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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Make a Special Bookmark from a Damaged Vintage Book

Earlier this year, I rescued a damaged vintage home decor book. The front and back covers were transformed into a portfolio for my planner. The spine was just too fragile to use for the planner, and had ripped away from the book.

For those of you who enjoy rescuing vintage books, here is a pretty project to make from all those damaged or fragile old book spines. It couldn't be simpler to do, and you can easily whip up several to sell or give as gifts in an afternoon.

Start by gathering up your supplies. You will need:

  • An old book spine
  • Eyelets
  • Eyelet Setter
  • Fabric Scrap
  • Stickers or text cut from old books -- whatever is handy (I used stickers and a piece of text cut from the same book the spine was taken from)
  • Decoupage Medium (I used Mod Podge, that I shared about in this post about favorite craft resources)

If the spine is still attached to the book cover, carefully remove it. Remove any bits of glue or threads from the spine and trim the sides evenly. Cut a piece of scrap fabric to fit the inside of the spine, and adhere with Mod Podge. Let dry. Now add stickers or paper scraps or book text to the book mark using your Mod Podge. You can add a protective layer of Mod Podge to the front side of the bookmark if you would like.

Using a hole punch and eyelet setter, add an eyelet to the top of the bookmark.

Tie on a piece of ribbon and you are done!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to Organize Crafts With Dollar Store Supplies

I shared an update recently on our organizing efforts in our beach house attic. Here is the promised post on how we are using products from the dollar store (Dollar Tree) to organize craft supplies and tools.

While we are using larger tubs for fabrics and larger items, smaller items just get lost in a big tub. I wanted a solution that was cheap affordable, stackable, and see-through. I don't know about you, but I need to be able to see exactly what is in a container. It inspires me to use my materials and makes locating items easier. I've tried all the cute baskets and containers and "out of sight" storage ideas and they just do not work for me.

I also know that I need to keep tools close at hand, and easy to grab and put away. If it's hard, I just won't do it. I'll just pile stuff in a room and close the door -- with the best intentions of coming back and putting things away properly when I have more time.

Our beach house attic has nary a window, so I wanted something bright and colorful for tool storage. Our local Dollar Tree had the perfect solution -- these pretty pink tubs! I bought the matching square trays to help corral the tubs. Since the tubs are pretty lightweight, you can secure them to the tray with  hot glue or double-sided tape to keep them from tipping when they're loaded up with scissors.

I used larger pink tubs to store chunkier tools and supplies, such as hot glue sticks and guns.

For stamps and other small items, I used these flat tubs from Dollar Tree. These have been working so well for me at the beach house that I bought more of the tubs to organize my much smaller craft supply area in our crash pad in the city.

Our Dollar Tree had these cute sticker frames that are perfect for labeling the contents of a tub. The tubs also come in a taller size, with a slightly smaller lid. I purchased several of those for organizing crafts at the city crash pad.

This system is so much easier to use than the assorted baskets and drawers that I was using previously! You can have the best tools and supplies in the world, but if you can't find them or forget you have them, they are pretty much useless.

I love that our Dollar Tree offers storage and organizing solutions that anyone can afford. While it's great to be able to buy expensive craft storage systems, that's just not an option for a lot of people.

Do you have a favorite storage product from your dollar store? Let me know in the comments!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How We're Turning Our Attic into a Creative Studio

Progress on turning our beach house attic into a studio continues, albeit slowly. It seems like work and social obligations (and back to back colds and flues) have conspired to keep us in the city and away from our beach house for the last month.

On top of that, I misplaced the cord to transfer photos from my camera to my laptop (I finally gave up and ordered a new cord), and my cell phone broke, so I wasn't able to access attic progress pictures from the last visit, so I am waaaaaaay behind in updating you lovely readers!

As you can see, contents of boxes are still being disgorged, and transferred into plastic containers. Where did all that stuff come from? My husband just shakes his head, and mutters something that sounds like "hoarders".

Going through it all has seemed a bit overwhelming at times, but at least we can see the floor finally! I had to stop progress at this point, to order more containers. (Actually, that was just an excuse to leave the attic and go for a walk on the beach.)

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this little dress, packed away with some sewing supplies. This was supposed to be part of my daughter's first grade wardrobe. I loved making her these simple jumpers -- so easy to whip up!  All this dress needed was to have two buttons sewn on. Sigh....

I remember that we moved shortly after the school year started, for my husband's job, then were transferred again almost immediately, and the little dress was lost in the shuffle. By the time I was able to unpack it, my daughter had outgrown it. Now, she's nearly thirty and has her own little girl, Summer Rose. I guess I should just get busy and sew those buttons on so Summer can wear it, right?

Here is a reminder of how the attic looked in February. Click here to read more of that story!

I've enjoyed going through stuff, and organizing. Lots of organizing supplies have come from the Dollar Tree, which I will share more about in a future post. To see a list of craft supplies I always buy from the Dollar Tree, click here.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Make Wire Sphere Charms

Have you ever wondered how to make those fun little wire sphere charms used in assemblage jewelry making? It's easier than you think!

I was recently inspired to make wire sphere charms when I purchased an assemblage piece from the craft store.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DIY Rope Lampshades

New lampshades can cost a fortune, so whenever we can update the ones we already own, I'm all for it. Here is a DIY rope lampshade project I actually did last year, but in the craziness of life, it never quite made it onto the blog.

Our old house was a Queen Anne bungalow, and not all of the furnishings and accessories work in our contemporary rustic beach house.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why I Destroy Books to Create Art

This is a question that has come up time and again over the years. The House Revivals blog is known for altering books, and tearing pages out of books all in the name of creativity.

I often get comments, on the blog, or other social media, and even in person, suggesting that it is nothing short of sacrilege to destroy a book. I get it. As a bibliophile, and staunch First Amendment supporter, I truly understand the power of the written word. How fortunate we are to live in a time and place where we are free to speak or write or read anything we want. It hasn't always been that way, and in parts of the world, it still isn't.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How to Create Altered Art Jewelry

Here is an easy and fun jewelry DIY that uses altered dog tags. These little necklaces take absolutely zero jewelry making skill and go together very quickly.

Altering dog tags is a great way to get your feet wet, if you've been thinking of trying your hand at altered art. Altered journals and canvases can feel a bit intimidating, but dog tags are only about one by two inches in size, so you can finish a project in under half an hour.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Attic Organizing, Time Traveling, and Cropdusting Adventures

Remember that attic project I've been posting about? The one with piles and piles of boxes? Yeah, that one.

I've been up there since Saturday morning, only coming down to eat or sleep. My husband had a business trip to Atlanta, so I took advantage of the time to come out to the beach house alone and work. Of course, my camera has broken during this process, so I can't share new pictures until I figure out how to download from my little backup camera.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How to Decorate with Reds and Yellows

This time of year I really do miss living in a house with a garden. Curling up with a seed catalog on a snowy March day was a favorite pastime in our Colorado days. It was fun to sketch out the flower beds and think about what I wanted to add, come springtime, to create the best combination of colors.

I have always been captivated by the play of colors against each other. When people ask me what is my favorite color I always want to tell them what my favorite color combinations are. One of my all time favorite combinations is yellow with pinks or reds. I still remember the first time I was struck by the combination -- I was a young mom, digging through my mother's fabric trunk for fabric to make a dress for my daughter. I found the prettiest vintage calico with tiny pink rosebuds on a bright yellow background. I was smitten. That fabric found its way into a sweet toddler dress, but I saved every tiny scrap!

Of course, pink and yellow combinations are certainly not new! As I type, the sunset is reflecting off the snow topped Cascade Mountain Range, creating the loveliest pink light against the warmer yellow light reflected from the clouds.

When looking for a particular color combination, look to nature -- she gets it right every time! I love the varying shades of pink against the yellow filaments of the mutabilis rose from Heirloom Roses. So lovely!

Professional designers often pull their color inspiration from nature, or from a nature inspired textile or piece of art.

I found this Etsy listing for depression era fabric. It looks like it would  be right at home in one of my grandmother's quilts -- or in the same quilt with the lovely vintage calico from my daughter's dress.

I love the exuberance of this 1960s era fabric!  When decorating a pink and yellow color scheme, you can draw inspiration from anywhere -- nature, a piece of fabric, a rug, a piece of art, a statement piece of furniture, and so on. Either of the vintage fabrics shown here would be a great jumping off point for a cheery, youthful looking space.

Sometimes your inspiration may come from a couple of different places, and that is perfectly fine!

For instance, this table from 1st Dibs (which I shared in my post about decorating with zinc) already has some rosy staining to the patina of the drawer. The lovely rose I shared above, and the vintage work table look like they were meant to live together!

In this photo, from Country Living, the pinks, reds, and yellows live together beautifully, and the floral arrangements in the space reinforce the color scheme.

In this guest room, from Kelly Wearstlers's home, featured in her book, Hue, the color scheme "grows up". The combination of modern forms and blocks of color make for a beautifully sophisticated space!

Kendall Wilkinson designed this formal living area, using a strong goldenrod color on the walls, with raspberry seating. The bold color choices are echoed in the sofa pillows. The use of neutral colors on some of the larger elements helps keep the color scheme from getting out of control.

Are pinks and yellows colors you would use? It is such a versatile combination -- perfectly at home on a rose, a toddler dress, or in a sophisticated modern space.

I was looking through some old photos and found the still life, above, where I placed an arrangement in a vintage metal file box. I also found this photo, where I shared how to make plant markers from vintage silverware.  The crocheted vintage trivet was a thrift store find!

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Basic Craft Supplies: What I Keep on Hand All the Time

As a constant crafter, there are certain "consumable" supplies I try to keep on hand at all times. Here are a few of my basic "go to" supplies. If I have these items, a recycled cereal box, and Netflix, anything is possible!

For starters, you always want to have a clear drying white glue on hand. My absolute favorite basic white glue is Aleene's Original Tacky Glue. It is affordable and dependable. It grabs fast, so you don't have to wait a long time for glue to dry. I usually buy the eight ounce size (here is an affiliate link to the product:  ALEENES 15599 All Purpose Glue, 8-Ounce).

Lately, I've been thinking I should just go ahead a buy the gallon size bottle -- it's actually a great deal on Amazon. Here is an affiliate link for that, if you want to try it: Aleene's Orignal Tacky Glue 128oz.

I still use regular white school glue for many projects, but for anything that needs to "grab" quickly, I reach for Tacky Glue.

Another staple in my craft supply stash is paintable Elmer's Wood Glue. I've tried many other brands, and always return to this one. I use wood glue for building three-dimensional items out of cardboard, such as putz houses, models, and holiday ornaments. It doesn't set up fast, but the bond is super strong. Wood glue does not dry clear, so it is really only appropriate for projects that will be painted, or decoupaged, or similarly covered. I will sometimes paint a light coat of wood glue over a cardboard or chipboard blank, to seal it and harden it.

Here is an affiliate link:  Elmer's E7020 Carpenter's Wood Glue, 16 Ounces.  If you have space to store larger sizes of glue, the one gallon bottle is a great value. Here is that affiliate link: Elmer's E7050 Carpenter's Wood Glue, 1 Gallon. You can also find Elmer's wood glue at hardware stores and some discount stores.

My all time favorite decoupage medium is matte Mod Podge. It's great for sealing paper projects. It has some thickness to it, and seems to sit on the surface more than other brands. A few years ago I was in an art show in Seattle, but did not have access to any of my original renderings because we were in the middle of a move and our stuff was in storage. I was able to print color copies of my work and Mod Podge the pieces to mat board. Once the pieces were dry, I went back in with more Mod Podge and a brush and made brush marks, following the stroke marks of the renderings. The results were beautiful -- the Mod Podge did not significantly alter the colors, and the brush strokes lent a "high end" feel to the pieces.

Here is an affiliate link for Mod Podge:  Mod Podge CS11302 Original 16-Ounce Glue, Matte Finish. If you decoupage a lot, and have the storage space, the gallon size is a good value. Here is that affiliate link: Mod Podge CS11304 1-Gallon, Matte

Another decoupage medium I love is Beacon Adhesive's Fast Finish Decoupage Sealer. It is a sealer and bonder, all-in-one. I like it because it dries very fast and hard. It is also very thin and seems to penetrate the item you are gluing down. Sometimes Mod Podge looks thick, so if you want a subtler decoupage medium, this may be exactly what you are looking for. It is a little more expensive than Mod Podge, but you don't use more than a few drops, since it is thin. It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes indispensable.

It is a little hard to find -- here in Seattle I can sometimes find it at Pacific Fabrics. Here is an affiliate link to the product through Amazon: Beacon Adhesives Fast Finish Decoupage Sealer, 8-Ounce.

Gesso! I love gesso and use lots of it. Gesso is great for priming canvases and so much more. I use gesso to prime and seal recycled cardboard for painted Christmas ornaments, and for many other mixed media projects. I also use it for paperclay and wood pulp clay and paper mache projects. In a pinch, I've made my own using talc, but I am pretty pleased with this acrylic gesso from ProArt. It is very affordable and gets the job done.

Here is an affiliate link: Pro-Art 16-Ounce Premium Gesso Canvas Primer. If you have enough room to store the 64 ounce size, the economy gesso is a terrific value. Here is that affiliate link: Pro-Art Economy Gesso Canvas Primer, 64-Ounce. You can also find Pro-Art Gesso at most large craft stores.

Dimensional Magic is another favorite. I don't use it as often as the other items, but it's great to have on hand for paper jewelry projects, or to add a "domed" glossy effect to other projects. I seal my projects first, using decoupage medium, then add the dimensional magic. One thing I have learned, is that you must set your items on a perfectly level surface while waiting for the Dimensional Magic to harden, or the surface can end up being a bit lopsided. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it takes quite a bit longer to dry (days), but patience pays off with a hard glossy surface.

You can find Dimensional Magic at most large craft stores. Here is an affiliate link to the product on Amazon: Plaid Mod Podge Dimensional Magic Glue.

I seem to use copious amounts of gold Folk Art paint. It's cheap, it comes in various gold colors (silver is great, too), and it can add a nice finishing touch to projects. I keep it on hand all the time. You can find similar craft paints at large craft stores and discount stores and online. I also keep other colors on hand, but if I run out of purple or blue, the world won't end. I'm not so sure that would be the case if I ran out of gold....

For painting gold on leather, I like Lumiere Bright Gold. It grabs the leather and has a rich luster. There are lots of beautiful Lumiere paint colors, but Bright Gold is the one I keep on hand all the time. Here is an affiliate link to that product: Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Acrylic Paint 2.25 Ounces-Bright Gold

Foam craft brushes. I keep these on hand always. They are great when you need quick smooth coverage, or when you don't want to use your nice brushes, or when you are working with a product that is difficult to wash out, or when you just don't have time to wash your brushes. I actually do wash my foam brushes out -- most of the time -- and often get several uses out of them. They are especially good for squishing paint into awkward nooks and crannies in furniture projects. You can buy these singly, or in multi-packs in just about any craft store, hardware store, discount store or dollar store.  I don't usually use foam brushes for decoupage, as a I find they create tiny bubbles in the medium, but I do use them for most types of paint. I will sometimes use foam brushes for primer and base coats, then switch to a nicer brush for finish coats.... or not, depending on how lazy I'm feeling.

My newest bff is PC-Petrifier. Here is an affilliate link, if you want to check it out: PC Products PC-Petrifier Water-Based Wood Hardener, 16 oz Bottle, Milky White.

Although it is intended for hardening rotted wood, this is great for hardening paper jewelry projects. I learned about the product from the YouTube channel Beyond Bracelets. She uses them for rolled paper beads, but I have also used wood petrifier on flat cardboard jewelry projects. It definitely darkens and intensifies the colors in your papers, so test it first. Here in the Pacific Northwest, you just never know when you're going to get wet, so I was thrilled to discover this product! Although I'm not sure I would swim in paper jewelry hardened with this product (why tempt fate?), I have placed "petrified" paper jewelry components under running water, and perceived no change in the item. I do recommend doing several coats. For flat projects, use a brush to apply, for rolled paper beads, check out Beyond Bracelets for some great tips.

As with all products, wear gloves if necessary, and follow package instructions for use and handling.

I hope this list of products was helpful to you! These are the products I buy again and again and again. Some of the products are typical "craft" products, some are not.

Do you have favorite supplies that you use all the time? I would love to know what your favorite products are, so please share in the comments section!

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To see how to make your own paper bead roller to use with that PC-Petrifier, click here.

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