Please pardon my mess I am doing a little blog makeover.
Hello and Welcome.
I am posting a day early this week as I am off on a little extended weekend getaway shortly.
If you are a frequent visitor you may already know a little bit about how my brain works. You may even be a little bit like me. The other day I stumble across this tutorial for 10 minute milk and honey soap. I have never made my own soap before but I have enjoyed making my own lip balm and some other beauty DIY's. So I thought I would give it a try. I promptly went out and bought some Goats Milk Soap from Hobby Lobby $10.99 for two pounds plus the 40% off coupon made it about $6.60 plus tax.
I looked at the soap molds and they are reasonably priced, but this is where you either appreciate my..........let's call it creative spirit, or you simply think I am a little crazy.
I like to find uses for useless stuff. So I pondered how I could make my own soap molds. If you have ever wondered if you can make a soap mold from cracker and cereal boxes, (these are actually the type of questions that keep me up at night) The short answer is yes you can. But as with many of my experiments there is a cautionary side to this tale.
It all started innocently enough. I cut up some boxes in different shapes and sizes and made some designs to decorate the soaps.
On one of the "molds" I used Elmer's Glue and on the others I used rubber cement to hold my design layers together. To hold the edges onto the molds I used blue painters tape.
Working with the Goat's Milk Soap was very easy. It is soft to cut and melts quickly.
They say you can melt it in the microwave but I prefer the double boiler method using an old tin can, bent a to make a pour spout.
I added a little bit of food coloring and some essentials oils for fragrance.
The soap is made to suspend the additives so you can get lovely color swirl patterns by partially mixing in the colorants.
The soap needs to harden for about 40 minutes after you pour it into the molds.
So far. So Good.
And now the moment of truth.
The blue painters tape works quite well. It holds well while you need it to and comes off easily when you are ready to remove the soap.
The coating on the printed side of the box makes the sides easy to remove from the soap.
This is the mold that was glued with the Elmer's glue. It held the center design the best but the mold looked like this after the soap came out.
I was hoping to make a reusable mold so all the loose glue film was a bit disappointing.
Another unanticipated outcome.
Depending on your point of view the print transfer from the box to the soap could be viewed as good or bad. :-)
On my other molds glued with rubber cement, the sides and bottoms came off easily but the center design stayed in the soap. It had to be pried out which does mess up the design a little or a lot depending on how patient you are feeling.
If I had it to do all over again. I would make the outsides of the molds from the box material as it is easy to cut and to shape. For the center design I would use plastic from a sour cream lid or the like and I would glue it with E-6000 glue. Perhaps there will be further soap mold experiments or I may be on to something completely different next week.
As usual I am running behind today. I see a lot of other bloggers writing about time saving tips and ways to de-clutter and simplify life and I know I am not alone in this feeling of too much to do and too little time to do it.
Recently I have spent some time cleaning out cupboards and closets and it does feel good to clear out some things. But I have been thinking a lot lately about my digital clutter and how to get a handle on it. I spent this morning unsubscribing to several sites and I am hopeful that this will kick start a plan to take more control over my tech life.
All too often I sit down at my computer to do A and hours later find that I haven't even started working on it? It's not as if I am completely wasting my time but it is sometimes an out of control spiral of link following craziness.
Anyway I haven't made any specific plan as of yet but I will be contemplating how to de-clutter my digital life and may write about it if I have any revelations. If you have any tips or suggestions for me I would love to hear about them in the comments.
For today's project I have mostly just pictures and a link you must check out if you like to do your own art journals. I am totally addicted to this woman's video's. Her name is Vicky Papaioannou. I used a lot of her techniques on my art journal page. Of course since I am all about upcycling and using what you have on hand I didn't use any fancy stamps or distress paints or pre-cut shapes or even actual gel medium or for that matter an actual sketch book. :-)
Here is my supply list.
One of my alcohol ink prints from last weeks post
And a few other little decorative kabobbles.
I used all those items
To make this......
Happy Spring Everyone! We have snow on the ground here today but it isn't spring in Colorado without a good snow storm or two.
Before we get to today's project I have to share a little accomplishment that I am quite excited about. I actually found out about it a few weeks ago but it kind of got lost with all the Head Shaving Hoopla.
So here it is......
I have had my first project published. :-)
I made these paper cuff bracelets several months ago.
They were recently published in the Spring 2015 issue of Green Craft Magazine.
But let's get on with this weeks project.
This project started mostly as an experiment. There were successes and failures along the way. First a disclaimer, or maybe it is a confession. but the truth is I have never worked with alcohol ink before. Because of this I don't know how my homemade versions stack up to real alcohol ink like Tim Holtz Ranger Ink. Still I am pretty pleased with most of the results I got.
Several years ago when I bought my printer it came with this big stack of photo paper which I have rarely used. Do people still print photos? Anyway I thought this paper would be a good surface to try out same alcohol ink techniques.
If you have looked into making your own alcohol inks, you already know that two of the most common methods use old permanent markers and Rit fabric dye mixed with rubbing alcohol. I tried both of these methods with good results. The markers are a little messy to get apart and need to soak in the alcohol for a little while to release the full color. With the Rit dye you can pretty much just mix a go.
In all my researching I also came across these suggestions to use as colorants. Food coloring, Easter egg dye and even un-sweetened kool aid packets. I did not try any of these but they all seem to have promise.
In an effort to keep this project as Fru-green as possible I needed to search my house for other color candidates. I found a ball point pen disassembled it, cut up the ink tube and dropped it into the alcohol. This picture was taken right after adding the color. It got much darker after sitting for awhile.
My other most happy experiment was with curry. I love curry but I don't cook with it as much as I would like since the hubby is not really a fan. This also may not be the most cost effective way to make yellow alcohol ink if you buy expensive spices. I purchased a large bottle of curry at Big Lots a while back for a dollar and since it was still in my cupboard I decided to give it a try.
At first I didn't think that I had made anything but a hot mess as the curry does not dissolve and the mixture is quite dark and lumpy looking. But after the curry sediment is filtered out (I used a piece of paper towel to strain the mixture) you are left with a nice gold color.
I had read that working with alcohol ink is quite messy. (The rumors are true -) So I worked on a tray to keep everything contained.
My work space.
A few techniques.
Cotton Ball Dabber.
Empty computer ink cartridge dabber.
Dripping Dropping and letting the ink run.
A few of my favorites.
This one I actually sprinkled salt on while the ink was still wet which gave it the more textured look. I liked it so much I named it Galaxy. (Cuz I am weird that way)
So far I am quite pleased with myself. I have achieved all these lovely colors with my first five color tries.
I really like the vivid vibrant colors that I got on the photo paper. I also tested theses colors on some aluminium and glass with some success.
So, I guess I was getting too big for my britches (is my age showing with that last phrase or what?) Anyway I broke my first cardinal rule of living fru-greenly and I bought these.
It was the beginning of several failed attempts at making more beautiful alcohol ink colors. Here are some other items that do not work very well. Eye shadow, Paprika and Cocoa Powder. :-)
What about you? Have you made your own alcohol ink? What did you use?
One last tip. Check your medicine cabinet for expired eye or ear drops. These bottles work well for applying the ink.
Ever since I had my head shaved (see before and after photos here and the reason behind my decision here) I have been a little obsessed with the idea of shedding, not only my many excess personal belongings, which is, of course the theme for Spring, but also shedding ideas that do not suit me, fears that hold me back and beliefs that limit who I might become. This is easier said than done and I have not fully figured out what I even mean.
In part it is about making life simpler with less clutter and I have been doing a lot of closet and cupboard cleaning and donating. Some things have been easy to part with but most things cause a little pang of emotion and a moment or two of distress before they find their way into the goodwill box Once they are gone they are most likely never thought of again but some times the journey to "the box" can feel like a million miles.
Why do I have an emotional attachment to XY or Z thing that I haven't used in years? It's not a family heirloom or even something with any sentimental value. It is just a thing. A thing that in my mind I have defined as mine and therefore have allowed to become some strange extension of myself. I am me and I have a Z. Who will I be if I don't have a Z? I fret. What if I need my Z tomorrow? I would like to shed this fear of letting things go. I am working on it. I have managed to clean out most of my kitchen cabinets and I feel a lightness each time I see the emptier more organized shelves. There are tougher projects to come like my book shelves and crafting drawers, cupboards, closets, and room. I know I am not the only one who struggles to let go of things and I accept that I am unlikely to master this art but still I can hone my skill and try to cultivate a less is more philosophy.
The process of clearing out and letting go of things is exhausting but the results have been liberating.
Recently we replaced our foam mattress and the craft hoarder / waste watcher in me just could not bear to throw the old mattress away. Even though I am in this new place of purging. I am ashamed to admit that it languished away in our living room for over a week while I contemplated its uncertain fate. I immediately thought of making dog beds but I couldn't think of a suitable material to us as a cover . I have spent hours on previous projects making removable fabric covers. Which aside from all the time to make them had other bigger draw backs.
If you like cleaning and are very diligent about it you may not have these problems but I am not good or diligent about cleaning and since our two dogs and two cats have mastered the art of "shedding" in the most literal sense of the word, cleaning is a mostly losing battle in my house. The fabric covers that I made for previous dog beds were difficult to remove and replace on the foam, they collected hair like a magnet and even when they were clean they were really just cleanish. A while back I switched to old second hand comforters in an effort to at least ride myself of the battle to remove and apply the bed covers. As you can see this was a rather unsightly mess but it did simplify the washing process.
My dog doesn't like having her picture taken. Can you tell? :-)
Anyway back to the "elephant" in the room. For a week I lived with my unresolved conflict eclipsing the couch.
All the while knowing that the time was approaching when I would have to end the duplicity of hanging on and letting go. I pondered what else I could use for a cover feeling guilty about leaving the unsightly behemoth in my living room but feeling worse when I imagined its fate if left out on the curb. To ease my guilt of hanging on I worked on getting rid of other things and so it is, that as I sorted and cleaned, I came across a solution in the linen closet.
I have several rectangular table clothes including this plastic one.
Did I mention that my dinning room table is square? So none of my table clothes even fit the table. Those were some of the easier things to let go.
Anyway the process to make this dog bed with very simple. For the first step I had a little help from the hubby. We marked the mattress with a sharpie and a T square and then cut it into four equal pieces with a hand saw.
There are three foam layers which separated very easily.
I selected one of the layers and wrapped it like a gift box with the table cloth.
I used some straight sewing pins to hold the folds temporarily and then taped it up with some duct tape.
I don't know how well it will wear but it looks a lot better, it will stay so much cleaner. and if I need to, it will be easy to recover.
Now I just need to figure out what to do with all the other mattress pieces :-)
Hello my dear virtual friends,
I have just a quick post today to say I did in fact shave my head on Friday March 13th. Our team raised over 6,000 dollars for the St Baldrick's Foundation. There are events all over the country but the event in Denver at Fado Irish Pub is one of the biggest. This event raised $466,229 and had almost 600 participants. It was a great experience and a fun day with laughing, hanging out with good friends, beer drinking and yep a little crying.
I must tell you, when this all started, I was the last female on our team to sign up and I would never have had the nerve if two of my dear friends weren't also involved in this semi-craziness.
I can't really speak for my friends but I am pretty sure that this was a one time thing for me and I thought that it would be nice to make something to commemorate the event. Being me. of course I had to make that something out of junk. :-)
I used some watch parts, leftover from my other bracelet project, old buttons and even some metal washers to string together these commemorative bracelets.
To stamp the date I used a 5/32" letter stamp set like this one. I am not very good at using it but I did manage to get a legible date.
For those of you who are curious. Some before and after pics.
Me (kind of obvious)
Me with the "Hubby" (The man that got the rest of us involved)
Me and my two beautiful friends.
A hug for courage.
Thanks for stopping by.
My title isn't completely accurate as my hair will actually be gone later today but as I post this I still have a full head of hair. If you are inclined to donate to my fund razing efforts you can still do so on my St Baldrick Page here. I will be deeply grateful. But you will be getting all kinds of good karma for helping to fund research to cure childhood cancers. If you don't know what I am talking about start here.
Shamrock Top Refashion
This was a very simple project to complete.
It started with this green tunic top. The top had a couple of white stains on it that I wanted to disguise. So it was the perfect candidate for a bleach out project and since St Patrick's Day is just around the corner, I decided on the shamrock design.
Step 1 - Print your design shapes on a large sheet of label paper. Carefully cut out shapes.
Step 2 - Layout design and stick to shirt.
Step 3 - Place a piece of cardboard between the layers of the front and back before applying bleach. Use a spray bottle and some bleach to spray shirt. A little bleach goes a long way and will take a minute or two to show up.
Step 4 - Remove a small portion of the sticker design to check bleach effect. Apply more spray if desired try not to saturate the stickers.
Step 5 - Remove all stickers and rinse with soap and water.
Thanks for stopping by.
I will be back next week with a new project and no hair :-)
T minus 7 and counting.........
Yep just 7 days left of hair.
What's this craziness you might wonder, if you have not been here before. Get the back story here. Or you may be tired of hearing about it. Sorry but you will have to endure for a few more weeks as I am sure that I there will be some post shaved head yammering.
One thing I have confirmed about myself during this process is that I am not very good at fund raising. I am also, not surprisingly, very fond of it. But to not ask, would be to miss the point. And so I am asking once again for your help.
There are children fighting for their lives and parents living with the paralyzing fear of losing their child. A horror that I can not imagine. I don't have a heart wrenching personal story to tell you. Somehow, I have lived a life without the terrible intrusion of Cancer. The children in my life are all healthy and I am grateful, although not as mindful as I should be, for this good fortune.
In this context it feels shameful to admit that I am afraid. But honestly I am afraid even though in truth my hair is a small sacrifice.
I hope you will join me by making a small sacrifice of your own.
Alright let's get on with the upcycling.
You may remember a while back during my broken foot stage I made or should I say altered these jeans.
Now that I happily, no longer need a pair of jeans with a big zipper in the leg I have altered them again, with the help of this pair of Capri shorts that were too big and quite worn out in the seat.
Step 1 - Cut off the jeans at the crotch height.
Step 2 - Use some light weight fabric to cut a large rectangle. The dimensions should equal your hip measurement plus an inch or two of ease plus your seam allowance by the approximate length plus hem plus seam allowance.
Step 3 - Sew the rectangle of fabric into a tube and use a long basting stitch to gather it slightly to match the bottom edge of the jean piece. Pin and sew in place.
Step 4 - Cut up the leg portion of the jeans into short stripe of random length approximately 3/4" wide. Sew the pieces end to end into one long strip using both sides of the fabric to get more color contrast. You will need miles of this but you don't have to cut it all at once.
Step 5 - Starting at the top seam stitch down the center of the denim patchwork strip wrapping it around the skirt and over lapping the strips as you work down the skirt. Add more length to the strip as needed.
Step 6 - Continue working down the skirt until you achieve the desired length. I used the double stitched flat felled seam from my jeans for the final wrap around the bottom.
Step 7 - Hem the skirt. You may need to trim the light weight fabric at this point before you sew it up under the skirt.
Step 8 - To finish sew along the top edge of the stripes all the way down the skirt.
Step 9 - Optional add additional embellishments. I love lots of pockets and since the Capri's had a similar pocket style to the jeans I decided to add the two side pockets to my skirt. The Capri's also had some embroidery and rhinestone embellishment that I decided to use.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Greetings from snow covered Colorado!
If you have been following this blog you may already know that I am planning to do something sort of crazy on March 13th. When I first mentioned that I was thinking about this I hadn't decided one way or the other. There were obvious reasons for my hesitation but one that may not be so obvious is this. I want to enjoy this process but I would feel horrible if it appeared that I was in any way trivializing the experience to anyone who had no choice in the matter.
The best way I know how to make this event mean something is to ask for your help. If you have already donated you have my deepest gratitude. If you are thinking of donating I hope you will take the next step here. No amount is too small really. I am trying to reach as many folks as I can who are willing to part with just 10 dollars.
If you have no idea what I am talking about you can find the beginning of the story here.
And now let's get on with the Upcycling shall we?
Start with a light weight maxi skirt with a full silhouette.
You will also need
A Plastic Lid (I used a coffee lid)
A ball point pen (the kind with a softer straw shape shell)
Step 1 - Disassemble the ball point pen and cut the shell piece into 30 small ring pieces.
Step 2 - Using the plastic lid cut six oval pieces approximately 1 1/4" by 7/8"
Step 3 - Cut two slits in each of the plastic oval pieces. The slits should be the width of the ribbon that you are using and spaced about 1/2" apart.
Step 4 - Divide your skirt into 6ths and sew plastic rings on following the diagram below.
I spaced my rings about 4 inches apart as I worked from the hem toward the top your spacing may vary.
Step 5 - Loop ribbon through bottom ring and hand sew in place.
Step 6 - Lace ribbon through remaining rings toward top of garment.
Step 7 - Thread ribbon though oval plastic piece. Extend skirt to full length and tie off end of ribbon.
Step 8 - Repeat this process for the other five cinch lines.
Step 9 - Sew a short ribbon loop at the waist line for each of the cinch lines. This is to hold the long end of ribbon out of the way when the skirt is fully cinched.
Try it on and cinch it up to the length that fits your mood.
Week two of my hair love affair.
Since I decided to wear the short puffy version of the skirt I thought that the puffy "Jasmine" ponytail would go best with this outfit.
I am a product of the "Friends" generation and I still enjoy watching the re-runs on late night TV. In one of the episodes Joey and Phoebe have an argument when Joey declares that there is no such thing as a truly selfless act. The rest of the episode centers around Phoebe trying (and failing) to do something good for others that doesn't also make her feel good.
Last week I announced that I was going to shave my head at the annual St Balrdrick's fundraising event, to help raise money to fund Children's cancer research. I am not trying to imply that my choice is completely selfless because I know that I will benefit from this in many ways. But, I will tell you that I am quite nervous to do this and while I hate to ask people for their hard earned money that is the point of the whole thing. So I hope that you will consider donating a small 10 dollar donation to this worthy cause. It only takes a couple of minutes to be a hero to kids who need your help. (Oh and let's be honest. It would make my day too. ;-)
To donate please click here.
Upcycled - Men's Dress Shirt Make-Over
This project was so fast and easy.
Start with a men's dress shirt that isn't too big in the neck and shoulder area but fits loosely around your hips.
Step 1 - If desired swap out buttons. I went from brown to pink.
Step 2 - Add some decorative stitching in contrasting color.
Step 3 - Take in the sleeve and side seams.
Step 4 - Use excess sleeve fabric to make a rectangular cinch piece for the back.
Step 5 - Attach the cinch piece to the back waistline with more buttons and your done.
True confessions (I am having little four week love affair with my hair before I have to say goodbye to it.)
What do you think of my flash back to grade school look?
Thanks for stopping by and of course
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was wrestling with a decision. Today with part excitement and part trepidation I am sharing what I have determined.
For the past several years the hubby has participated in the St Baldrick's Foundation's fund raising event and I have been there to support him. Each time I have watched on the sidelines as hundreds of men, women and children have had their heads shaved and raised thousands of dollars to support children's cancer research. I have stood as a spectator and felt that perhaps I should participate, someday.
Someday is that day that is never today and ambiguously guarantees to come or to not come. We feel comfortable in the knowledge that it is our choice to make someday happen or to forever leave it out there in the future. A promise to ourselves that we have yet to keep. One we may never keep. Someday is a safe day it is the void between doing and not doing.
I like someday. It is the day that I can pretend to be amazing without ever having to be brave enough to follow through. But living life is about having real experiences and not pretend ones. Someday is really just a facade that can become a horrible trap. If we let it persuade us that it is a real day. If we don't own up to the responsibility to make someday actually happen.
And so. I am joining the ranks of shavies this year.
Yep. I just said I am going to have my head shaved. It feels pretty weird to write that.
The event takes place at Fido Irish Pub on March 13th. Exactly one month from the date of this post.
At this point some of you may be thinking what is the big deal? While others of you may be thinking you would never in a million years do such a thing. For both camps I can only offer.....
One of my "Somedays" is here.
One of my hesitations to do this of course is the actual being bald part. But I am equally intimidated by the idea of asking people for their financial support. Again some of you may be thinking "What is the big deal?" All I can say is that for me it feels awkward. But, the fund raising part is of course the real point of the whole thing. To help find cures for children literally fighting for their lives.
So I am asking. I am hoping to reach 100 people who are willing to donate just $10.00. If I do that I will reach my goal. If you would like to be one of my 100 please visit my fund raising page here.
Thank you for reading this and considering a donation.
And now on with the Upcycling
Upcycled T-shirt Patchwork Kaftan Dress
It's horrible to admit this but ever since I broke my foot, and even before that I guess, my weight has been creeping upwards at a slow but steady pace. I am trying to head in the other direction but currently still enjoy wearing the soft and stretchy knit fabrics the best. And while you may never want to leave the house in a garment that could fit two people in it, (I have no such aversions) you can't beat a kaftan for all around comfort. Pair the styling with knit t-shirts and it's practically P.J's.
AKA - Delightfully compfy!
By the way whoever invented leggings was kind of an evil genius. Don't you think?
For this project you will need:
Two men's t-shirts of the same size. They should be big enough to fit very loosely around your hips. Collect any other knit scraps as desired. You will also need a sewing machine and basic sewing tools (tape measure, pins, scissors, etc)
Step 1 - Mark and cut t-shirts as diagram shows below.
Step 2 - Set the bottom pieces aside. Trim the sleeve hems off of the open sleeves.
Step 3 - Line up the two top pieces with center fronts and sleeve edges. Use a non permanent fabric marker to mark the sew line on both pieces at the same time. Use marker to mark a cut line 5/8" from the sewing line. Be sure to mark the cut line on opposite sides of the sew line on the two pieces. Carefully cut along cutting line on both pieces.
Step 4 - With wrong sides of fabric together pin the "keep" sections from the diagram together matching edges and shoulder seams. Sew with a 5/8" seam.
You should now have the top portion of the kaftan looking like this diagram. Write down your measurements for A and B as described in diagram.
Step 5 - Now it is time for a little math and creativity. Gather all your fabric scraps and left over t-shirt parts and lay them out in a pattern that you like. It is easiest to work with squares and rectangles but you don't have too. All you have to do is end up with two large pieces that match your A by B measurements. Any time you are planning to sew two pieces together just be sure to add your 5/8" seam allowance to both pieces before cutting.
Step 6 - Once you have two patchwork pieces that measure A by B you are ready to pin and sew them to your shoulder / neck piece. At this point you should have one big rectangle with the t-shirt neck hole in the middle.
Step 7 - Finish raw edges by pressing and stitching approximately 1 1/2" fold around all four sides.
Step 8 - Fold garment at shoulder seam with wrong sides together matching side seams and bottom hem. Follow stitching pattern in diagram below. If desired add two button hole slits in front only for optional belt.
Thanks so much for stopping by and as always,
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor touched but are felt in the heart. – Helen Keller.