Thursday, February 26, 2009

Paint a "Stained Glass" Window

Salvaging old windows is sort of a hobby of mine. There's just something about the wood frames that evokes a simpler time, as compared to the fiberglass frames of today. Yes, they have their problems (chipping lead paint and poor insulation to name but two), but they are solidly constructed. You'll find windows at salvage and antique stores, flea markets, yard sales and even random places alongside the road.

There is a myriad of uses for old windows: use as a top for a coffee table; take out the windows and replace them with mirror; or, leave the windows and line with cork for a bulletin board or paint with chalk paint for a chalkboard. You can also put photos inside the windows and back them with a mat to use as a picture frame.

My favorite use is to paint the windows with a "stained glass" paint (like the ones by Plaid, for example). It comes with "lead" strips that mimic the lead lines in an actual stained glass window.

I painted this rather large window by copying a window I had once seen in a chapel. I attached 2 picture hangers to the back and it now hangs over the piano in our childrens' playroom.

This one I painted like an American flag and it hung in the window of our bathroom for a while (note to self: don't hang in a window again because it causes the paint to fade...I now have a pink, white & baby blue flag).

Obviously, I was going through a very "red" phase when I painted this one. I did end up selling it at a craft show so I suppose someone saw the beauty in it! Usually I don't paint the frames themselves; sometimes I just sand the rough edges down a little. It is awfully tempting to peel the cracked paint off but that should be avoided due to the probability of lead paint being present (keep cracking pieces away from children).

Stained glass paint can be used on new windows too. The master bathroom door in our first home was a French door (why I picked that out I'll never know) and we shortly realized that no matter how much we loved each other, a little privacy is a good thing! So I painted the windows. The paint is totally removable and each section comes off in a sheet.

I flipped when I saw this window in a store called Eggcentricities in Bluffton, South Carolina! I just had to have it. I remember I was with a friend (you know who you are!) and she gave me this look and asked "where would you put that?!?" So, rather than risk explaining that I really didn't have a place for it but that polka-dotted chickens were my thing, I didn't buy it then. I called back later and had it shipped to me. Now it's hanging over the changing table in my daughter's room and I must say it looks so cute! Each one of our kids has loved making chicken sounds as they looked at the bright hens while getting their diaper changed.

Here's my version of a feathered friend: a rooster that's propped in our twin sons' room. He wakes them right on time in the morning (and at night several times once in a while!).


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Affordable Art

Oversized art pieces make a statement in any space. They're big and bold and you only need one item as opposed to the several it would take to fill up the same area. You don't even need to hang them...if you have the right spot you can just prop the piece, as I did here, for the same effect (and fewer holes in your wall).

You might find yourself shying away from even considering these overscale pieces due to price. Surprise, surprise! They're not that expensive. Take this colorful floral "painting" I purchased at Ballard Designs a few years ago for only $299. At roughly 47" square, it's a bargain when you consider you'd need many smaller prints to fill up the same space.

These bold flowers are printed on gallery-wrapped canvas (read: you don't need a frame) and mimic an original oil painting.

Most people don't know that it's not the real thing. I knew I'd hit the jackpot when my dad, a serious art collector, asked me who the artist was. I'm pretty sure he'd never heard of the collective works of Madamoiselle Ballard!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Paint Chip Placecards

Placecards make dinner parties more fun! Especially if you mix the guests up a bit and stick your newly-divorced uncle Chester next to shy little Thelma from down the street. There are many ways to do placecards. Here is an easy (and free!) idea: use paint chips from home improvement stores.

I'm not advocating going into Lowe's and taking a huge stack of paint chips home with you. Just a few that you would probably use anyway in your next painting project. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and you can fold them differently, as I did here.

No need to match the colors to your table setting exactly. Just pick some hues you love and go with it. (Once again, I used my bandana napkin trick, as mentioned in a previous post. And by the way, denim is my absolute favorite for goes with everything!)

Paint chips are fun to use for kids' parties as well as the adult dinner party. Just please don't switch the names around when you come to my house. There's a reason I put you next to my 90-year-old aunt Louise.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Paint Your Own Pottery

I hate to keep bringing up all of the things I did pre-kids, but here's another one: hanging out all day at a paint-your-own-pottery studio. I really did that in my other life. But now I'm so happy because the kids are getting older and I can take them there! Ok, so they don't really have the attention span to be there all day, yet, but I'm sure that soon they will love it as much as I do! (?)

I'm even happier because we just got a studio in my hometown, aptly named Kil'n Time. I can't wait to plant myself there for at least 20 minutes (would love to stay longer but may have to wait a few years for that one!). Pottery studios have unfinished pieces in a multitude of shapes and sizes. You paint it, they glaze and fire it and in a week or so you have your masterpiece.

My friend Beth ended up with this "Let it Snow" plate I painted for our Christmas white elephant gift exchange one year. She's probably retired it for the year after all of the flakes we've had lately.

All my friends know how much I love leopard and zebra prints...I tried them out on these little dishes. I also did a set of dinner plates (everything is food safe) for the lake, which I'll post in the spring.

One of my favorite projects, which I ended up doing twice because it got broken, was the family plate below for my dad and step-mom. Around the outer edge is our last name and on the inside are all of our family members' names in a circle, starting with my grandparents and winding around to the smallest cousin. Quite a few more names have been added in the years since...a new plate will have to be started!

Kids of all ages can enjoy painting pottery. My three-year-old son (who was 2 1/2 at the time) painted this adorable car for his daddy for Christmas, as well as some other priceless little treasures for his grandparents. Boy, did he ever get messy, but it was so worth it! Don't forget to sign your name or your child's to the back and add the date so that you'll never forget the who and when of your keepsake.

When the kids get a little older I'm going to have them each make a "signature" dinner plate to add to our collection. Put a smock on them, hand them a paint brush and let them go to town!

I can't wait for all the birthday parties (and girls' nights out) I know we'll have at the new studio. The question is...who will enjoy it more, the kids or me? I think I already know the answer.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hoops & Loops

A few sick kids can really set you back in the blogging world! After several days off I'm back with a quick post to show you some of my latest earring creations, many made with vintage beads.

Much easier to come up with than necklaces, these hoops, loops and dangles are keeping me busy. Lately I've been making them for friends, stores and shows.

If you see something you like, dangle me a line. I'd love to make your ears happy too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rugs on Ebay

I think you might be surprised to learn how inexpensively you can purchase rugs on ebay. And I'm talking about really good rugs. Authentic antique oriental rugs that you'd think would cost thousands.

For our corporate museum project, we purchased 22 oriental rugs, all on ebay, ranging in size from runners all the way up to 10' x 13'. They are all exquisite and authentic.

Now here's the amazing part: the most we paid for any single rug was $424. That's four hundred and twenty-four dollars. The total bill for all 22 rugs came to a whopping $5,274.10, which included shipping.

Of course it helps to know what search terms to use and to buy only from reputable dealers who have extremely positive ebay feedback.

Some good search terms include: Malayer Persian, Persian Caucasian, Kashan Persian, Tabriz Persian, Meshkin Travel Persian and Isfehan Persian. You can try including the word "antique" with any of those to narrow your search a bit. For an oversized rug, try including "palace size" in your search.

Happy rug shopping! Drop me a line about any great rugs (or other items) you find on ebay!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Wrapped in a Bow

Ok, so real furs aren't exactly in vogue right now, but I wouldn't trade this one for anything. This was my grandmother's little white mink stole and she passed it down to me, so I treasure it. She was ultra-fashionable and I remember her wearing this on many occasions. Wouldn't she love knowing that I wore it to a black-tie affair on Valentine's Day!

The stole certainly doesn't need any embellishments to be fabulous but this extra touch gives it a wow factor.

I looped a long piece of double-faced satin turquoise ribbon around the button closure and tied it in a gigantic bow. The sky is the limit on colors and the bow can be changed with every outfit!

Fur coats and stoles can be found at flea markets and on ebay, in case your grandmother left hers to cousin Bertha instead.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eye Candy

This is my collection of vintage brooches, earrings and belt buckles. I've picked them up over the years at flea markets, yard sales and on ebay. Sometimes I wear the pins on a dress or jacket. I also turn them into one-of-a-kind necklaces and sell them in stores, to friends and on my website.

It's fun to just look at them too and imagine their history. They may have gone to fabulous balls, state dinners or walked the red carpet!

My latest project was to hot glue several of them onto a belt buckle. I think I'll wear it with jeans and my cowboy boots (vintage, of course).


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Heart Ornaments

Thanks to Chrissie at flip flops & applesauce for this fun project! My three-year-old and I had a ball doing it so I thought I'd share our version with you. First you will need to make your own dough:

2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, 3/4 cup hot water

mix with a wooden spoon or your hands

*tip: coat your hands and work surface with
plenty of flour so you don't get too sticky!

For this recipe you definitely don't want to lick the bowl...yucky salt taste! Roll out the dough fairly thin on a cutting board and cut out your shapes. We used a heart, of course, but think of the shapes you could make: bunny, reindeer, star, etc.! Put a hole in the ornament so you can loop a ribbon through it. I used the end of a paint brush to make our holes, which need to be very clean-cut so there's enough room for the ribbon. Bake the ornaments in the microwave for about 2-4 minutes. They will be very hot so use caution when removing them! After they cool, paint a coat of Mod Podge on the ornaments.

Sprinkle (or in our case, pour) glitter on the hearts. You could also just paint them rather than using Mod Podge and glitter.

We had a virtual rainbow of hearts!

The finished product hangs from a kitchen cabinet.

We gave ornaments to daddy, grandparents and friends.

Happy hearts day!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentines for Kids

Our church is having a Valentine's party for the kids on Sunday. We were given a list of the children in class so that we could give everyone a Valentine. Realizing that this could turn into a costly proposition over the next 18 years, I decided that we would make our Valentines. When I told my mom this she gasped, but seriously it really doesn't take long, it costs pennies and it puts a personal touch on the cards.

Our four children are in the same class so we are making one Valentine for each person that will be from all four. Since they are ages three and under I have to help the process along a little (as they get older the kids will be able to do the entire card by themselves). I used a piece of red paper, size 8.5" x 11", and on my computer printed "Happy Valentine's Day" on the bottom front. On the other side I printed their names and then folded it in half (turn the paper upside down so it works out when you fold it in half).

My three-year-old used Elmer's glue and helped apply glitter in heart shapes on the front (you can trace a heart shape and hope to sort of stay in the lines!). On the inside I let the kids scribble with markers and add stickers (don't worry, we used washable markers...I just thought it would be funny to show Sharpies to make my mom gasp even more!).

I hope the other 2 & 3-year-olds enjoy the cards as much as we enjoyed making them!


And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to Tatting Chic (check out her great blog, featuring lace needlework), who won these earrings in my One World One Heart giveaway! Thanks so much to everyone who made such nice comments about the earrings. An astounding 236 people entered my drawing and 911 different bloggers participated in the giveaway!

I'll be doing another giveaway in a few weeks, so check back often.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Heart to Heart

Here's a quick and easy jewelry project to make for Valentine's Day. I found a clear plastic heart-shaped pendant at a bead store (similar ones can be found at craft stores).

Then I cut a heart shape to size out of zebra-patterned tissue paper. Extra-sharp scissors should be used for the cleanest cut. Next I covered one side of the heart with Mod Podge decoupage glue, using a small sponge paint brush, and laid the tissue on it, face down. This is the underside of the pendant; the front side of the tissue will show through the other side of the heart. You may have to work with the tissue a little while the glue is wet in order to remove any creases and air bubbles. I used a straight pin to gently work a hole into the tissue paper to correspond with the hole in the pendant. Finally, I covered the back side of the tissue with another coat of Mod Podge and let it dry.

After the glue dried, I put a red leather cord through the pendant and tied it to make a necklace. Make a Valentine for yourself while waiting for one from that special someone!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Crazy for Quilts

I'm crazy for crazy quilts. The crazy-quilting fad began in the United States in the 1880s. My great-grandmother, Annie Louise Jackson McGlothlin, made the crazy quilt in the photo below around 1890, when she was about 19, at her home on Garden Creek in Buchanan County, Virginia. The time she must have devoted to this beautiful creation is phenomenal. It was made of wool and cotton flannel and measured about 72" x 61". Her quilt is now hanging in the Fields-Penn 1860 House Museum in Abingdon, Virginia, as part of the permanent collection of the William King Regional Arts Center (WKRAC).

In her book Great Road Style, my friend and long-time director of WKRAC Betsy White describes the quilt as an "organized crazy pattern." I love that description and am sure my great-granny and I would have had a lot in common had we had the good fortune to meet!

Crazy quilts can be found in antique stores if you're lucky; really nice ones fetch over $200. That's not so bad when you consider the many projects you can make with just one quilt, if you're willing to cut it up, that is! The first two projects below were made with one crazy quilt, and the other two with another one (with some left over).

For our corporate museum I had two square pillows covered with part of a crazy quilt. The color pops when placed on the dark green velvet sofa.

Also in the museum, I used a small section of crazy quilt to trim the hem of a red velvet valance. The quilt isn't actually sewn on there; it's just pinned and has stayed put for over 4 years! The valance itself was part of a theatre curtain in a former life (more on that in another post).

From the second crazy quilt, I made this purse (along with another, mentioned in a separate post) and attached leopard ribbon handles and a vintage orange rhinestone circle brooch.

These are my dining room chair cushions. They are a colorful lot! I purchased the chairs and cushions at Crate & Barrel and then had the cushions covered with the crazy quilt.

Each part of the quilt truly tells a story. These are just some of the fascinating squares from the quilt that my family sits on daily! First we have someone's initials, perhaps a new bride. Then an American flag, a peacock-like fan of colors and finally an artist's palette. I imagine the women telling stories as they made this, much like my great-grandmother would have done.

To secure the cushion to the seat, I had two narrow pieces of lime green fabric attached to the back of each cushion so they can be tied around the chair legs. The great thing about the crazy quilt is that it will match any color!

I applied one of the quilt scraps to a lampshade, as shown in another post.

I even have a modern take on a crazy quilt in our guest room, this one purchased a few years ago at Pottery Barn.

Maybe I have gone a little over the top, er, crazy, for these quilts but enjoying their history and versatility is worth a little insanity on my part.