I have a confession to make... I didn't read Harry Potter when I was a kid (enter shocked faces)! I know, I know, how could I not have?! To be honest, I remember my parents buying the first book for me and coming home with it. I remember one of them saying "Here, everyone's talking about this, kids supposedly are obsessed with it". Well, maybe that comment was what threw me off because I, for as long as I can remember, hate doing what everyone else does. I do remember trying to read it, however, but never made it past the first chapter. So, once I became a librarian, I decided that this shame was unacceptable, I MUST read HP and ASAP! Well, I don't know what changed, but I read them all within a a couple of weeks and was in love with them. So yes, I am an HP fan, but it just took me 20 years!
With my job at the library I am constantly receiving strange and unusual things from customers and fellow staff members in the hopes that I will save the item from the dumpster. To be honest, I kind of love it! It's like... a "thing" now and I love the challenge. One of our patrons who I have grown to know quite well over the last couple of years, is a gentleman named Ralph. I first met him when he came into the library saying he worked at a warehouse that was closing and asked if we librarians would want anything for crafts or programs. Well on to his warehouse I went and ever since then he stops by and gives me more fun things to use, I love it.
One item he gave me was 2 hugeeee boxes of long skinny green boxes. I had no idea what I'd use them for but as always I said, "Yep, I'll take 'em". So there I was staring at 200 of these narrow boxes and the only thing I could think of... wand box. These boxes were perfect, I mean perrrrrfect for a wand so that's what they became! Below are the steps I took to make a simple wand with easily found materials, hopefully you can find a similar box to use too or just make the wand itself!
1. Layer 2 sheets of copy paper and begin rolling from one corner into a cone shape (it might take a few tries to get the right look/size).
4. This will leave a hole at the end, fill this in with crumpled up paper so the wand becomes sturdier, and fill the end with hot glue to secure.
5. Paint your wand whatever color you would like. It may take a couple of coats to cover completely.
7. Use hot glue to create the character of your wand. While holding the wand, slowly rotate it as you create your lines and shapes with the glue and be careful with your fingers!
8. Place some of your beads into the hot glue for a “jeweled” effect. One at the end looks very authentic!
9. Paint over the hot glue with your base color and then again with the metallic paint.
11. Lastly, I wanted to make the box look more "legit". I found both velvet and adhesive mirror pieces to use. I measured and cut the pieces to fit the interior of each side and glued them in each spot. And ta-da! Just look at that beautiful wand! I think it'd be really cool to make a velvet pillow for the inside of the box for the wand to rest on as well!
-Old t-shirt (the bigger the better unless you have itty bitties doing this project!)
-Good pair of scissors
(that's it, crazy!)
1. Lay your t-shirt on the floor or a flat surface (actually make sure it's laid out evenly unlike me!)
2. Cut off the sleeves of your shirt in a half U-shape (you're creating the handles of the bag with this step). You can draw this out if you prefer but I just went ahead and cut away!
3. Next, cut the neckline into a complete U-shape (you are creating the bag opening here).
4. Next, cut "fringe" strips at the bottom of the shirt (exactly like you were making a fleece tie blanket!). You are cutting through both the front and back layers here. Note: I should have cut off the hem strip on the bottom of the shirt because I, personally, do not like that extra chunk of fabric. I ended up having to cut this off each piece afterwards!
5. Tie the front and back fringes together in a knot and continue all the way across the bottom of the shirt.
6. And just like that, you have a new tote bag! ...But let me show you the cool thing about this bag...
If you're into the hippie vibe and dig those fringes, you can totally rock it that way! BUT, if fringe just ain't your thing then go ahead and flip the whole bag inside out! Those fringes will be hidden on the inside and no one will know! Check it...
Note: you can even add some embellishments like these cute bows made out of scrap fabric!
This painting is what I chose to mimic for my October Painted Canvas program at work. I run a "Painted Canvas" program once every quarter along with other monthly craft programs, but the Painted Canvas is, by far, people's favorite. With my other craft programs I usually always have empty seats even if the class had a full registration list but that is definitely not the case with Painted Canvas! The seats are always full!
I wanted to do something "spooky" for this quarter's painting program especially since it's October. I had something else in mind originally but ended up picking this one! I followed the tutorial from "Painting with Jane" on Youtube, she's amazing! I didn't go about it exactly as she did. She used a gold metallic canvas (have never seen those before!!) and a paint/gel medium mixture to create translucent paint. I changed mine to just using a sponge on top of gold metallic paint. It's an "ok" effect, and one I think is easier for people in my class but maybe sometime I'll give the gel medium technique a shot!
1. The first step is to trace your large circular object for your blood moon (I used a large plastic bowl). You want it to be nice and big to fill up your background. Paint this circle with your gold metallic paint (you should do 2 coats).
2. "Painting with Jane" recommended using translucent paint so that the colors do not get "muddy". I understood what she meant when I started sponge painting the colors. It did seem to get muddy but I was ok with it overall once it was done. Like I said earlier, I would like to try the original artist's technique in the future. I used a dry sponge and dipped it slightly in the paint, do not saturated your sponge! I started with brown for the dark shadows on the moon, then went into orange, blending slightly, I went back through with more gold to still have the gold represented, it's too pretty not to!
3. Before we are done with the moon, add some silver highlights with your sponge, you can add a dab of white too if you're feeling daring!
4. Retrace the same object you used to reemphasize your circle. With a flat or angled brush, trace the outline of your moon with black paint. Take your time and be patient on this step. Paint the remaining white space black. I used two coats of black paint. As I put the second coat on, I also mixed in a bit of silver to make the background seem "shimmery". You don't have to do this part, it is a personal preference. You will notice this effect more in later photos.
5. Trace your bird/branch template or free draw a bird if you feel comfortable. Paint this entire space black for a good base coat. I left a spot open for the raven's eye so that some of the gold shows through later.
7. In between painting feathers, I went in for the beak and tried to mimic the shape done in the video.
8. I highlighted everything with white. I used my smallest/pointiest brush for this and went over the previous grey with light, quick strokes.
9. The last step is to highlight the gnarly tree branch! To do this, I lightly added some silver in various spots then, again, lightly added some white to those same highlights in smaller strokes.
That's really it! Sign your painting with your initials and you are good to go! Talk about an awesome addition to some holiday decor! (And let's all be honest here, this would look pretty good with some glitter too)
Let me start by saying anything... and I mean anything can be used for an altered book journal! This is what makes this project so much fun and so versatile. Every book is different, every page is different, and every material is different. The purpose of an "altered book" is making an old book into a new piece of art. There are many types of altered books, but for this project, we are beginning an altered book "journal". A journal can be used as a "smash book" for travel or random memories or can be used for a literal journal to write in. There are many possibilities.
I did this journal page spread for one of my classes. This was a little tricky as I had to come up with something that we could all do together in our own books but something that could get everyone started and get those creative gears moving! The page above is what I came up with. It is something very simple and uses minimal supplies. We could've gone crazy and used paints, textures, inks, stamps, stickers, etc. but I kept it simple for an easy clean up and to also show that you don't need anything fancy for this type of project!
1. First off, let's talk about picking our book. If you can find something with "sewn" pages, that's the way to go! The modern glued pages are terrible for an altered book project! They are too flimsy and as you cut away more pages it loses its stability and could fall apart! These photos show what a sewn spine looks like verses a glued spine.
3. Once you are done cutting out pages throughout the book, you are ready to start gluing. As mentioned above, glue the pages to the left and right of the cut together, hiding that cut line. I use Mod Podge for this, putting it on in an even, thin layer. You can always come back and add more if the corners aren't glued down after it dries.
6. All I did to finish this page spread up was glue! First, I arranged everything on the pages to figure out where I wanted it all to go. Once I was good with it all I glued everything down with a thin layer of Elmer's Glue, you could use Mod Podge instead. I also used the hot glue gun to glue the ribbon and the flowers down. But that was it!
This was a pretty simple page. But you could really get crazy and do pages like the examples below! Happy Journaling!
This is a pretty quick fall craft to spruce up your shelf space for the autumn weather or maybe a gift idea! The one I originally saw on Pinterest was very cute with bright fall colors. There are so many options with this type of craft, it's almost overwhelming. I thought about going with a subtle brown, tan, and white color combination at first. I thought it would be very elegant for Thanksgiving but somehow I ended up switching to more of a Halloween based theme with a distressed frame and distressed pages. The possibilities are endless but I hope you find one that you love!
1. Gather up all of your supplies so that you have them near and dear to your project space.
2. If you're like me, I had a few frames to choose from and was very stressed with all the options! Finally, I decided on something medium-sized and relatively simple in structure. I forgot to take a picture ahead of time, but I "distressed" my frame a bit by very lightly adding black in light strokes to make it seem old/give it some more depth to the frame.
3. The original post I saw for this project involved using cute polka dot scrapbook paper as a background. I was going to do this as well, but saw I had some old book pages lying around and thought that would be a much cooler effect! If you're using a piece of scrapbook paper make sure you glue/tape it on carefully, making sure there are no air bubbles forming on your background! For me, I added torn strips of book pages by gluing each piece one by one to the background. Keep adding and adding until your background is full.
4. While your background is setting/drying, this is a good time to decide what you're going to do with your acorns. I decided to paint mine a metallic gold. I used 3 "craft" acorns and 3 real acorns that I found in the woods just to try out the different types to see if there were any differences... there aren't (but if you use real ones make sure you "bake" them to get rid of all the little buggies in there!) You'll want to do a couple of coats.
There are many ways to do this. You could leave the acorns in their natural state, paint them, decorate them, wrap them with thread/yarn/twine, oooo!
6. While my acorns were drying I also made the glued book pages look more distressed/eerie for a more Halloween look. I lightly brushed very little black and brown paint over the pages giving them that look which you can see in the following photo.
7. Lay out your acorns and see how you like them before you glue them. I used hot glue. Make sure you put enough on there and hold the acorn while it sets.
8. Lastly, I decided to add a little extra somethin' somethin' to the frame and hot glued a flower to the upper corner.
That's it, we're all done!
When I saw posts on Pinterest regarding these rocks I thought they were adorable and felt like I had to do them for a program at work, which here I am, prepping to do just that! My goal was to travel around to local parks and search for the perfect "strawberry-shaped" rocks to use, however, doing them for a public program meant that I needed about 110 of these rare diamonds and lets be real... that did not happen. I love using up supplies from previous projects and a coworker of mine had left over "mexican river rocks" from a rock-painting program, so, this is what I ended up using, cool.
Taking a quick look at project photos on Pinterest, I saw that some showed that the rocks were painted white first.
"Nah, I don't need to do that" I thought to myself peering at the 110 rocks waiting on my cart. So I went ahead and painted the first couple with red... "huh... this doesn't look too good" I quickly realized. "Do I seriously have to paint these white?" I begrudgingly thought to myself.
So, I took a shot at the next one with a nice single coat of white acrylic paint. After it dried, I put the first coat of red over it and WOW, what a difference! You can see in the below photo the ones I painted first laying in the background on newspaper vs. the new beautifully vibrant rock in my hand.
Thankfully, we have people who work with us who are often looking for "odd" jobs to do in down time.... well.... I think painting 110 rocks white is the perfect job to do for that! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I thought 5 rocks would be a good amount for this project which ended up working well for dry times as you make your way through each rock and each layer of paint.
So, paint all rocks white, then paint all rocks red. I put 2 coats of red on top so it's a nice even layer.
After my dark green dried, I went over it in a smaller reflection with light green. Then, I added a dot of the dark green in the center to represent where the stem would technically be. I'm not gonna lie... I hated this... still hate it. I do not like the way this came out but got even more stressed out the more I tried to "fix" it. I found it best to just leave it as is and move on full steam ahead!
Next, will be your act of patience. Using a tiny pointy brush, paint "raindrop" shaped black "dots" all over your rocks to represent the strawberry seeds. And do this with every... single... rock!
Now, go over every... single... dot.... on every... single... rock... with a tiny white "raindrop"/"dot". You could also change this up and be more realistic by making the seeds a golden yellow or changing the look of some so they're not all exactly the same. But I didn't have time for that and was shooting for a simple, easy project for my participants!
Lastly, put them in a cute bowl, basket, container, whatever! I found farmer market style containers at our local craft store. They came in a pack of six so were super affordable! I also put a piece of fabric in to drape over the sides before I put the rocks in and wa-la, Adorable summer decor!
It feels like it has been ages since I have last posted! But it has not quite been 2 months yet so I think I'm still in the clear. The reason for my absence was mostly due to the fact that I was in charge of throwing my parents a surprise 40th anniversary party! And it's no simple feat - especially when you want to do it up like me (Momma taught me best!).
Planning a party of any type has so many components! It starts with when to have it, where to have it, and rolls into the confusing guest list of who and who not to invite - hoy, so many decisions!
Luckily, a wonderful aunt offered to host the party for us, which means... no cost! (I tried to give her money guys, I swear). Once you decide on a guest list, you can make/order invites. So much fun!
We put a twist on the party since it was for my parents anniversary and made it a 1970's party to honor 1979. I love having a theme. It makes it more fun in my opinion! But, I also think just doing a general color scheme is fun too!
So, once you get those invites out you can start thinking about the details: food, decorations, etc. Luckily, my parents have amazing friends, everyone offered to bring something. My aunt and I provided the main dishes and everyone else brought sides and desserts. Someone else even offered to get the cake for us - thank you, thank you!
I was left to decorate, which I love more than anything. Since we went with the 1970s, I tried to stick with the beautiful hues of that era - yellow, olive green, peach, brown, etc. and it was beautifully vintage when it all came together.
To see how to make the fabric garland, read my post here:
I put together a small photo collage (didn't want it to be too overwhelming) to show the progression of our family over the last 40 years and also put their 1970 style photos in frames to use as decorations on the tables - and conversation starters of course!
I used mason jars for center pieces, filled them with stones so they wouldn't blow over, and put a simple mixture of fake flowers with pin wheels or "40" stakes in them. I purchased the pin wheels for dirt cheep at a craft store and made the "40" stakes myself by cutting out "40" on glitter paper with the CriCut, gluing them to a white background, and taping them to the stakes. I trimmed everything down to fit into the glasses at varying heights. My aunt also had tree slices left from previous parties that we used under the mason jars! This provides some extra pazaz to the table for sure!
To be completely honest, I didn't really know how many tables we would have. I also didn't know where I would be hanging all the stuff I was making but I just kept making away! Everything was able to be used and it all came together perfectly!
Although it was supposed to be a surprise party... my parents totally knew! They said no one talked to them all week and people were being too weird - woops! That's ok - it was a perfect 70's bash none-the-less.
Now, for one thing that was not so perfect.... there always seems to be something that happens at events: strange family drama, weird occurrences, something doesn't work, something breaks, you forget the cake, etc.... this particular event resulted in my aunt (yes the same aunt who hosted) acquiring a broken leg!!!!
It was awful, there's just no other way to put it. I felt/feel absolutely terrible that it happened because, in my mind, if I wouldn't have had it there, she wouldn't have broken her leg! Now she will be laid up in a cast for weeks and weeks, right in the middle of summer (she's a camper, this is a big deal people!) and right before her grandbaby is due! Terrible, terrible, terrible!
It happened while we were setting up for the party, we tried to make her sit the rest of the day/night but the woman wants to move, move, move! Thankfully, she had a boot from when she broke her other leg another time and wore it all night... but, the next day, x-rays revealed it was most certainly broken. Picture below to prove how amazing my aunt is for sticking around the whole night!
So, in conclusion, there are so many different pieces and parts for planning a party. You can go in so many different directions and do just about anything, making it personal for whoever the guest-of-honor is!
Need ideas for planning your next party?? Just ask me, I'd love to help!
It's been a whole month since I have posted a project. Time is flying by... sometimes it feels too incredibly fast! I have been doing a lot of projects for other people so I don't have much to post, but, my next up-coming project at the library is a DIY Tic-Tac-Toe board. I thought this idea would be perfect since spring is (supposedly) here. I don't have specific steps for this, as you can make it whatever you want! But here is the list of supplies I used and my end product!
I got the original idea on Pinterest on the AttaGirlSays blog! I am encouraging my class to paint whatever they would like for their tic-tac-toe board and have a collage of photos to provide them some ideas.
I went with a galaxy/space theme for mine, but, I would love to do like a big daisy for the base/board and then lady bugs and bumblebees for the pieces! Maybe next time!
Have fun and happy spring!
I created this quick craft project to tie into a book discussion at work. But this so easy, anyone can do it and it's very quick as long as you are making a smaller size. I also think this would be awesome in an extra large size as well!
1. Gather your supplies all in one space so you are ready to go!
a. If you are using fabric, I would cut your strips at this time as well
2. Use blue pieces to represent the blue star part of the flag (I saw some online that used white beads throughout to represent the stars!) and alternate your red and white for the stripes.
3. Tie your strips on using the Larkshead Knot technique below. This is a great way to add your elements because you get two components out of one.
a. You can also tie them however you wish. Try tying little pieces together of different types/textures to give your flag more variety.
4. Create a piece for hanging. I did this by wrapping 3 pieces of twine around the one end, braiding it, and tying it off on the other side.
5. That's it! Feel free to add whatever types of elements you have lying around! Perfect decoration for the most rustic folks you know!
I had always wanted to do this but all the methods I looked at seemed unrealistic and lengthy. Thanks to CreativeBug (which is offered through the Cuyahoga County Library system for free) I was able to discover a quick, super easy way to complete this craft!
I only have the end result photos and not the progress photos but, seriously, I don't think you'll need them because it's sooooo easy!
1. Print your photo out on regular ol' copy paper on a LAZER printer. It can be in black and white or color. Cut away any excess paper.
2. Paint on a nice solid layer of Mod Podge on your wood piece (You don't want too much that it's goopy and sliding off the sides but enough to see a white layer).
3. Flip your printed photo into the Mod Podge, ink side down and smooth out to remove any air bubbles.
4. Take your burnisher/flat edge and rub the paper with some effort. This helps get rid of any extra air pockets and gets the ink nice and set into the Mod Podge.
5. Wait for the Mod Podge to COMPLETELY dry.
6. Fill a cup with warm water or just let the faucet lightly run (feels pretty wasteful though!). Wet either your fingers, or a sponge, and begin to lightly saturate the photo. DO NOT soak the photo!
7. Start lightly rubbing the paper in circular motions. The paper will begin to turn into a pulp and will slowly roll off the wood surface.
8. As the wood dries you may see some paper areas you missed. Just go back over these in the same fashion by wetting your fingers and rubbing the area in a circular motion.
9. After you're done, you can coat the wood with a finishing agent, paint the sides, decorate with embellishments, etc.
Really cute gift idea, especially for family photos!
Note: "They" do make photo transfer solutions specifically for this type of project. Even Mod Podge makes a specific Mod Podge for it as well. You can also use a gel medium technique but that takes days to set! I don't see the point in buying extra (expensive) supplies when beautiful, simple Mod Podge works just as good!
Here are my 3 transfers below:
Hey there, I'm Becca, or Rebecca, but not Becky, never Becky, unless you're my family from down south! I'm a simply modern librarian by day and an artist by night. My pursuit is for a simple, happy, healthy, and more fulfilling life! I hope I inspire you to get crafty!