Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kneeler Update

I'm ashamed that it's been 4 months since I've posted here. YES, I did stuff this summer... some scrapbook pages, a Digi Chick Homecoming project, several knits for the Ravellenic Games. A couple of trips, catching up with family and old friends, celebrating some birthdays.

And last week, in one last burst of summer energy, I dragged ye olde prayer kneeler into the kitchen (from the garage, where it had been serving a useful purpose as a broom and mop holder), and started work on it once again. Thanks to my friend Jennie for suggesting a crafty outing--because of our trip to Woodley Cottage at Bracken Village, I finally invested in some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (color: Provence), which proved to be the salvation of this very frustrating project! On one hand, I wish I'd just shelled out the big bucks for the Annie Sloan a year ago, since you can use it WITHOUT stripping or priming!! But in the end, I'm glad I did all that work, removing the layers of horrible paint; after all that effort, I at least knew exactly what I had to work with, and I was able to take time to fill all the gaps and cracks with wood filler, and do my best to make the kneeler a solid finished piece.

The kneeler came with cushions for both the top and the kneeling part on the bottom; it had been my plan to cover them with a neutral linen fabric, but when I tried it I wasn't happy at all--the upholstered cushions didn't add anything to the piece. Instead I plan to have wood pieces made, with gentle beveled edges, and stain them the same color as the central cross... then I'll keep an eye out for a handmade/antique kneeling pad for the bottom.

Here's a little "retrospective" of how far this piece has come! Still a little ways to go, but at least now it is too pretty to leave sitting in the garage!!

(Yellow velvet pads removed; ready to strip! Cross was metallic gold.)

(Cross stripped down to a distressed cream layer; plan was to stain the body of the kneeler and leave the cross white, but the scuffs and nicks in the wood did not respond well to staining.)

(After staining attempt--yikes. Stripped the remaining paint off of the cross. New plan: paint kneeler body white, leave cross natural.)

(After painting attempt, which covered nicks in the wood, but highlighted the gaps and cracks between the pieces. Before I took this photo, I'd filled all those gaps with Elmer's brand wood filler, and then had lightly sanded off some paint goofs--at this point it actually looked better than I'd expected!)

(Impulse decision while looking at paint swatches at Woodley Cottage, the Annie Sloan stockist; the whites didn't do anything for me... but the Provence blue grabbed me and wouldn't let go. This photo shows the initial painting with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the Provence colorway. Yeah--it was bright, but following the ASCP instruction and going over with both Clear Soft Wax and Dark Soft Wax did the trick!)

(Cross stained with Minwax Provincial, then a rubbing with ASCP Dark Soft Wax.)

(Closeup of paint + wax color.)

I'm hopeful that it won't be another (mumblemumble) months before the piece is completely finished, with a wooden base and top! Fingers crossed, and when it's done I'll have "final" photos to share!

New to this saga? Here are some background posts from Oct. 2011:

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Couple of Upcycled Mini-Albums

I've had a long love affair with mini albums--generally anything smaller than 8x8 inches--and it's been quite a while since I've cooked one up. I've also had a long non-love affair (not *hate*... more like indifference) with "photo a day" type projects, whether they last a week, a month, or a year. As a scrapbooker I've always been more inclined to scrap events, particular memories, or special photos, but not so much the "everyday stuff." I believe in the idea of remembering the nuts and bolts of our everyday life... but I've never really been excited enough about it to muster up the motivation to do it.

So when WM[squared] released this "Everyday" themed grab-bag at ScrapMatters, it seemed like a good opportunity to bite the bullet and attempt a "week in the life" project. I knew I wanted it to be mini; premade (with spots for a bit of journaling and adding in small photos); and I knew I didn't want to spend big bucks on it! I went scrounging through my old craft supplies and the odds and ends of leftovers from my old paper-scrapping days, and came up with a handful of 6x6 page protectors, some garden twine, and a Shutterfly box, and I created this:

I created four 6x6 layouts, arranged for printing on each 12x12 sheet; two full sheets gave me a title page + seven days of the week. There's room for a bit of writing on each day's journaling spot. I'll print a handful of small photos from each day and arrange them (artfully of course! ha!) on the background. It should be a simple, low-maintenance way to preserve a "snapshot" of our life right now.

This is a simple, inexpensive way to use up extra page protectors; I loved the saying on the front of my Shutterfly box, and the color matched this kit perfectly... but any kind of sturdy material can create a cover! Everything from cereal boxes (covered with papers---or not!!) to fabric can be secured around leftover page protectors and bound with ribbon, twine, book rings, or whatever you have at hand. Just be sure to measure your page protectors before cutting your covers (and it's better to go big and need to trim down later on!). My pages had an extra half inch of plastic on the "bound" side, which allows the pages to turn easily and remain flat, so my covers aren't really square--I allowed extra space on the binding side and scored the covers so they would open easily and accommodate the turning pages.

And here's another quick peek at an older but similar upcycled project, using WM[squared]'s Rock Star release (kit and word art):

The cover is a book from the used bookstore ("The Illustrated Dictionary of Guitars"); I cut out the inner pages with a craft knife, punched the covers with my Cropadile tool, and used large book rings to hold my page protectors in place. In this case I had to make my own protectors to fit; I started with standard 8.5x11-sized office-supply protectors, cut them to size, and then messily stitched up the edges on my sewing machine. I left one short end open so I can easily slip in event tickets.

I hope you'll try out some of your own upcycled projects!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Projects I've Been Meaning to Do...

Surely I'm not the only crafter out there who tends to have one or two (or, say, eight) "projects in waiting" sitting around? This week I actually completed a couple of things--which has also enabled me, at long last, to clean up the spaces in my home that had become temporary homes for the supplies I bought in good faith that I would eventually get around to making these!

First, using a 5.5"-square shadowbox frame from Ikea... which we bought in California... which we moved away from a year ago:

using Great Escape: Chicago by WM[squared] Designs

And second, it's Fiesta season here in South Texas and I'd planned all April to make a giant, crazy Fiesta wreath. And I bought a bunch of stuff to make one with. And it has been sitting on my dining room table. And... Fiesta comes to an end this weekend... so it's a bit late to start making a wreath. But I was inspired by THIS and I ended up with this:

(My box of umbrellas had an oddly abundant amount of orange and green! I will probably be shopping for a smaller package of reds and blues to add on!) It's not a wild Fiesta wreath, but it's fun and summery and reminds me of my favorite movie, so I'm calling it my "Be Somebody" wreath!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kelleigh Ratzlaff "Seed Packet Card" Blog Hop!

Welcome blog hoppers! I'm excited to participate in my first-ever blog hop! Today we're using Kelleigh Ratzlaff's awesome new seed-packet card template to inspire you!

(click photos to enlarge!)

If you're following the Hop, you've probably come here from Ria's... and your next stop along the way will be Andrea! Got lost? You can find the whole Hop list on Kelleigh's blog!

I was a long-time paper scrapper before "turning digi" a couple of years ago, and I still have a VERY small stash of paper products... just a few beloved paper lines I couldn't bear to give away, even when I knew I had no plans to make paper layouts again. For this sweet little project, I broke into my hoard of Cosmo Cricket's "Garden Variety" papers and elements.

Kelleigh's template downloads include a variety of options for use; I printed the PDF outline of the card and traced it onto my Garden Variety paper. This is a perfect template to make with double-sided paper, since the inside of the seed packet will be visible when your recipient peeks to see what's hiding inside!

I learned a couple of quick tips while working on this: first, if you're using 12x12 papers, you can cut two seed packet templates out of one sheet. (This would be a perfect way to make a gift set of coordinating packets!) And second, when you're deciding which of the double-sided patterns to use, the front of the packet and the inside of the card will be the same pattern; have that pattern facing up when you trace the template, holding the template as printed with the pocket flaps on the left side. (Confession: this is WHY I made two... I did the first one on the "wrong" side of the paper!)

Be sure to leave comments at the blogs you visit on the Hop... you could win a $10 gift certificate to Kelleigh's boutique at The Digi Chick! The more Blog Hop blogs where you leave comments, the more chances you'll have to win! The deadline is 9 p.m. Eastern, on Thursday, April 26.

Thanks for stopping by---enjoy visiting Andrea's blog---leave a comment (both here and there!)---and good luck!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Exciting news and good intentions!

The announcement went out this morning--I'm now part of the amazing team of Hybrid Chicks at The Digi Chick site! I have had a blast coming up with digital + paper projects for the WM[squared] Designs team for the past several months, and am really excited to add The Hybrid Chick to my creative work. THC focuses on teaching hybrid techniques as well as showing off awesome projects, and I'm really excited to have the opportunity to contribute there!

And, as a bonus, I am feeling very motivated to amp up this blog... since the announcement on The Digi Chick forum included a link to this little corner of the web!! :) So if you've popped over here from TDC, welcome! And I hereby promise (or at least have every good intention toward) a more active blog with lots of hybrid and other scrappy and crafty goodness!

Just a couple other notes for now:

*The prayer kneeler (see older posts) I worked so diligently on for so long is still in the garage in a very sad state. I had lots of optimism when I put a coat of stain on it.... and all the stain did was highlight the scratches and divots and bumps in the wood. I've rethought my plans and am going to go a different direction with it---based on this fabulous chair makeover at CentsationalGirl. I'm even considering twine-wrapping the cross... though that might be a bit much. Meantime, it's back to the paint stripper and power sander!!

*Lent is around the corner (I know, it's super exciting, I'll try to contain myself ;) ). I will be blogging daily at The Ordinary Times beginning February 22. I am planning to do a rather, um, extensive nutritional overhaul during Lent, and I am also scheduled to lead a devotional series at church once a week, so my plan for the blog is to do "40 Days of Prayers" during Lent---to keep it doable (and also because I may need all the prayer I can get to get through my diet cleanse!). Don't worry, though, I don't intend to write prayers about food (or coffee, *sigh*) every day! There will still be scripture references, and prayers based on the Bible. If you'd like to pray the days of Lent with me, please come on over to The Ordinary Times and bookmark it, follow me, or add your email address to receive new posts in your inbox.

*I made two resolutions this New Years, and have actually been somewhat successful so far at keeping up with both of them... and my other "good intention" is to blog a bit about them. So if you're interested in cooking (and getting off the same-old-meals merry-go-round) or fashion (and defrumping a mumsy wardrobe), stay tuned!

Have a wonderful weekend, and I'll be back soon! (At least sooner than 3 months' time! I promise!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coming soon to The Ordinary Times...

Just a quick note to remind you all (and myself!) that Advent is starting SOON, and yes, Virginia, I do plan to blog daily Advent devotions on The Ordinary Times blog. Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 27 for the first post; and add The Ordinary Times to your bookmarks or blog reader (or subscribe to receive posts via email).

I haven't decided for sure yet where I'll be taking scripture readings from, but as always I will post links to the scriptures with each daily post.

Thanks in advance for joining me this year! I can't believe it's almost here... but I'm excited to begin the journey once again!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

What a difference a few chemicals make...



I'm happy that I can put away the scary chemicals now... but I suspect that if I thought stripping paint was tiring and physical, sanding is going to kick my rear. I have even been too tired to knit after working on this for a few hours every day! But I'm excited at the prospect of another shopping trip to the hardware store, soon, to choose stain colors--a day I wasn't sure would be possible.

And, no doubt, another shopping trip (even sooner) for ibuprofen! :) (I have miles of Christmas gifts to knit before I sleep; can't afford to be slowed up by all this "hard" work!)