, I really liked the simplicity of it just on the top, but I loved this process and kept on going.

 Over the weekend, David and I ended up in an antique shop in Delaware, OH - which is a beautiful area I've never been to before!  We were in the historic downtown area that had so many cute shops and little cafes....
....I picked up some vintage crocheted material for another project, but I decided to make another card using this!

It's amazing the things I end up doing when I need to be doing schoolwork.  Hopefully I'll have better luck tomorrow!