Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Winter Branch Wall Hanging

With winter comes snowballs and sledding, warm coats and cold noses.  After a few months, it also seems to bring with it a hopefulness for spring and for a time when the world will again be in blossom and things will maybe be a little easier (driving, for one!).  Sometimes, we feel an emotional "winter" in our lives, and we need to be reminded that it is just for a season, and that after winter comes Spring. That is partially the idea from whence this lovely wall-hanging was sprung-- it was meaningful to me, as well as useful in filling a nice empty spot I had on the wall behind my piano.  :)

To make this wall-hanging I just needed a few easy-to-find materials:  a square canvas, Silhouette Double-Sided Adhesive Sheets, a sprig of fake red berries, brown and black crafting paint, and some fine, brown charcoal glitter (the latter was actually the hardest to find, as far as a color that I liked.)  To start, I first watered down the brown crafting paint and then applied it to the canvas with a large sponge brush.  I then immediately wiped over it with a soft cloth to create a light antiqued look.  This helped tone down the bright white background of the canvas.  I decided to paint the edges of the canvas (it stands out about 3/4 an inch from the wall) black to help the picture "pop" from the wall depending on the angle from which you approach it.  Next came designing the branch image I wanted to use.  I made my design by transforming an existing image of a tree with bare branches.  I used the Silhouette eraser function to get rid of some of the branches, used the "edit points" function to change the shape of some of the twigs (to elongate, make skinner or fatter, etc.), and finally turned the "tree" into the type of branch I had been envisioning, and which you see.  These functions can seem a little tricky at first, but they are something that even beginners can use.  I will do a tutorial post on those in the coming month.  

Because the adhesive sheets are standard "letter" size (8 1/2 by 11 inches), my entire image could not be cut on just one sheet.  I remedied this by copying and slicing my image at two different points, so as to be able to overlap each piece on top of where I had to cut it. Because of the nature of the double sided adhesive, I wasn't worried about my "cut" lines being noticeable once the glitter medium was put on, as I knew it would cover them seamlessly because of the overlap. I cut as many of these "pieces" as I could fit on one page, and then applied each piece to where I wanted it on the prepped canvas by peeling off the yellow backing sheet and placing the image sticky-side down. 

Once I had the back-side stuck in place on the canvas, I peeled off the top white protective layer to expose the top side of the adhesive image.  Next, all I did was sprinkle on some gorgeous glitter and shake it down the canvas. It adhered perfectly.  Even after giving the canvas some light tapping on the backside to help shake off excess glitter, that on the adhesive stayed perfectly in place. 

Next, I hot-glued on the berries and then chose a font for my script (I used "Painter's Handbrush"). After using transfer tape to...well to transfer the vinyl to the canvas, I was finished.

Now it's on to awaiting spring, while enjoying the wonders of winter....

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bridal Shower Invites

Ever see those absolutely adorable cards in the stores, the ones with all the cute little glued-on details and that cost like...$4.50 a piece?  ;)  Well, I wanted some for my friend Brit's bridal shower, but didn't have the funds for the pre-purchased things at that cost.  Good thing, the total set of 25 invites that I made today cost a total of about $6.50--yes, total.  And they were hand-made with love. :) They take just a little bit more time, but are super adorable.  Just throw on your favorite TV show on Hulu as you adhere the ribbon and rhinestones, and you'll have super cute cards ready for mailing before the show is over! 

This was the stuff I needed: textured or pearl finished white designed paper, cream colored paper for the printed inserts, 1/8"ribbon, small adhesive  "bling", and 1/8" glue dots.
I found the "wedding dress card" image in my Silhouette library.  (It is still offered in the online Silhouette store.) I decided on a textured and slight print design on the white paper to give it a bit more "umph"/adorableness.  (That's a real word--you should use it.) Luckily, Hobby Lobby had a pack of just what I had in mind on sale for 1/2 off today.  Half the store is half-off all of the time, and it's always switching.  You should have no problem getting what you want on sale if you just watch the sales.  And can I just confess something that I am sure we all have a problem with?  I just need to say...that place is my downfall.  It has so many great things, I instantaneously want to take up crocheting, painting, welding, jewelry making and paper mache artistry, all while redecorating my entire apartment in new DIY projects and decor.  Yeah.  Must. Get. Out. ...Truly.  The "bling" rhinestones were only $2 at WalMart. The ribbon was in one of Brit's colors. (I figured it'd match her other things if she wanted to scrapbook a card later.)

Cutting pearl-finished cardstock can be done easily with your Silhouette, though there isn't a setting specifically for it.  I set it as "glittered/flocked cardstock", but then lowered the thickness to 30.  That may have still been a bit too thick, but it cut beautifully. Just be sure to check "double-cut" if it isn't cutting through all the way, and play around with your setting some.  A slow speed is good for thicker paper so it doesn't snag or bunch up.  

Applying that many small rhinestones can be a bit tedious getting them to set in the correct place.  I used my Silhouette "pick-me-up" tool with the first few to place them right where I wanted.  This tool is pretty handy for working with small embellishments and die-cuts letterings, etc.  Click on this link to see a tutorial about the tool and how to use it/how it works.

After that, I just had to use a little stick glue to adhere the inserts to the inside of the card with the information about the shower.  (For the inserts, I sized down one of the cards images until the skirt was just a bit smaller than the original, erased the top of the dress, and used that for the printed information portion.)

Guess I can check that item off my To-Do list! 
Oh, and did I mention that they stand up?  So adorable. :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Grandpa's Lil' Artist Wall Hanging

So, if you have kids, are ever around kids, have ever seen kids, know what kids are...you know that kids often like to produce tons of artwork.  Artwork on paper, in coloring books, on the wall, with their food, you name it.  Kids are naturally creative!  And I love it.  I feel like a big kid sometimes with how excited I get over something I've painted, or even colored in a coloring book with my niece.  There. That's my weekly confession. :)  And what do kids do once they've made something?  (At least, the things they know they won't get in trouble for?)  They like to give it to you!  Or to someone else that they love.  You know exactly what I'm talking about, I'm sure.  I recently went home for Christmas break and was the loved recipient of no less than 20 pieces of art and pictures drawn and colored by my two young nieces (one of my nieces particularly loves to color). See Exhibit A for a sampling:

Exhibit A

I love it.  It makes me feel loved by those cute kids that I only get to see 2-3 times a year.  But anyways. What do you do once you get all these papers and lovely early masterpieces by future Van Goghs? Where do you put them all?  I've taken to keeping the ones mailed or given to me (at least, some of them--I can't have a room dedicated to just storing amassed, ripped-out coloring book pages!) in what I call my "You Make Me Happy" binder.  More on that some other time.  Another idea is to make something like the following for yourself, or to give it as a gift (as was the case with this particular one):

My Mom had the board lying around (she's so great for stuff like that) and then all we used was a little black vinyl with her Cricut cartridge, Lyrical Letters, hot-glued on a few of those clamps, and voila--a super cute way to display the artworks of your little ones.  Now you can save the front of the fridge for wedding announcements and A+ report cards. ;)

(Note:  I chose the "Jack Sprat" font from Lyrical Letters, in case you were wondering.  But there are all sorts of other fun cartridges with great "kid-like" fonts, such as Alphalicious, Ashlyn's Alphabet,  Learning Curve, and ZooBalloo just to name a few. All depends on the look you think you're going for.)